“Numbness and Arousal in the Post-Postmodern Apocalypse of Too Old to Die Young” (Vague Visages)

“Bound up in taboo fetishism and constantly oscillating commitments between the base and the transcendent, and between comedy and horror (much like Lynch’s Twin Peaks: The Return), Too Old to Die Young uses its genre-codified landscape of moral corruption as an allegorical mirror for America’s crumbling civilization, and as a space for a far-reaching aesthetic study of eroticism and violence in art. Putting itself in conversation with the cinematic genre signifiers most loudly established by Alfred Hitchcock’s oneiric, perverse California masterpiece Vertigo (1958), Too Old to Die Young constantly scrutinizes the wavering spaces where the tawdry mingles with the sublime, where sexual (re)productivity entangles with morbidity and destruction.”

Read the full essay in Vague Visages.

Mike Thorn’s Favorite First Reads of 2021

Bleedthrough and Other Small Horrors, by Scarlett R. Algee (2020)

The Flowers of Evil, by Charles Baudelaire [edited by Marthiel and Jackson Mathews, multiple editors] (1857)

The Unnamable, by Samuel Beckett (1953)

Selling the Splat Pack: The DVD Revolution and the American Horror Film, by Mark Bernard (2014)

The Brigadier and the Golf Widow, by John Cheever (1964)

On the Heights of Despair, by E. M. Cioran [translated by Ilinca Zarifopol-Johnston] (1933)

The Trouble with Being Born, by E. M. Cioran [translated by Richard Howard] (1973)

Porno Valley, by Philip Elliott (2021)

Less Than Zero, by Bret Easton Ellis (1985)

The Rules of Attraction, by Bret Easton Ellis (1987)

American Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis (1991)

The Informers, by Bret Easton Ellis (1994)

Glamorama, by Bret Easton Ellis (1998)

Lunar Park, by Bret Easton Ellis (2005)

Imperial Bedrooms, by Bret Easton Ellis (2010)

The Shards, by Bret Easton Ellis (2021)

Carmilla, by J. Sheridan Le Fanu (1872)

The Queer Art of Failure, by J. Jack Halberstam (2011)

In the Presence of Schopenhauer, by Michel Houellebecq [translated by Andrew Brown] (2017)

Humanimus, by David Huebert (2020)

The Damned, by J. K. Huysmans [translated by Terry Hale] (1891)

The Europeans, by Henry James (1878)

Washington Square, by Henry James (1880)

The Bostonians, by Henry James (1886)

Ghost Stories, by Henry James (1898)

Billy Summers, by Stephen King (2021)

The Wingspan of Severed Hands, by Joe Koch (2020)

Straydog, by Kathe Koja (2002)

The Blue Mirror, by Kathe Koja (2004)

Dark Factory, by Kathe Koja (2022; forthcoming)

I’m from Nowhere, by Lindsay Lerman (2019)

Shock!, by Richard Matheson (1961)

The Birds and Other Stories, by Daphne du Maurier (1952)

The Running Trees, by Amber McMillan (2021)

The Seventh Mansion, by Maryse Meijer (2020)

Circles, by Josiah Morgan (2020)

The Barrens, by Joyce Carol Oates (2001)

1984, by George Orwell (1949)

White is for Witching, by Helen Oyeyemi (2009)

The World as Will and Representation, Volume I, by Arthur Schopenhauer [translated by Judith

Norman and Alistair Welchman] (1818)

Wes Craven: Interviews, edited by Shannon Blake Skelton (2019)

Of One Pure Will, by Farah Rose Smith (2019)

The Secret History, by Donna Tartt (1992)

A History of Touch, by Erin Emily Ann Vance (2022; forthcoming)

Miss Lonelyhearts, by Nathanael West (1933)

The Ax, by Donald E. Westlake (1997)

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