In the spirit of spitting things out rather than polishing them forever and driving myself crazy, I’m going through my archives and publishing drafts.
p.186, regarding WWI vets.
The Frankenstein pictures continued to be a cultural dumping ground for the processed images of men blown to pieces, and the shell-shocked fantasy of fitting them back together again.
That was the first idea I ever heard about horror as a mirror of culture, from a Chuck Palahniuk interview. It doesn’t make me want to watch horror movies, particularly. But this next movie is something I would like to see.
For his unnerving final sequence— completely irrational, but nonetheless a devastating moral statement— [Abel] Gance recruited actual members of the Union des Gueules Cassées, and created a nightmarish montage of all the ruined faces that had been haunting the world’s cinemas for the past fifteen years in the guise of “horror entertainment.” The actual men are nameless, but they could easily be the living models for the masks worn by Lon Chaney, Boris Karloff, Lionel Atwill, and others. As a conscious antiwar statement, J’Accuse is superior; as an unintentional revelation of horror’s major subtext in the twenties and thirties, it is breathtaking.