Pat Pechon – 2009-10-11 1:25 AM
The fungus theory is a valid one. Ergot (the fungus) is the base component in LSD.
You’ve already answered your own question. Part of what made the Salem Trails a tragedy, a horror, was ignorance. They had no clue that a fungal infestation of their Rye crop could possibly cause mass hallucinations. Add that to a puritanical religious community, a hard scrabble exsistence? All of these variables were the pressures of that particular society. We know the outcome, but can only guess at the absolute cause and effect.
Fear of the unknown will always be the most powerful tool.
Research subjects that might seem mundane. The Green Mile by Stephen King uses the history of the electric chair as a fear selling point. In reality one of the very first executions turned out almost exactly as portrayed in the book/movie. History when you delve into it has had many weird, horrifying incidences. Truth is always stranger than fiction.
True. I don’t do horror (only fair to say that up front) but as I see it, one BIG problem is the genre’s dependance on what might be called monster fiction.
One of the most frightening scenes in a movie I ever saw was in Wait Until Dark when whats-his-name jumped out from the hallway at a blind Audrey Hepburn with that wicked knife in his hand.
Poe was always human oriented. He burried people alive for spite and things like that. He didn’t do monsters.
Likewise, Hitchcock didn’t do monsters outside of the birds (and maybe Bates). And the thing about the birds was it was so unexpected, so hard to believe when you hear them singing sweetly in the morning, but so believable when seen.
It is this unexpected twist that is missing today. Serling often used children, effectively.
What are Jason and Freddie and all the derivitives to that? They are totally expected and just gross. And what are monsters: zombies, werewolves, vampires? Especially vampires who have been turned into nothing but leading men for cheap romance novels.
Maybe that’s why I don’t do horror.