I just finished reading House of Leaves, a book which frankly I should have read a long time ago because it is utterly brilliant.
Buy it now. If you haven't read it.
As I read it I couldn't help but ponder the similarities that exist between House of Leaves and Cube a movie that I have always loved.
It too is utterly brilliant. In fact, if you haven't seen the film or read the book then this node will be meaningless to you.
If you have done so, perhaps you will find these similarities intriguing.
In both cases characters find themselves in an unnatural environment which disturbs them. Also in both cases there are 6 characters that enter: Navidson, Tom, Reston, Holloway and his 2 partners and of course the 6 characters that awake in Cube (excluding of course the character in the first sequence that gets diced).
Also in both cases there is a character named Holloway, though they admittedly play very different roles. In both cases the military leader archetype character go insane and end up killing other members of their team.
In both cases starvation and dehydration are problems that must be faced and both the cube and house are associated with peculiar sounds. They are both abnormally clean. (Even in the cube the team never comes across anyone else's body despite the fact that people had been placed in the cube for at least a couple of months according to Worth.) This suggest the cube has a self-cleaning mechanism similar to the Minotaur hinted at in House of Leaves.
Notice also how Cube stretches and spins images as time passes in much the same way that House of Leaves drags out its words.
Most importantly in neither case is any suitable explanation given for these unique pieces of architecture. Even in the Cube in which Worth admits to having worked on the outer shell we are left pretty clueless as to who created the thing. The best explanation Worth gives us is that the Cube is a "headless blunder operating under the illusion of a master plan."
Perhaps most significantly they both have the pretense of some kind of mathematics involved. Whether it be an allusion to a vast combination lock or to Hofstadter's description of the grave (as it is often referred to} as being a horizontal eight.
While I'm here I should also point out the similarity between Danielewski's House and the world that Conrad depicts in Heart of Darkness which to fully explore requires a whole new node. (Which I may do at a later date.) Suffice it to say for now that Conrad describes Kurtz as being at a "heart of an impenetrable darkness". And that he describes the city of Brussels as being a whited sepulchre a word that best describes the grave that Danielewski's House is often described to. In essence it is almost as if Danielewski's suggestion that the darkness is larger than the Earth when the spiral staircase expands is mirrored in Conrad's book's perspective that in fact all of the world is a dark pit. This moment comes to light (dark?) when Marlowe says of England in the beginning of the book that "this also was one of the dark places of the Earth."
These were the thoughts that ran through my mind as I finished the book. Both Heart of Darkness and Cube were out before the House of Leaves was written and I cannot help but feel the author intended those strong ties to exist in the reader's mind. In fact it is difficult to believe that anything in that book is unintentional.