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Related: black - hidden - night - obscure - occult

By connotation: black comedy - depression - disturbing - film noir - horror - noir - pessimism - tragedy - underground - violence

Contrast: day - happiness

And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all. --The Masque of the Red Death (1842) - Edgar Allan Poe [...]

Fiction by title: Heart of Darkness (1902) - Joseph Conrad - Dark Star (1974) - John Carpenter

Aesthetically, however, I'm interested in the unlit, unfrequented corners of society, the nethermost regions of the self: freaks, forensic pathology, true crime, conspiracy theory, cannibalism, madness, medical museums, Art Brut, weird science, sexual deviance, soft tissue modification (by tribal peoples and postmodern primitives), creature features, alien abductions, insects, Situationism, Surrealism, science fiction, the gothic, the grotesque, the carnivalesque -- in short, extremes and excess of every sort. I want to induce, in my reader, the vertigo that comes from leaning too far over the edge of the cultural abyss. -- Mark Dery via http://www.levity.com/markdery/inform.html [2003]


Darkness is the absence of light, but earlier in history it was sometimes viewed as a substance in its own right, and appears in this form in some fantasy literature. Another name for darkness in this context is shadow.

As a metaphor, it is also the lack of knowledge (ignorance). It is also associated with mystery and with unknown things.

In Western tradition, darkness is also associated with evil, evil entities (such as demons or Satan), and Hell or, especially in Egyptian mythology, the underworld. This concept can be seen personified in the character of Darkness played by actor Tim Curry in the 1985 fantasy movie Legend, where Darkness takes the form of a 15 foot high stereotype of Satan, complete with reddened skin, long horns and cloven hooves. The darkness was also an important part of gnostic religious systems; it was usually associated with evil. According to the gnostics, the world is the result of a fight between the darkness and the light.

In the Early Modern Period, the Middle Ages were named The Dark Ages in an attempt to make them look crude, thus making the speakers' own age seem glorious by comparison.

The love of darkness is called lygophilia. The fear of darkness is called lygophobia.

In fiction, darkness can symbolize undesirable happenings in various forms, often in the context of evil as mentioned above. Dark tourism is the travel to sites associated with death and suffering. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darkness [May 2006]

Dark culture

If there is a filmmaker who has accurately captured the pathological undercurrents of late 20th Century terminal life: institutionalised disaster areas, deviant sexual impulses spinning out of control and the rise of a Dark Culture, it is truly Canadian David Cronenberg. -- Alex Burns via http://www.disinfo.com/archive/pages/dossier/id177/pg1/ [2004]

Selection of 'dark' films since the 1960s

Like anyone else, I enjoy feel good movies. But I also hugely enjoy movies that are not for the faint of heart, let us call them dark movies.

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