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Delving into Darkness: Daniella Tully Explores the Allure of Horror Fiction

City Times sits down with Daniella Tully, an accomplished author and film producer specializing in horror fiction. 

Daniella Tully’s journey in storytelling began with production and scriptwriting in her native Germany, and she later contributed significantly to the UAE’s film industry. 

Notable projects include the critically acclaimed “Fair Game,” and box-office hits like “Contagion,” “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” and the Oscar-winning “The Help.” 

In recent years, Tully transitioned to writing novels, with her debut, “Hotel on Shadow Lake,” receiving international acclaim.

The Universal Appeal of Horror:

When asked about her fascination with horror, Tully emphasizes its universality. Unlike genres like romance or comedy, which can be culturally specific, horror possesses a primal quality that transcends cultures. 

Tully quotes HP Lovecraft, stating, “The oldest and strongest emotion is fear, and the oldest and most powerful kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” Her German background, influenced by dark fairytales, further shapes her sensibility.

Fairytales as Cautionary Tales:

Tully delves into the dark nature of German fairytales, emphasizing their disturbing elements. 

She suggests these tales served as cautionary stories, delivering strong moral lessons to children and adults alike. 

Themes of danger, trust, and the consequences of undesirable behaviors were woven into these narratives, creating enduring tales that tap into primal fears.

Stephen King’s Enduring Legacy:

Tully praises Stephen King as a master of symbolism and layered meanings in horror. She appreciates King’s ability to infuse deeper meanings into his stories, making them more than mere tales of terror. 

Tully likens King to the Charles Dickens of the horror genre, attributing his enduring appeal to rich prose, relatable protagonists facing adversity, and the underlying theme of resilience in the face of hardships.

The Purging Quality of Horror:

Discussing the broader horror genre, Tully explores what she terms “the purging quality of horror.” Contrary to creating fear, horror allows individuals to confront and release their fears. 

Tully emphasizes that horror, whether in books or films, provides a cathartic experience by allowing readers or viewers to identify with the pursued or victim rather than the monster, offering a cleansing effect.

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