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Posts Tagged ‘Bram Stoker’

This being October brings to mind Hallowe’en and scary stories… and celebrating the return of The Walking Dead tonight I thought made today’s topic particularly fun to write about.

Yay, The Walking Dead is back!

I’ve liked the horror genre since I first accidentally picked up Stephen King’s The Stand in middle school thinking it was a fantasy book (being a fantasy junkie after reading Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings).  The hardcover art depicted two adversaries fighting in the desert– one looking a bit like Luke Skywalker wielding a sword, the other a crow-man with a scythe.  I mean, check it out:

not the fantasy story I was expecting

This was back when most middle-schoolers wouldn’t have heard of Stephen King; he was just building a mainstream adult audience on the success of Carrie, Salem’s Lot and The Shining when The Stand came out.  So I’d never heard of Stephen King, but this book was huge and I was sucked in by the promise of the cover art.  I’m fairly sure the people of the Bookmobile shouldn’t have let a 12 year old check out that book, but I walked out with it and immediately started reading the book that afternoon.

I was confused when the book started out in an all-too-real version of modern-day Texas with a bunch of local yahoos who encounter a family deathly sick from a lethal virus.  I was intrigued– maybe this was going to start in “the real world” but then somehow jump over into a fantastical world like the Thomas Covenant books?  But no– instead King took our real-world and transformed it into a nightmare image, with humanity nearly wiped out and struggling to survive.  I was blown away and sucked in, and could hardly put the book down until I’d plowed through the 1,000+ pages to the end of it.  It was fucking exhilarating!

I was immediately hooked into the horror genre, gobbling up Stephen King and Peter Straub and Clive Barker and Dean Koontz, along with classics by H.P. Lovecraft and Bram Stoker. I couldn’t get enough of it.

I think what drew me in to horror was the idea of ordinary people struggling against extraordinary things, whether that was a haunted house or vampires or the end of the world.  I used to wonder– if I were thrust into that situation, how would I fare?  It was something interesting to ponder on a philosophical level.

I also love watching horror movies, which took wonderful horror stories and made them all the more real on the big screen, burning those scary images into your mind’s eye to jump into your thoughts at inopportune moments in the nights following.

Scary ass movie!!

One thing I realized lately was that I’d not seen a really creepy scary movie since I split with my wife.  She liked scary movies too, but towards the end of our relationship she was no longer interested in sharing scary movies with me so I’d go see them myself.  Something about coming home to a house with other people in it made those scary images that would pop into your mind’s eye at night tolerable.

I remember going to see The Ring in the movie theater.  In a “thank-you” to the employees, my company gave us the afternoon off on day, and I didn’t have anything to do, so I decided to go see a scary movie.  It turned out no one else had a random Thursday afternoon off and I was the only person in the theater, which I thought was fun-scary when the movie first started.  By the time the movie ended, I thought it was scary-scary, and could barely keep my ass in the seat for the end of it.  Every fiber of my being wanted to bolt to the car and get the hell out of there.

One of the scariest movies ever

It was a comfort to know as I closed my eyes that night my wife and kids were there in the house with me, and my rational irrational mind would tell me, if any freaky shit happened, I could draw strength from them.

One night soon after moving out into my apartment, I was itching to watch a scary movie.  I debated on seeing Paranormal Activity, because I’d heard it was creepy as hell.  But then I realized…

There was no one in the apartment but me.  When I closed my eyes to try and fall asleep that night, the only breathing flesh and blood human being in the house would be me… if something freaky happened, who was I to draw my strength from?

or, Don't See It and Be Home Alone

My rational irrational mind decided ix-nay on Paranormal Activity.  Or really any other creepy-ass movie… especially since moving back into the house.  Something about having a big, multi-level house empty of anyone but me makes it too easy to creep myself out.  I can read the scary book, but I’ve been avoiding the scary movies until I get a roommate or a girlfriend who can spend a couple nights with me, to give me strength to confront any freaky shit that might happen, or at least the freaky shit that pops into my mind’s eye at night as I drift off to sleep.

giving each other that strength

If she likes scary movies all the better since we can lend each other that strength.  I really miss watching scary movies with someone special, and that extra bit of comfort you give and receive that night as you snuggle close to chase away those horrific images lurking in your mind’s eye.

What about you?  Do you avoid watching really scary movies when you’re alone at night?

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