Please recommend as much artsy, intelligent, literary horror fiction (in any medium: books, stories, films, whatever) as you can!
With Halloween fast approaching and the weather outside getting increasingly gloomy, I've been indulging quite a bit in my annual October horror binge. This thread over here
was a fantastic tent for people to talk about interesting horror movies under, but I'd like to both narrow and broaden things here.
The narrowing: I, like a proper connoisseur of weird fiction, have very particular tastes. What I tend to enjoy most in horror is creativity and artistic merit, whether that implies a vein of cosmicism
/existentialism, uniqueness of vision, highly abstract and "out there" concepts or just clean, beautiful prose. Some of my favorite writers here are H.P. Lovecraft (for a beautiful, dreamlike non-human outlook), Thomas Ligotti (for an ultimate derealization and distrust of reality), Shirley Jackson (for narrators closer to events than they initially let on) and Junji Ito (for raw, unbridled creativity and emphasizing that embracing the Weird makes everything okay). Films I like include The Vanishing
(for putting a price to knowledge), The Wicker Man
(for gradual immersion in an elaborate culture that turns out not to be so fun), Jacob's Ladder
(for the sense of disorientation and inseparability of psychology and reality) and Něco z Alenky
(for sheer otherworldliness). You get the idea; creature features and more mainstream conceptions of horror are very welcome, as long as they're in service to something more interesting than definable external threats like monsters. I want things that emphasize atmosphere, characterization and sense of mystery, wonder, doom and hopelessness more than things that have what basically amount to dangerous animals lurking in the shadows. I like the kind of horror that protagonists never recover from.
The broadening: I'm leaving the door open for suggestions in any medium. Surprise me! I'm focusing on prose and film here, but I'm just covering the bases. Indeed, some of my favorite works of horror are actually videogames (the most intriguing, intelligent take on zombies that I know of is a game). If you know of any particularly unsettling poetry, or online fiction projects, or whatever, then please, by all means. Don't take the namedrops here as discouragements, either; feel free to gush about your favorite story by the authors listed. Go wild. I just ask that you try to explain a bit why you find something interesting. Convince me of its terrifying braininess.
In summary: give me all your smart