cover image Foundations of Fear: An Exploration of Horror

Foundations of Fear: An Exploration of Horror

David G. Hartwell. Tor Books, $27.5 (660pp) ISBN 978-0-312-85074-6

This companion volume to The Dark Descent (also edited by Hartwell) collects 29 horror stories by such genre trailblazers as Daphne Du Maurier, Richard Matheson and Clive Barker. The fact that movies have been made from several of these tales testifies to their appeal. Du Maurier's Don't Look Now, in which a couple vacationing in Venice after the death of their daughter discover that the husband's dormant psychic powers have been activated by their bereavement, inspired the film of the same title. Matheson's Duel portrays a motorist menaced by an unseen truck driver; the movie version launched Steven Spielberg's career. Barker, who has made a name for himself as both a writer and a filmmaker, is represented here by In The Hills, The Cities, in which the populations of twin Yugoslavian towns bind themselves to each other to create giant warriors who engage in ritual combat every decade. The bloody story has an eerie, timely relevance. Stories by Octavia Butler, H. P. Lovecraft, Peter Straub, Thomas Hardy, Gertrude Atherton, Philip K. Dick and others explore such themes as sexual and social enslavement, insanity, vampirism and the religious and philosophical meanings of sex and violence. (Sept.)