Thursday, October 04, 2012

The drunker they get, the more mystical they get

It's a trick, isn't it?

"Yas, I think so, but if a trick, it is a Russian one." As if that explained it all.

But how? How?

"Well, Russians if you can see it, feel more than do most people. Deep down. Russians, I suspect, have a sixth or seventh sense that God didn't give to most other people. They have a lot more of what do you call it — " Thinking a moment. "Insight. They are mystical folk, Russians, and," she added jokingly, "the drunker they get, the more mystical they get. Worse than the Irish, Russians."

New York Review Books has just released The Other, by Thomas Tryon. Originally published in 1971, it became an instant classic of psychological horror. I'd never heard of it.

It starts off with someone reminiscing about earlier times, and before you know it, you're right there in the 1930s, some small New England town, a lazy, idyllic summer. It's about 13-year-old twins, Niles and Holland, and you know things are never quite right with twins, and one of them seems to have an ever-widening streak of evil. There's the game, and the Thing, and the twins' Russian grandmother; there are mishaps, and secrets, and the carnival passes through town with its requisite assortment of freaks; there's a creepy lamp, tangled marionettes, and a baby on the way. And nothing feels right, but you can't really tell what's wrong.

I'm not quite halfway. I expect to be up most of the night.

The Other was made into a movie in 1972. The trailer is full of creepy whispering and hysterical screaming, scarier by far than most recent horror movies.


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