March 15 2017

Background information

A dark setting

Visitors to my site who are also devotees of old horror ‘B’-movies will no doubt recognise my choice of background. For it’s taken from the climactic scene of the 1957 Jacques Tourneur movie, ‘Night of the Demon’. (The film was oddly re-named ‘Curse of the Demon’ when released a year later in the US, despite the ‘night’ phrase being referred to more than once during its run-time.)

In memory of John Harrington, F.S.A. Three months were allowed

The movie was one of the first horror films I ever saw and scared me witless so it stands to reason it should have such resonance.

Decade of horror

As a child of the late 50s, the 1970s were formative, shaping my literary inclinations for the years that followed. Whilst perhaps not exactly ‘The Golden Age’ of horror, the ’70s saw a significant amount of supernatural fiction published. It was a decade in which authors such as James Herbert, Ray Bradbury, Peter Straub and, of course, Stephen King were all enjoying huge popularity.

Therefore, the ever-popular culture for ghosties, ghoulies, and things that go ‘bump’ in the night’ became a stimulus for me, rendering ‘dark fiction’ — and by that I don’t necessarily mean ‘gory’ or ‘gruesome’ — a firm favourite of mine. Sure, I’ve written other material in varying formats and genres, and may even showcase some of that on ensuing pages, but in the main I’ll adhere to a darker theme. That’s what this site is about after all.

Now, to take things full circle let’s go back to that movie.

It’s in the trees …

Not only did ‘Night of the Demon’ impact on me on viewing it, I’ve also received a number of reminders since then. The first was when I discovered the brilliant English master of supernatural fiction, M.R. James. For on reading his short story ‘Casting the Runes’, I realised the movie had been based on this very tale. A tale which he wrote purely for the enjoyment of his close circle of friends attending one of his annual Christmas ghost story readings.

Click on the image for a brief clip … and that line.

 

A further reminder came in 1985 with the release of Kate Bush’s excellent ‘Hounds of Love’ album. The title track opens with the immortal line, ‘It’s in the trees, it’s coming!’ taken from the 1957 movie. Her video for the record was based on Alfred Hitchcock’s ’39 Steps’ but I’ve never understood the relevance of the opening line.