Category Archives: non-fiction

“Waking up from the American Dream: The Horror Of Memory in Brad Anderson’s Session 9” by David Annandale

Memory plays a crucial role in many a horror narrative. In memory can lie, for instance, the key to defeating the evil. “You will remember what your father forgot” (King 422), Danny is told in Stephen King’s The Shining. And he does: in the nick of time he remembers the boiler (which, untended, will explode) and thus deflects his possessed father’s murderous rampage. Often, memory’s unlocking of a mystery leads only to further danger (to Jessica Harper’s dismay, as she discovers the witches’ secret lair in Dario Argento’s Suspiria), or the resolution arrives too late to do any good (and so David Hemmings realizes who the murderer is in the split second before she attacks him in Argento’s Deep Red). In Session 9, written by Steve Gevedon and Brad Anderson, and directed by Anderson, memory is itself the horror, and so it is repressed. The effects of that repression, however, are still more horror. This is the despairing dynamic of the film: false dreams are lethal, but to wake up from them is to confront a reality no less destructive. The diagnosis, however, leaves the viewers with the responsibility to defang that terrible reality. Continue reading