Horror Week at Davenport Library wraps up today with this terrifying suggestion from Lynn. Read at your own risk!
“Handcarved Coffins” (in the book Music for Chameleons) is a piece of novelistic journalism; Capote’s spare and economical style makes the ever-increasing suspense immediate.
A state cop relates the stories of a series of horrific murders to Capote. The first are killed by rabid rattlesnakes that attack a couple as they open their car doors. The next die in a fire, trapped in their basement. The victims are sent a small, balsa coffin with a candid photograph of themselves. As the murders mount up, the recipients are more aware of their fate and suffer unique torture as they wonder how and when they will die.
The murders are impossible to anticipate and guard against, and, seemingly, have no connection to each other. Their very randomness and the generic small midwestern town setting give the murders a sense of universality – (this could happen to ME). The fact that the victims seem entirely innocent makes the evil more purely heinous. Because this is supposed to be a piece of reportage, Capote never switches perspective to the psychopath, as is so common now. This is a piece of simple, classic horror. And it may be true.
Now it’s your turn – what’s your favorite scary book or movie? Leave a comment!