Welcome to Day Eight of the 10 Days of Halloween Horror 2011! We'll be featuring horror-related reviews right up until the big day! You can find the Halloween Horror posts for Panel Patter here, and don't forget to check out the Book Stew for book-book horror, too!
I recently got out an audio book of classic ghost stories, a sampling of public domain stories from names both familiar (Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling, Saki) and unfamiliar, at least to me. The production value was top notch, with a venerable Brit providing the narration in a variety of tones and voices. Unfortunately, however, I wasn't impressed with the stories themselves. They felt extremely antiquated, slow-paced, and generally bored me more than thrilled me.
This came as quite a shock to me, because in the past, I found these gothic-style stories to be quite enjoyable. as recently as Summer 2009 I was singing the praises of Dracula. But I noticed upon re-reading some Poe that I was kinda non-plussed, and last year, I barely made it through a classic ghost story I'd downloaded for my nook. This neutral attitude towards the classic ghost stories collection is part of a pattern: I'm just not into old horror in the way that I used to be.
This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Tastes change over time. I think I've probably read too many Stephen King books by now (and other novels that move quickly) to appreciate the slow-building horror that comes from the older writers. Perhaps I'm just losing my attention span, as I find myself more pressed for time. Get to the gruesome details, because I have ten other things to do today, you know?
I'm not sure that's true, though, because I still enjoy a classic horror film. Slow-pacing is okay for me, but it has to have a powerful set-up. If I can tell what is going on a mile away--and in the case of a lot of the classic horror I've read lately, that was exactly the problem--then I'm just not interested. I think the reason I prefer newer horror, as long as it doesn't involve excessive violence, is that it either gets to the point quickly or the build-up is worth it.
At the end of the day, I think I may stop trying to read classic horror for awhile. Let it sit for a bit. It's certainly not going anywhere. How about you? Still reading the old school stuff, or have you moved on?