Popular Culture Review 29.1 (Spring 2018) - Page 105

inside the house, front door closed, Burgess performs an action that links him with both Crowley and the serpent in the Garden of Eden: he flicks his tongue at the woman—an action modeled after what Crowley termed the “serpent’s kiss” and an invitation to a form of violent “sex magic.” Following Crowley’s lead, Lucien goes on to lick the woman. When Luther and his partner Justin Ripley enter the crime scene, they find the entry hall covered with sentences taken from Crawley’s manuscripts, with which Luther seems well acquainted, and written in the blood of one of Lucien’s past victim. Luther later learns that the motive behind Lucien’s sanguinary habits is the belief—again expressed in Crowley’s writings—that the drinking of bodily fluids is necessary to sustain one’s existence and to enable one to perform violent sexual acts, which Crowley believed brought him into contact with demonic spirits (Aleister Crowley--The Wickedest Man in the World). Influenced by traditions of Gothic horror, Cross has created characters whose personal identity has been annihilated at some point in their lives and who view their own murderous actions within a context that is clearly demonic, a realm whose existence has long been a matter of debate among writers of both Gothic and non-Gothic fiction (Clery 53-60). According to Professor of German literature Irena Kuznetsova, The demonic is a tricky and heterogeneous concept. In the most general terms, [the demonic] can be identified with an irrational and mysterious force or energy that thinkers, artists, and theologians from antiquity to the modern day have sought to comprehend and locate either within or outside of individuals, while personifying it in the figures of demons (devils) or in demon-like characters. (246) Thus, in the novel and TV series, whether the demonic has its source in the subconscious or supernatural realm is immaterial. What is most significant in this series is that the demonic has contributed greatly to shaping the killers’ personalities. Indeed, the series focuses upon killers whose diabolical savagery is intended to evoke the level of horror/ terror that late eighteenth and early nineteenth century British Gothic novelist Anne Radcliffe had in mind in her essay “On the Supernatural in Poetry,” when she wrote, “[T]error expands the soul and awakens the faculties to a high degree of life,’ whereas horror ‘contracts, freezes and nearly annihilates them.’” As it evokes terror and horror, Cross’s series creates the impression of an almost tangible paranoia that may have become a “perfectly rational fear” (Kavka 227) among current residents of large European cities (like London) haunted by human beings whose monstrous actions are inspired by the 105