Tales of Sex and Horror
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Tales of Sex and Horror eBook
It's an eternally popular subject for painters, and in a sense for writers and filmmakers too. What does the image conjure? A woman, naked perhaps, or nearly so, gazing at us with horror (or, on occasion, with a sublime indifference) while Death stretches a rotted paw to touch her breast, or leans its worm-ridden skull towards her as if to ply her with kisses.
Corruption and sexuality in a marriage of opposites.
The motif is echoed whenever a movie monster takes beauty in its arms, or at least attempts to. Sometimes, of course, the Maiden keeps Death at bay; as often, she's claimed. Whichever, the sexual frisson generated by her glamour is increased tenfold by the presence of the foulness that shadows her. But the drama of the image - with the Maiden representing innocence and life, and Death the joyless evil that threatens her - is only one aspect of a fascinating confrontation.
Horror fiction has traditionally dealt in taboo. It speaks of death, madness and the transgression of moral and physical boundaries. It raises the dead to life and slaughters infants in their cribs; it makes monsters of household pets and begs our affection for psychos. It shows us that the control we believe we have is purely illusory, and that every moment we teeter on chaos and oblivion. And to that list of taboos I now add another list: the forbidden substrata of sexuality. The obsessions with parts and people we keep in our private thoughts; the acts we dream of but dare not openly desire; the flesh we long to wear, the pains we yearn to endure or inflict in the name of love. Here are fictions which unite subjects from both the above lists.
To some of you, these stories will seem portraits of Hell. But if you're honest, your dreams may tell you differently. Who knows, maybe the Maiden hasn't been startled by Death at all; maybe that cold touch on her breast is what she's been waiting for all her life. People desire stranger things, as this anthology is about to prove....
The Bare Bones: An Introduction by Clive Barker
The Other Woman
The Limits of Fantasy
The Body in the Window
Kill Me Hideously