So as I mentioned in my last post, I recently went to see the Allen Edgar Poe inspired movie, The Raven. I actually was pleasantly surprised by the plot line of the movie. There had been some vague hints of horror in the previews, but it actually falls more under mystery/suspense, a la Silence of the Lambs. I enjoyed John Cusack’s portrayal of Poe in particular–he embodies the horror and anxiety of the author who is confronted by real life enactments of his gory short stories.
So this brings me back to musings about today’s society and our taste in books and movies. If you’ve taken literature before, you know that there were several ‘periods’ of different styles of writing in the last few centuries, often going along with different periods of art and music styles. You have the Classical (Age of Reason), the Romantic (to which writers like Poe and Mary Shelley belonged), Realist in the early twentieth century, etc.
So what kind of period are we in now?
I would say that during the sixties there was a big push towards experimental styles, and a heavy dose of realism in both fiction and movies in the seventies. Since then, however, we seem to have swung back towards a more romantic style. The bigger, louder, more melodramatic, the more shocking, the better. Perhaps this is because we have become so inundated by information that it takes a lot to even get our attention. A murder is not enough. It has to be a psychotic, grisly murder. And if that’s the case, this movie definitely gets your attention.
For all of that, however, what I particularly liked about this movie was the witty dialogue and the little war of words between writers that they included along with the gripping plot. It gives me hope that we haven’t just become accustomed to brainless violence. That hopefully there are still some readers and viewers who enjoy thinking.
For that, I do recommend the movie.
And then go back and read all the works of Poe that you can find.