The Killer Buildings of Film and Fiction

Haunted houses are benign. If you want real evil, suggests Keith Eggener, look to the sentient houses in fiction and film that are "born bad". From Poe to Siddons, he explores examples of "architecture gone terribly wrong".

"There is within American literature and cinema a subgenre of horror focused on buildings, buildings that are themselves the sources of evil, without ghosts or ghouls, but which, through some flaw of design — some peculiar arrangement of space and mass, some technology gone awry [1] — manifest a malign awareness that targets occupants," observes Eggener.

Authors like Edgar Allen Poe, Shirley Jackson, and Anne Rivers Siddons, "take us . . . to a place where buildings are not just alive, but aware and willful — like us, but not quite. Built on bad ground or bad foundations, literal or figurative, the houses of their stories are like psychoanalytic subjects whose dark, submerged dream worlds have surfaced and taken over, wreaking havoc all around." 

Full Story: When Buildings Kill


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