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Old 09-20-2017   #131
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

There are times when i read Aickman and think he is less subtle than he's often portrayed as being. Don't see why we should associate him with 'subtlety,' really.-- Ibrahim

I think Aickman and de la Mare are two of the most subtle practitioners in the history of Weird Fiction. I think that's evident in most of their stories. Some might even argue "too subtle!" at times LOL
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Old 09-20-2017   #132
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

Aickman was a master of the grotesque. He could be subtle, but he also had his strong baroque flourishes of accentuated reality. His stories are fully rounded portrayals of the human experience.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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Old 09-20-2017   #133
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

Quote Originally Posted by Druidic View Post
There are times when i read Aickman and think he is less subtle than he's often portrayed as being. Don't see why we should associate him with 'subtlety,' really.-- Ibrahim

I think Aickman and de la Mare are two of the most subtle practitioners in the history of Weird Fiction. I think that's evident in most of their stories. Some might even argue "too subtle!" at times LOL
Well, like i said, there are degrees of subtlety. Yes, compared to, say, King, Aickman is subtle, and yes, he often hides or obfuscates the weirdness in his tales, to the point of inexplicability. But compared ( i don't think in genres - it's all literature to me ) to, say, Mallarmé, whose poetry chimes like Satie being softly played in an adjacent room? And to the extent that the whole point of Aickman's stories was to bury or obfuscate the weirdness, some do this in very plain sight, proclaiming their subtlety very loudly indeed.

He's not the AC/DC of weird fiction, certainly, but it might be argued that he's the Iron Maiden of subtlety in weird fiction, yes?

"What can a thing do with a thing, when it is a thing?"
-Shaykh Ibn Al 'Arabi
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Old 09-21-2017   #134
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

You have point there, Ibrahim.

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Old 09-21-2017   #135
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

I did not enjoy Don't Look Now. I found it harsh and bleak, without any pleasantly redeeming artistic quality. And I am not at all surprized that Aickman did not like Donald Sutherland. Aickman was a conservative, embracing high culture. Donald Sutherland is of typical left-wing attitude (like his cocky son); a sloppy, pot-smoking, no good, hibernated hippie liberal. I liked him in Invasion of the Body Snatchers. 1970's San Francisco fitted him better than Venice.

To me Night of the Living Dead feels sophomoric. And the black and white film stock, instead of color, was clearly not an artistic choice, but an economic one. Dawn of the Dead is a far superior movie, both technically, artistically, and in story telling. It even has a cosy center retreat (the hidden room in the mall) right in the midst of the horror, which is aesthetically vastly satisfying; analogous to our fantastic books, in which we escape from the nightmare of the (((capitalistically))) controlled materialistic global modern society.

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Old 09-21-2017   #136
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

Quote Originally Posted by Ibrahim View Post
And to the extent that the whole point of Aickman's stories was to bury or obfuscate the weirdness, some do this in very plain sight, proclaiming their subtlety very loudly...
I don't believe that burial or obfuscation was the point at all. If there was a point Aickman was making, it was about the limits of our ability to conceive of the supernatural. He understood implicitly that any attempt to represent or express supernatural influence directly is doomed to render it prosaic and familiar, which is exactly the opposite of the effect he was striving for.

Is he the most subtle writer ever? I wouldn't make that claim. But for horror stories his writing is extremely subtle, yes.

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Old 09-21-2017   #137
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

Even if Night Of The Living Dead used black and white for economic reasons, I think it's a much better looking film than Dawn Of The Dead. The make-up on Dawn's zombies is awful looking.

I like the way Don't Look Now cuts between images and Sutherland makes great use of his eyes.

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Old 09-21-2017   #138
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

I like Night and Dawn about equally. Night is pure nightmare, and Dawn is this amazing colourful comic book that veers wildly between farce and horror.

Aickman, like Machen, used a surface plot to switch from feeling to feeling in order to conjure abstractions about what is going on behind the surface. His stories are subtle, but he is rarely out solely to creep, as frightening as stories such as Wood, The Cicerones or The Same Dog are. They are conjurations of powerful poetic feeling. I wish I could find more modern writers like him and Machen, but all most authors take from their work is their subtletly or ambiguity, which is key, but it isn't all that is going on there. Both have fascinating and somewhat similar artistic creeds, though Aickman was generally the superior stylist of the two geniuses.

Is Panacea ever likely to be published?

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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Old 09-21-2017   #139
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

Quote Originally Posted by Knygathin View Post
I did not enjoy Don't Look Now. I found it harsh and bleak, without any pleasantly redeeming artistic quality.
It's one of the most artistic, haunting, beautiful and sad films I've ever seen.
Quote
And I am not at all surprized that Aickman did not like Donald Sutherland. Aickman was a conservative, embracing high culture. Donald Sutherland is of typical left-wing attitude (like his cocky son); a sloppy, pot-smoking, no good, hibernated hippie liberal.
What's that got to do with his performance in the film? Ramsey said it was Sutherland's "calculatedly international" accent that bothered Aickman and I'm not sure what he meant by that. I'm astonished that Aickman found the film "offensive to Venice". The place has never looked so gorgeously eerie and it was the main thing that prompted me to go there.
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Old 09-21-2017   #140
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

Quote Originally Posted by Robin Davies View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Knygathin View Post
And I am not at all surprized that Aickman did not like Donald Sutherland. Aickman was a conservative, embracing high culture. Donald Sutherland is of typical left-wing attitude (like his cocky son); a sloppy, pot-smoking, no good, hibernated hippie liberal.
What's that got to do with his performance in the film? ...
Maybe that Sutherland's overall whole appearance, his looks, gesture, and voice, was the antithesis of Aickman's. Perhaps everything about the man affronted Aickman's sensitivity?
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