Analysis Of The Castle Of Otranto By Horace Walpole

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Defining the horror genre’s components down to its most basic mechanisms is key to understanding and exploring the genre as a whole through the lens of Animation. Tales we would usually regard as ‘horror’ were mouth-to-mouth folklore featuring dark undertones meant to teach children morals and discipline them through fear of the unknown and grotesque unfortunate consequence. As such, death and the finite existence has always been a theme of the gothic. Cornwell notes, “…the cultural revival of the term, particularly in a literary sense, is generally viewed as developing in a reverse direction, from west to east…” (Cornwell, 2001, 38). This is true when observing the first recorded ‘gothic’ novel: The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole written in 1764, later adapted into animated form by Jan Švankmajer in 1977.…show more content…
What is interesting however is the powerful threads of curiosity which run through even the earliest gothic adaptations and media. The mysterious atmosphere and implications of supernatural entities act alongside our aforementioned ‘morbid curiosity’ to create the intended effect of horror. Our unconscious curiosity then becomes a tool of terror, one that delights in playing with expectations and “…gives shape to concepts of the place of evil in the human mind…” (Mcandrew, 1979). Coupled with Švankmajer’s unique style and Walpole’s pioneering take on the gothic, we are greeted with a much more potent form of horror: one that unabashedly taps into the psyche and concepts of psychological terror which will be later discussed in this
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