Archive for November 3, 2020

The Infliences Upod Us

Posted in FILM on November 3, 2020 by dcairns

We Used Dark Forces, my comic horror novel, is maybe unusual in its mix of genres, but it’s far from suis generis. I’d call it a Lovecraftian dieselpunk comedy, if I had to get it down to three words.

Though I may have had some grandiose idea in mind that horror fiction should have its own Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett, having fun with the genre while still working within it, the works that mostly inflienced me, as John Lennon might put it, were roughly these, so far as I know:

H.P. Lovecraft above all; biut also William S. Burroughs when he’s doing horror parody; Alan Moore being cosmic; Grant Morrison being surreal (esp. Doom Patrol), Quatermass; The Final Programme (novel and film); P.G. Wodehouse for comic language; Frankenstein (Mary Shelley & James Whale versions), plus Hammer’s radical revisions of the characters of Frankenstein and Quatermass, and Stuart Gordon’s HERBERT WEST: REANIMATOR, which merged in my mind with Wile E. Coyote to form the mad scientist who never gives up; the impossible crimes of John Dickson Carr, also G.K. Chesterton but more for his fantastic fiction; Gormenghast, absolutely, for atmosphere and grotesque comedy; odd bits of Kurt Vonnegut; Patrick Hamilton’s The Gorse Trilogy for wickedness triumphant (see also: life); DR. X; The Other Celia by Theodore Sturgeon; Kate Bush’s song Experiment IV and her video for it; The Third Policeman; ALTERED STATES; the antiheroics of Blackadder and the Flashman books; Joe Orton surely had some indirect bearing; THE BED SITTING ROOM, The Goon Show and Q; CARRY ON SCREAMING; the radio horror of Arch Oboler; The Small Back Room, novel and film; Tim Powers’ novel Declare; the eerie tales of Gerald Kersh; Shirley Jackson probably; John Blackburn’s A Scent of New-Mown Hay and others; Masque of a Savage Mandarin by Philip Bedford; Guy de Maupassant and E. Nesbitt’s dark tales; Poe; Blackwood; Camp Concentration and Flowers for Algernon for their unusual narrative voices; M.R. James and NIGHT OF THE DEMON, somehow; Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes, possibly; Robert Louis Stevenson’s The House of Eld and just generally; Arthur Machen and The Great God Pan especially; Ambrose Bierce for his horror but also his tall tales and war stories; William Hope Hodgson, in all sorts of ways; Charles Wood for his voice(s); Torture Ship by Jack London; Cronenberg’s body horror; Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear are inescapable; Ivor Cutler’s word-pictures; Vyvian Stanshell and Sir Henry; The League of Gentlemen TV series; Ray Harryhausen’s monsters; Borges, for added weirdness; Tom Baker-era Dr. Who I expect (it’s in my DNA); Anne Billson’s pastiches; the verbal feats of Preston Sturges and Bruce Robinson; that old fascist Dennis Wheatley, I suppose, since I kind of stole one of his titles… and two friends in particular deserve mention, Colin McLaren who unlocked the love of language in me, and Alex Livingstone who helped bring Whitsuntide into existence.

There’s also a cameo by this whiskey bottle.

Probably I should have kept track as I was writing. Of course there’s no guarantee that if you like any or all of the above, you’ll like We Used Dark Forces, nor would I ever claim to have equalled the achievements of the assorted talents above. But if you like any of the stuff I’m referring to above, there is an enhanced possibility of you enjoying the black comedy of WUDF.

You can get it from Amazon US here, and Amazon UK here.