Tuesday, 21 September 2010
Pitch is perhaps the most deliberate homage to Poe in all the Tales of Terror. It has elements of both The Black Cat and The Tell-Tale Heart.
Much of what might appear on the surface as a fear of the supernatural, is actually a fear of madness. Or at least it is a fear that we have lost the ability to be sure of what we are seeing. We rely on our interpretation of what we see to guard us against danger, but if what if we are confronted by something that we 'know' can't possibly exist? What do we do then? Where do we run? Where do we hide? Is there even any point in running, or any point in hiding?
Madness is a great theme in some of Poe's best stories, both in the weird obsessive nature of many of the characters (the murderer in The Tell-Tale Heart kills his victim because he does not like the old man's pale cataract-clouded eye), but also in the way those characters implode, mentally. They are no longer sure of what they are seeing or hearing. And neither, as readers, are we.
I wanted Tom to have the deranged arrogance of many of Poe's characters. I wanted us to see that he was unhinged, but have him be cockily oblivious to his own mental state.