Horror is one of the best genres in all of entertainment. Horror is a genre with the intention of scaring or frightening its readers or viewers by implementing feelings of horror and terror. The foreshadowing, suspense, and the mystery are among the few characteristics which attracts the reader. One of the first American writers to accomplish this is none other than Edgar Allan Poe. Edgar Allan Poe creates plausible horror in his short stories.
In Edgar’s 1843 story The Tell-Tale Heart, the plot revolves around a man who’s excruciatingly disturbed by an old man’s eye. This unorthodox disturbance eventually leads him to kill the old man. The police then arrive on the scene and at first, they seem to be oblivious to the murder. But unfortunately, the narrator lets his paranoia get the better of him and he confessed to the crime. Some elements of horror in this story include how the murder was carefully planned out. The old man was murdered by being smothered with his bed and was chopped up and body parts were put under the floorboards. The narrator was convinced the old man’s heart was beating under the floorboards. In 1843, critic Haly Greece described the story as “strong and skillful” but at the same time, he felt it was “overstrained and repetitive”. Other reviewers thought of it as “An article of thrilling interest” and “very wild and very readable”.
The Cask of Amontillado, which was in 1846, is about a man named Montresor who plans to murder his acquaintance Fortunato, over a series of injuries and an insult which isn’t really touched upon. He lures Fortunato with wine as he knows he loves it loves a lot. He had planned to get him drunk enough and send him to get the Amontillado. While drunk, he is quickly chained up and is then buried alive by Montresor. The horror scenes include how Montresor warned him about the dangers in the vault even though he plans to kill him. Another instance was this took place at a carnival, meaning while everyone’s having fun, they have no idea that someone has been murdered. Critic Thomas Ollive Mabbott said, “This is the most moral of his stories.” Eric W. Carbon suggests that Poe must have had a chaotic childhood for him to write things like this.
In the 1943 story The Black Cat, a guy that was initially a very kind person had turned a complete 180 after becoming an alcoholic. He takes an eye out of his cat and later kills his wife while trying to kill his cat. He then takes bricks from a protrusion in the wall and put her body in there along with the cat which was presumed dead. The police didn’t find out about this until the last day of investigating after the wife’s disappearance. They found out due to the cat screeching and the police tore down the wall to find the wife’s corpse and the cat. The scenes of horror include his slowly but surely path to violence. The visions the man has of the cat. The alcohol had caused him to fall to the demons in his mind. Author and literary critique Ed Piacentino commented that, “Edgar Allan Poe’s The Black Cat remains one of his most mystifying and horrifying tales.”
In 1842, The Pit and the Pendulum was published. This story revolves around a man who is brought to trial for reasons that Poe fails to bring up. Eventually, he finds himself strapped to a wooden frame with a razor sharp pendulum swinging back and forth designed to kill him. Luckily with meat he had, he got nearby rats to come to him to eat through the straps. Thanks to that, he was able to narrowly escape an otherwise inevitable death. Horror scenes include how the main character is desperate in the hope of catching some ray of light. There were times where he loses consciousness and upon awakening finds nothing but darkness. Reviewer Crystal Hau stated that “The Pit and the Pendulum, about a man imprisoned during the Spanish Inquisition, is one of Edgar Allan Poe’s finest works and it captures horror at its height.”
Poe, Edgar Allen.”The Black Cat”. US Saturday Evening Post. 19 August 1843
— “The Cask of Amontillado”. Godey’s Lady’s Book. November 1846.
—“The Pit and the Pendulum”.Carey & Hart. 1842.
—“The Tell-Tale Heart”. James Russell Lowell. January 1843.