No se puede vivir sin amor, states the poster. You can’t live without love. The movie, “The Hands Of Orlac,” features a demonic character, played by Peter Lorre. The poster is looming in Chapter One of Malcolm Lowry’s novel, “Under The Volcano,” and it reappears throughout the book. Looming is a good word to capture the atmosphere. It is late afternoon on the Day of the Dead, in Mexico. The city is built on the slope of a volcano. World War II is about to happen. And the life of the central character is unraveling throughout the book.
“Yet what a complicated endless tale it seemed to tell, of tyranny and sanctuary, that poster looming above him now, showing the murderer Orlac! An artist with a murderer’s hands; that was the ticket, the hieroglyphic of the times.”