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The Neverending Story

Posted on January 8, 2016

Dark Fantasy, Horror, and The Neverending Story


I am going to be frank. I really wanted to write about The Neverending Story (1984). Even though it is a fantasy film, I believe it uniquely contains adult themes of horror which culminate in one of the most horrific monsters of all time…The Nothing. The next few paragraphs are a brief justification of why I feel that some fantasy overlaps with horror, followed by my take on The Neverending Story. To get straight to the point, I firmly believe that many fantasy films include an abject terror shared with the horror genre. The difference between horror and fantasy lies in the setting for these abject horrors. Furthermore, The Nothing overlaps with the formless horror seen in much of natural horror, yet it looms over the real and imagined worlds and stands for something so much more terrifying and powerful than anything in horror film.

Not everyone will agree with me, but I believe that fantasy and horror go hand in glove. I especially believe this when it comes to children’s fantasy. I have stated in previous posts that the fantasy films from my childhood in the 1980s were my gateway to horror. From Grimm’s Fairy Tales to Watership Down, fantasy has used many elements that persist in today’s gothic and horror narratives. In some circles, the term “dark fantasy” has been used interchangeably with gothic fantasy as well as supernatural horror. Many works of notable horror authors like Stephen King and Clive Barker have been categorized as dark fantasy. So closely related are the two that noted horror scholar Noel Carroll felt the need to distinguish his definition of art horror from fantasy.[i]

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