Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Okay, so in our previous blogs we have talked about fall colors around the country and about fall reading material and how it can be a little heavier - in more ways than one. Well, I think it's only fair we talk about what the end of October makes you really want.....SCARE ME TO DEATH.
It's everywhere!  Stroll through your neighborhood.  Walk down the aisles of your local Walmart, Kmart, Walgreen's, Lowes, Target, Halloween store, etc., etc., everywhere, anywhere can't miss it.  There is just something about having your hair stand on end or your heart race out of control, or a sensation of lacking oxygen to the point you feel you may faint. How about the feeling you get riding on the Demon or one of the other roller coaster at Great America amusement park (not very amusing for me).  It's a feeling that you can't explain that starts with a tingling in your toes and works it's way up to the trembling and quaking in your stomach, up to the tightening in your chest, to the knot in your throat until it emanates in a blood curdling scream you didn't even know you had inside you.   People want to be scared

Let us start with the way we are decorating our homes.  We are decorating in ways never dreamed of 10 or 15 years ago.  I have learned that Halloween decorations are outselling Christmas decorations now.  There are elaborate graveyards complete with headstones, massive skeletons swinging from trees, monsters that come up out of the ground (thank goodness in Tucson the ground is so hard, I haven't seen any of those around my neighborhood yet), witches hanging from rooftops, doorway hangings that absolutely terrify toddlers.  There are orange and purple light sets that decorate trees, rooftops, windows, bushes and fences.   And don't forget the old stand-by haunted houses, haunted mazes, haunted amusement parks...well I think you get the idea.  We want our senses challenged in macabre ways.

Take a walk with me down memory lane of the horror movies and how popular they have always been.  My husband still remembers and talks about his older sister taking him when he was very, very young (too young to be viewing a movie like that one) to the movie theater to see Wolfman with Lon Chaney. Can you say Frankenstein or The Mummy with Boris Karloff or Dracula with Bela Lugosi?  I think these were the original 'scare me to death' movies that helped spawn many of the ones that are enjoyed by many people today. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t begrudge anybody their titillations, but I personally have sworn off of most of the horror movies of today and the past maybe 15 years or so.  The special effects that started with the Friday the 13th and Halloween and Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies just made them a little too realistic for me.  I just cannot  do any of the slasher movies, believe me I tried for the sake of my marriage and my children.   Everyone loved the slashers except me.  Don't even mention Candyman!!! OMG!  I would totally freak out if I saw one of my kids standing in front of a mirror repeating the "Candyman, Candyman, Candyman" phrase that supposedly brought him out of the glass.  I can't even tell you how that movie terrified me.  I prefer suspense thrillers like: Se7en with Brad Pitt, Silence of the Lambs (trilogy), Inception and Shutter Island with Leonardo DiCaprio, the Indiana Jones series….those types of movies.  Suspense and thrills without so much of the blood that comes along with slashers. 
All the above leads me to – you guessed it – wonderful ‘scare me to death’ - 'thrill me and chill me' novels.  How about a little hair-raising with Stephen King?  Too many to count!  The Stand, It, Salem’s Lot, Cycle of the Werewolf, The Shining, and the one that had me looking under my bed in the middle of the night…Pet Semetary.  The list is endless.  What about Dean Koontz’s Sole Survivor, Shattered,  Demon Seed, Intensity or Watchers.  Mr. Koontz also has too many to count!  I think you are getting my drift though….there is nothing like using your own imagination when reading a book.  You get to put whatever leading man or woman in the starring role.  You get to make a scene as bloody or suspenseful as you can take.  A good author leads you and guides you but gives you enough leeway to use your imagination. A well written book will have different slants to tantalize every reader.  That is why book discussion groups are here to stay.  You may see something completely different from what another reader sees and the only way this gets brought forward is by discussing the book.

Who’s your favorite horror author?  I’ll lead with a list….I am actually listing them in the order of their popularity along with one of their works of fiction.  You fill in the blanks with others you enjoy and

 H.P. Lovecraft ……………..The Dunwich Horror
Stephen King …………….….Nightmares and Dreamscapes
Richard Matheson …….….Stir of Echoes
Edgar Allen Poe ……………The Murders in the Rue Morgue
Clive Barker …………………The Hellbound Heart
Robert Bloch ……………….Psycho!
Ramsey Campbell ……….Demons by Daylight
M.R. James ………………….Ghost Stories of an Antiquary
Peter Straub………………..Shadowland
Joe R. Lansdale ……….…The Drive in  


Crosimoto said...

Good post! I wish I was more of a reader, but alas... I'm the guy who waits for the movie. But in the "spirit" of All Hollows Eve - The oldest standing home in Richmond is now the Edgar Allen Poe musuem. Anyone "down" to hang out in there on Halloween night and read the Tell Tale Heart?

MsCros said...

Please feel free to be painfully honest....I mean, how can a scaredy-cat be entrusted to write about horror stories. I know....

MsCros said...

I would love to do the Edgar Allen Poe museum, but I don't think I can make a cross-country trip right now. :-(

Arthur Croswell said...

True, My Sister did take me and my brother Cleveland to a scary movie and sometime I just laugh at how scared we were at that time.

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