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Shining a literary spotlight
on dark matters… Southborough author Martin Johnson has recently published ‘Wilhelm & Laszlo’, the second instalment in his trilogy of supernatural thrillers which began with ‘Niedermayer & Hart’. Here he talks of his love of the darker side of life and literature
G CHILLS WITHOUT SPILLS… Martinw is no fan of ‘gore-fests’
Wednesday December 5 | 2018
ROWING up in South Wales, I developed an appetite for traditional horror from regular jaunts with my schoolfriends to our local flea-pit cinema. Each of us was five or six years short of the 18-year requirement for entry to horror movies, but fortunately at the Lido Gorseinon, the only admission requirement was enough height to lever your 1/6d on to the counter! The current penchant for nasty gore-fest movies, where in 90 minutes scores of females and/or teenagers wind up horribly mutilated via increasingly bizarre means, isn’t my cup of tea at all. My aim when I write horror is primarily to entertain, and, yes, to creep the reader out a little. Naturally there’s a smattering of violence, but mostly this happens ‘off stage’, as it were. In my view, the thought processes that culminate in violence are often as ugly, if not more disturbing, than the act itself. One of my favourite horror classics is The Haunting (1963), directed by Robert Wise (better known as the director of The Sound of Music). In this movie, there’s no violence, no CGI nor lavish special effects, only suggestion, and no
matter how many times I watch it, my hair still bristles at various points. This is horror gold, and it’s what I’m always aiming for.
‘When readers confess that while reading Niedermayer & Hart they had to put the light on to go to the bathroom at night, I take it as a compliment’ When readers confess that while reading Niedermayer & Hart they had to put the light on to go to the bathroom at night, I take it as a compliment. The original fairytales were extremely dark, and I like to think of Niedermayer & Hart and Wilhelm & Laszlo as fairy tales for grown-ups. By the way, if anyone could suggest an overall title for my trilogy, I’d be grateful – suggestions on a postcard please… Wilhelm & Laszlo begins at the point where