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Author Topic: PseudoPod 539: The Fear  (Read 263 times)
Posts: 1133

« on: April 21, 2017, 12:05:29 PM »

PseudoPod 539: The Fear
by Richard Harland

“The Fear” was first printed in Macabra: A Journey Through Australia’s Darkest Fears in 2010 and reprinted in the US in Year’s Best Horror 2010. “Yes – imagine that film! Even though it may not end up the way you expect, visualize just how it might look and sound on the screen!”

RICHARD HARLAND was born in England but now lives in Australia, sixty miles south of Sydney between the green Illawarra escarpment and a string of golden beaches. He has been a folk-rock musician, a university lecturer and a poet who once did a poetry reading at the Sydney Opera House. He has won six Aurealis Awards (Australia’s nearest equivalent to the Nebulas) for his horror and fantasy novels and his short stories; also the prestigious Tam Tam Je Bouquine Award for “Worldshaker” in France. His website is at

This week’s reader – Graeme Dunlop – has been around Escape Artists projects, in various capacities, for a long time. Nearly ten years. He lives in Melbourne, Australia with his lovely wife Amanda. They have a crazy boy dog named Jake.

Info on Anders Manga’s album (they do our theme music!) can be found here.

“It’s impossible to explain without visuals. You’d have to see the movie to know why it was so frightening. Think yourself lucky you never will.”

Listen to this week's Pseudopod.

« Last Edit: April 26, 2017, 05:06:44 PM by danooli » Logged
Posts: 159

« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2017, 11:28:56 AM »

This was disturbing to me because I know what it is like to be the one people bully.  It was hard to hear how they were mentally torturing her.  This piece also goes to the heart of some mental issues, as the victim is being convinced there is something there.  She knows its not true, but believes it is, and by giving into that belief, it leads to madness.  That this idea can be communicable is really disturbing, so that the fear and horror is coming from just a simple idea, like a mental virus.  I think we all have those ideas of something being true when it is not, that feeling that there is something there when you know it can't be true.  That you absolutely cannot step on that crack in the sidewalk, even though you know nothing will happen.  And the way the idea is forced upon her, using her need to be a successful actress and exploiting her is so horrific.  All the people participating in her destruction, even though they are unknowing.  The hero is the one girl who leaves and even attempts to save the lead.  She doesn't know the details, but she knows this is going in a bad direction and can't go any further.

The only part that is out of place is the narrative piece of the fan club.  Their own social paradigm is a distraction from the group dynamic of the film makers, and it doesn't really contrast well, seeming somewhat pointless until the end.  They use the one guy as the example of how the madness can be spread and the horror of having to find his 'girl friend' to convince him is sad, but it seems to hammer the point of the suggestiveness of the film in a somewhat over bearing way.  I think the dynamic between the two groups of people needed to have more synthesis to really give an emotional bang to the final horror.  But, the story of the film makers is very disturbing and works well, and the idea carried over to the film watchers really carries weight.
Posts: 27

« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2017, 08:49:03 PM »

I loved every part of this story EXCEPT the very end. The way the narrator acquired Naomi's madness just seemed too easy, and it raised more questions than it answered for me. Why is he the only one who "caught" her delusion? Why not the nurse, or one of the other actors? Is the narrator unusual in some way that makes him susceptible? It just seemed too easy. Perhaps it wants to be longer - maybe there's a whole other story to be told about what happens next.

Otherwise, I loved it. I loved the description of the first reel that the film clip watched together, and I enjoyed the story-within-a-story of the making of the film. The pacing of the story, and the building of horror was excellent.
Posts: 2

« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2017, 01:56:59 AM »

Why is he the only one who "caught" her delusion? Why not the nurse, or one of the other actors? Is the narrator unusual in some way that makes him susceptible?

I don't think he got it from her, she just recognized it. He got it from obsessing over what the monster was IMO.
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