Friday, 14 March 2008

WEIRD TALES OF SIN AND ECSTASY: ARTHUR MACHEN IN JAZZ AGE CHICAGO

As part of the publicity for Wildclaw's production of The Great God Pan I wrote an essay exploring the connection between Machen, Chicago and the Weird Tales writers like Lovecraft, and RE Howard. It pays tribute to the Chicago based writer Vincent Starrett, a key figure in the Machen revival of the twenties in America as well as to Ben Hecht, the Oscar winning screenwriter of many Hollywood classsics, like Hitchcock's Spellbound and Notorious, as well as FrontPage/His Girl Friday, Gone With the Wind, The Thing from Another World, Some Like It Hot, another Chicago based Machen admirer.

WEIRD TALES OF SIN AND ECSTASY: ARTHUR MACHEN IN JAZZ AGE CHICAGO


WildClaw's drama got great reviews you can read them on their site. Here is a sample. "Playwright Charley Sherman is still remembered in Chicago for his award-winning page-to-stage adaptations of contemporary creep-lit authors, and his rendition of this period thriller is laudable for its roster of elements associated with the genre: esoteric cult-worship, gloomy abandoned houses, gruesome unnatural deaths, masquerade balls attended by licentious guests, strolls through the fleshpots of fin-de-si├Ęcle London, innocent virgins strapped to surgical tables, callow youths driven to ruin by femmes extremely-fatales (reflecting the gilded age's fear and fascination with the notion of uninhibited sexuality—especially in women) and, of course, gallons of lovingly-replicated gore."

This video shows some of the dramatic effects from the production:



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