Corn Reactor

This month’s “The H Word” feature in Nightmare magazine, Desirina Boskovich’s “The Things That Walk Behind the Rows,” explores a specific region of American horror: the rural Midwest. Drawing upon her own recent relocation to the heartland, Boskovich considers the disconcerting isolation experienced in the central states. Her account of the pioneer-plaguing malady “Prairie Madness” suggests that it’s not just the Lovecraftian Northeast that is subjected to cosmic dread: “This place was like space, like the void between the stars, and no one could hear you scream.” Boskovich also offers intriguing commentary on the Gothic impact of the Homestead Act of 1862, as well as a quick survey of literary appearances of the cornfield (the “quintessential symbol of Midwestern horror”)–from classic stories such as “Children of the Corn” and “It’s a Good Life” to the modern novel Universal Harvester. This short essay is long on insight, and certainly worth checking out.

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