Masquerade: A Novel Gets to the Guts of the Matter!
edited: Thursday, March 15, 2001
By Darrin B Patterson
Posted: Tuesday, March 13, 2001
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Theory of horror throughout history and a book that goes that one step extra.
What is horror? It is an embodiment of something deep and primodal we do not understand even in the new millennium.
Since the caveman first started to grunt out tales around their fires to make sense of the world they lived in, evil was lurking just beyond the light in the dark shadows that man feared to thread. They weaved those little bits of fear to explain why the sun set at night and the moon rose, at times blood red due to a volcanic eruption around the world. Into more civilized eras, the stories continued to flourish and spin out of control to bring order and reason to mysteries that science could not solve.
In the middle ages, legends brought much hope to the dismal black days and nights of disease and warfare. Kings that may never have existed gave people a reason to keep living, even though their world was nothing more than a big pile of dogshit unloaded on their heads to suffer until more modern science took hold and old ways passed away.
In the early part of the last century, (which is actually still here until 2001, but we won't go into that), morbid tales of print became shown in shocking black and white on the silver screen. Dracula lived and stalked for new blood or a bride to add to his growing collection. There was no blood, only Bela's eerie stare to keep us company late at night snug in our protected beds, or at least we thought.
Throughout the next twenty some years, movies of giant insects populated the cinema due to the fear of nuclear war until the seventies when the oversized pests dwindled down to the normal size but in great numbers. Then you saw hordes of the little devils overwhelming the people in small towns and doing everything to destroy man because man had tried to destroy them. During this time, and just before that, something new and more horrible came out of the imagination of Hollywood.
Blood, bones and brains became commonplace as one of the last taboos of society came to our mindset, first with 'Night of the Living Dead' by George A. Romero. This stark black and white cult classic became the blueprint of the living dead who before where nothing more than voodoo zombies who did their master's bidding. Now they had no master and were on the loose in that same multitude as the insects.
Cannibalism disgusted the audience, but brought them back for more in 1974 when 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' by Tobe Hooper came to the mainstream in full color! It was another retelling of the true life legacy of Ed Gein from Wisconsin who in the '50s had did the unthinkable by digging up corpses and killing at least two woman. That was not the worst part of it. He then fashioned their skin into clothing and lampshades, took their internal organs and cooked them. One poor soul's body was found decapitated hanging gutted in his shed by the Sheriff Department. Robert Bloch had written about this psycho before TCM came out and Alfred Hitchcock created the film version of 'Psycho'. Then several years later, another disturbing maniac hit the consciousness of American when Anthony Hopkins kept one step ahead of Jodie Foster in 'Silence of the Lambs'. Ed Gein was becoming quite popular. (In fact there are at least two movies about him now being made.)
Throughout the eighties you had the old school of horror with maniac slashers cutting up teenage lovers. In the nineties came the trendy teeny-bopper versions that pleased many a fourteen-year-old, but pissed off the lovers of '80s cheese to extremes.
Now there is a novel written in 1992 and just made available in 2000 through IUniverse called, 'Masquerade: A Novel', that will recapture that Ed Gein Fiend way. It is disturbing and violently real that there are real monsters out there as our history has shown and not just in fiction. This book dives head long into it, but also provides an umbrella of supernatural. Here there is no turning back once a successful business woman is kidnapped and forced to be the maniac's next victim. He doesn't just murder them. He doesn't just skin them and eat their flesh, here he violates their bodies and assumes their role to live.
As scary as Psycho, and as blood thirsty as Texas Chainsaw, death would be a welcome mat on your trip through life.
Ed Gein would be proud...