Gothic Erotica

By | March 11, 2008
Gothic Erotica draws me like a spec of dust on the event horizon of a singularity. I know I shouldn’t but, what the hell!

This time it’s that Christopher Nolan’s fault. The release of his new movie is imminent and when The Dark Knight hits the screen it may well be the first movie in years that I’ve dragged Suze to the cinema to see. The 1960s version of the batman stories was high camp and I suppose watching the re-runs as a kid it was entertaining. But it was only when Tim Burton breathed new life into the screen character of Batman that I understood a little of how darkly attractive Gotham City is.

I thought I’d seen the best joker possible in Jack Nicholson. His playful insanity took the story from kitsch to crypt and made me want to see more. But not in the way that The Dark Knight seems to promise. Perhaps it matches my maturing taste for the darker side of the human psyche, but now, looking back at the Tim Burton films I seem them as relatively tame, diluted to be acceptable for consumption by the target audience.

I’m hoping this film can be rated 18, not 15, or 12 or, heaven forbid PG. I don’t want blood and gore, I want terror from The Dark Night. Not the murderous blood-thirsty gore-fest of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but the sort that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

That is the sort of visceral emotion that is so close to sexual arousal and the sort of full body sensory experience that makes me want to growl through clenched-teeth. A rictus grin of pleasure derived as much from the mind as the involuntary sensations brought about by the racing of my heart and the thousands of minute coruscating sparks that dance across my goose bumps as the pilomotor reflex tenses the arrector pili muscles. Even goose bumps for a synaesthete like me are special.

Gothic Eroticism and the creeping feeling of terror is not about wanting to hurt or be hurt as such. It’s the threat of what might be. Perhaps threat is the wrong word, it’s the promise of what is yet to come.

Standing on the precipice, the edge of the abyss, the gateway to oblivion has a special feeling don’t you think? You can never experience total oblivion and return, but like an electron existing simultaneously on both sides of the event horizon it is possible to taste it and still escape to tell the tale.

That’s what gothic fiction can give us, the ability to experience the most extreme of human experiences and yet allow us to return unscathed. Like the fairground ride that puts you in fear of your life, if you release that tenuous thread of knowledge that the ride is safe and will never hurl you out of your seat to certain death then you can experience, just for a moment, pure terror.

I don’t think any of this is nihilistic, have no wish to harm or be harmed, it is an extension of things I’ve been considering for a while. As I get older my orgasms seem to be increasingly intense, the synaesthetic experiences that accompany them correspondingly more powerful. At the same time my appreciation of the my physical reaction to all sensations, goose bumps included, increases too.

I feel an exploration coming on, in words and in real life I think. Let’s see what happens.

Tags: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan, gothic horror, gothic erotica, synaesthesia, horror and sex