Starve Acre, Andrew Michael Hurley’s third novel, presents a sort of postmodern fairy tale; a dark and sterile fable that speaks not to wisdom and truth but to the unknowable power of inhuman forces. Whilst the story is structured exquisitely this only serves to foreground the genuinely unnerving horror that it is witness to, a horror that could be seen as supernatural but which resists any comfortable classification.
Conceptual life begins in a confusing hall of mirrors and ends underground with the immobilisation of the body. In between these two stations there is a prolonged anxiety prompted by lost memories and the uncanny performance of various automatic gestures and tics that seem to come from somewhere unknown. This, at least, is the state of things suggested by Jordan Peele’s latest film, Us.
The House that Bled to Death is the fifth instalment of the 1980 TV series Hammer House of Horror. It’s an admittedly lurid piece but it ultimately transcends this through a sharp reversal at its conclusion. And, whilst it is at one level a straightforward haunted house thriller, it also has interesting things to say about a particular moment at the beginning of the 1980s when the dream of home ownership was a very live issue. The House that Bled to Death adds a very dark twist to this dream.