Greater Clarks Hill Regional Library


The Danse Macabre

Sam Link
Oct 2, 2016

When I was six, maybe seven, my older sister and her friend were supposed to be watching their younger siblings. We were sent upstairs to play, but snuck back down to spy on them (as is the way of younger siblings).

They were watching Children of the Corn.

We got caught when I screamed.

Now, thirty years later, my sister prefers musicals, and I say every line of Night of the Living Dead from memory. My home DVD collection spans from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari to The Devil’s Rejects. I’ve even watched Make Them Die Slowly(twice) and I Spit On Your Grave (once was enough). I read King and Barker, Kiernan and Danielewski, Polidori, Shelley, and Stoker. I know the difference between an Elder God and a Great Old One, and take photos of my Cthulhu plush reading Lovecraft.

So throughout October I’ll be writing about my favorite horror films, weird fiction, ghost stories, and monster tales. In addition to these, we’ll be discussing horror classics of literature and film and exploring how horror has been used to discuss taboo subjects throughout history. We’ll meet two very different vampires, several shambling horrors, one extradimensional religious order, several cases of insanity, and a singing drug dealer. There will be houses that don’t fit in their walls, puzzles that open portals to terrifying new vistas of reality, shortcuts that shave years off your trip, and dance academies run by demons.

Because being scared is fun, and horror allows its creators to openly discuss taboo subjects – from how society treats violence, to racism, to religion, to politics and economics. We watch and read horror because we vicariously break taboos by doing so – as Pinhead says, “In this game, we show ourselves as we really are.” So, let’s go along with what Stephen King called the danse macabre, and explore the world of our fears.