Sunday, September 8, 2013
The "Weird" - Week 4 (Switch w/week 3)
After reading China Mieville's King Rat, I think I can safely say the novel definitely fits under the definition of "weird" fiction. King Rat is a blend of both horror aspects as well as fantasy. I guess I would say that the environment and plot are more fantasy-based (sort of like Gaiman's American Gods), while the language and certain plot details become more horror-based. This combination of genres is what makes Mieville's novel "weird". It isn't quite in the vein of pure Tolkein fantasy, nor is it a complete horror novel. I feel like the novel really capitalizes upon this aspect and uses the horrific aspects to enhance the fantasy plot -- the character of the Pied Piper, for example becomes only so much more sadistic and descriptive when he decides to kill Kay, as Mieville writes "... Kay could see the whites of the other man's eyes.... the glass front of the train burst open like a vast bloodblister." The locations though, the aspect of the sewers opening up to these anthropomorphized rats, is definitely more fitting to a fantasy genre. Cabin in The Woods is also a "weird" film, in that it breaks the typical horror genre and adds an element of comedy- it is essentially a spoof on the horror genre that takes the typical horror tropes and makes them obvious in order to poke fun at them. I think Cabin in the Woods is really successful because it actually goes as far as to tell you exactly which tropes they are mocking - essentially the nerd, the dumb blonde, the athlete, the virgin, and the fool. Then we the "audience" having all the information, essentially watch as a group of scientists and corporate bigwigs go about killing them off one by one, as "dictated" by a higher power. It's technically a horror in the graphic nature (verging towards extremely graphic by the end of the film), but comedic because we have a sense of knowing exactly what will happen by the end of the film, and how each character will die. Essentially, the "weird" defines a mix of horror, science fiction, comedy and/or fantasy and combines them to create something new that changes how we view the genre.