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From: Michael Straight <straight@email.unc.edu>
Subject: Re: (urth) Dualism & horror
Date: Mon, 19 Oct 1998 08:46:18 

On Sun, 18 Oct 1998, Peter T. Cash wrote:

> >Alex, you can't say that there is only Dark in Lovecraft,
> >for opposed to that is the normal world, represented, in Hollywood
> versions,
> >by pretty suburban streets. If you don't have a norm--Innsmouth or Arkham
> >before the horrors came--where's the scare? The Amurican Way of Life,
> that's
> >the Light. At least in novels.
> Alga, your thesis that horror is inherently (will that do instead of
> "necessarily"?) dualistic is so thought-provoking that I hate to spoil
> things by finding fault with it. However, I would venture that if suburbia
> is the light that opposes the  Great Darkness, then we've got a pretty weak
> dualism. This light is a dim bulb, this divinity is one of communion by
> water and not wine. It is not the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
> illuminating this place. It's George Westinghouse.

I thought it amusing that in Stephen King's book _Salem's Lot_, the good
almost seems to draw power parasitically from the evil.  I seem to
remember a scene where the good guys pour holy water on their limbs or
tools or something and when they get to where the coffins are hiding find
that they have the extraordinary strength necessary to break in.

My first thought was, "How come that doesn't work when building a church
or a homeless shelter?"

My impression is that horror is not dualist because either there is no
comparable Good to oppose the Evil or the Good is so far superior to the
Evil that it doesn't need to stoop to the same methods to oppose it.

I haven't read much horror, however.  Are there many horror novels that
have both a supernatural Good and Evil but the Evil wins?  (Not counting
stories where the apparent "Evil" turns out to be morally superior to the
apparent "Good".) 


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