an ancient power captured

December 3, 2019

After all, I’m the horror writer; it’s why the editors of this publication have asked me to conduct this interview. I’m supposed to judge the veracity of Sarah’s footage and, assuming I accept it as true, trace its connections to Lost in the Dark, explain the ways in which the fiction refracts the facts. It’s a favourite critical activity, isn’t it? Especially when it comes to the fantastic, demonstrating how it’s only the stuff of daily life, after all. The vampire is our repressed eroticism, the werewolf our unreasoning rage. The film Sarah has shown me, though, isn’t the material of daily life. I don’t know what it is, because to tell you the truth, I’m more of a sceptic than a believer these days. Strange as it sounds, it’s one of the reasons I love to write about the supernatural. The stories I tell offer me the opportunity to indulge a sense of the numinous I find all too lacking in the world around me. But this movie…I can’t help inventing a story to explain it, something to do with an ancient power captured, brought to a remote location, and imprisoned there. Those dead men at the entrance, maybe they were there as a sacrifice, a way to bind whatever was in that nameless woman to the mine. The stuff inside the tunnels, the caves beyond, was that evidence of someone or someone’s tending to the woman, worshipping her? And Isabelle Router, her experience underground — was the movie she cowrote an act of devotion to something that found her in the dark? I half remember the line from Yeats about entertaining a drowsy emperor.

None of it makes any sense; it’s all constructed with playing cards, waiting for a sneeze to collapse it.

John Langan
Lost in the Dark