“Horror fiction, horror literature, and also horror fantasy are a genre of literature, which is intended to, or has the capacity to frighten, scare, or startle its readers by inducing feelings of horror and terror.”—Wikipedia
Do you know what I’ve discovered this week? Halloween is scaring the crap out of me this year. The horror level of this once benign celebration has been jacked up one hundredfold since I was a kid. Gone are the days when Halloween was represented by a few jack-o-lanterns lined along a home’s walkway accompanied by a cutout of a witch and a ghost bumping boots on a porch banister. Now it is full-out horror. Today, I saw a decorated Halloween house on the news that was so full of gore I could barely breathe. I had to keep looking over my shoulder as I ran on the treadmill to make sure no one was behind me in the dark corner of the basement. Between the dozen or so severed heads hanging from the property’s trees, the caged fake babies waiting to be eaten by some monster emerging from the deep, and the blood spurting out of the chopped off limbs of innocent victims (I saw a uniformed arm of a mailman and FedEx delivery man), I almost lost last night’s dinner while watching this all unfold on the Today Show.
(In the midst of my exercise routine, my husband (WW) joined me in the basement to exercise on his reclining stationary bike which is about six feet to the left of my treadmill in a rather dim corner of the basement. As is sometimes the norm in the morning, it takes WW a while to get moving [not the real talkative type] while I am a motor mouth from the time I rise until the time I close my eyes in the evening. And when I’ve had two cups of French Press coffee on top of my natural energy, I am a force to be reckoned with. I talk as if I’m afraid the world will stop on its axis before I can express all my thoughts to anyone who will listen and whose life might surely depend upon my vociferous “revelations.” I didn’t wait for WW’s greeting [he seemed to be having a hard time getting going] before launching into a diatribe about the morning news, as if he weren’t watching the same television which was about 18 feet in front of us both.)
ME: Hey Darlin’, you got here just in time to see the tail end of the Today Show hosts going through an over-the-top Halloween display in New Jersey. It’s called the Brighton Asylum and it is considered the scariest haunted house in America. The Today Show hosts screamed so much from the terror that Tamron (Hall) and Natalie (Morales) are hoarse.
Oh, my Gawd, did you hear what they just said? Tamron Hall was in such pain after the event that Al Roker thought she had a burst appendix. She had to be admitted into the hospital. But it wasn’t appendicitis! She screamed so much from the terror of being in that damn haunted house that she had a deep-tissue tear in her abdomen. Isn’t that amazing?
WW: Uh, huh . . .
ME: I’m telling you, I just don’t get the fascination with horror. I know you like horror movies—you have all your life. I’ll never forget the time you tricked me into seeing A Nightmare on Elm Street—a kid’s movie my ass. I dreamt about Freddy Krueger for years. See I have this theory that . . .
Please excuse the misspelling in this meme. Apparently, monsters can’t spell.
WW: Hum . . .
ME: Only people who have never had to suffer horror in real life can enjoy horror movies. I mean, no disrespect to you Babe, but you’re a privileged white male, and you know nothing about suffering, chil’. Umph, umph, umph, I wrote the book on suffering, my man. Now I can tell you a thing or two about real-life horror—I sure ‘nuff can. My childhood was one serial horror story after another. Freddy Krueger probably lived under my bed before he made his screen debut. Hee, hee, hee! Whew, Lord Jesus—preach it, girl!
WW: Oooooh . . .
ME: I know, I know. You think that horror movies and Halloween haunted houses are just fake with actors plastered in red-dye corn syrup blood and oatmeal standing in for brains so the zombie actors can realistically scoop them up and eat them with their skeletal fingers. It’s all in good fun, you think. I’ve been married to you long enough to know that what you really consider horror is all the bad news I consume as a blogger—just to stay informed. If I’m being honest with myself, the media hysterics can get a bit much—if I do say so myself. Between the ISIS beheadings and the 4,500 dead African bodies from Ebola that we keep hearing will overrun America, I have to admit it can get a little bit terrorizing.
Used by Permission: Patrick Chappatte, The International New York Times
ME: God bless you! I hope you’re not coming down with a cold. I knew leaving that window open last night was a big mistake. First of all, there was a full moon, and I know it sounds silly, but I find it difficult to sleep with my bedroom windows open on nights like that. I mean anything can crawl through an open window on a full-moon night. Next thing you know, you’re chopped liver for some zombie, and there you have it. I grew up going to see horror movies about the Wolf Man and Frankenstein and even though I know they aren’t real, it still gives me the creeps. Everybody knows that when there is a full moon—goodnight, Irene! Speaking of those old make-believe monsters, do you think they’d find the events of our time too scary to make an appearance? I mean, how could the fear of a bite from Dracula hold up against the scare of ISIS, Ebola, and Fox News? Talk about horror stories. A-N-Y-HOO . . .
Used by permission: Olle Johansson, Sweden
ME: Oh, my God, did you just fart? Euuuew, Babe. That is sooooo gross. I still have twenty minutes to go on the treadmill. and I can barely breathe now. Thanks a lot. Smells like something died over there on that bike.
WW: Euuuew . . .
ME: Oh, you agree, huh? You’re such a crack-up. I told you not to eat that extra helping of fava beans. Anyway, where was I? Oh, the media. Have you noticed how they purposely write the lead ins or the headlines with a question to hook the listener and scare the shit out of us? You can be going along minding your own business without a care in the world when you hear a commercial for the 6 O’clock News:
“Exotic, highly poisonous, yellow snake escaped his illegal captivity and is popping up in toilets across the city. Could your toilet be next and are your family’s asses in jeopardy? Tune in later to watch News4 at 6 for more harrowing details.”
ME: And don’t get me started on Fox News or the Rush Limbaughs of the world—they are the worst fear mongers on the planet:
“Obama letting in Ebola as payback for slavery. Is any ‘True American’ safe from this Imperialist President? Will we all have to die before he gets his lazy ass off the golf course and does his job?”
ME: I mean Americans don’t need Halloween monsters to scare us, all we need is our run-amok media to cause us to lose control of our bowels.
Used by permission: Cam Cardow, Cagle Cartoons
ME: So, where was I? Oh yeah, your penchant for horror movies. Do you remember when you took me to see George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead when we were dating? Oh my God that was the scariest movie. The best thing about that movie was that a black man had the lead and was the hero. That was really somethin’ in that day. Raised quite a fuss if I remember. What was his character’s name? Ben, I think. Oh, but the worst was when you whispered that line in my ear from the movie as we were walking along a dark street. I think you did it to get me to lean in closer so you could put your arm around me, you ol’ sly dog. It was the line the brother said to his sister in the cemetery that foreshadowed the appearance of the zombies. It made me pee my pants. What did he say, exactly?
(At that exact moment, I heard my husband shout from upstairs in the kitchen: “Who are you talking to, Cutie? I just woke up, and I’m going to fix myself some breakfast. Do you want any?” I looked over at the empty reclining stationary bike, and my heart stopped as I felt an unrecognizable presence lean into the back of my neck [breath so hot it singed the hair off the nape of my neck] and whisper into my left ear:
“THEY’RE COMING TO GET YOU, BARBARA! HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, AAAHH-HA, HA, HA, HA!”)
Google Image/ Scary Face imgarcade.com
P.S. The author is not really as silly as she has presented herself to be in this Halloween tall tale. If she were, life would have imitated art, and her very intelligent, very no-nonsense, and otherwise very sweet husband would have conjured up monsters long ago to kill her in her sleep on some dark Halloween night when the full moon was in full bloom.
Used by Permission: Baby Boomer Witches David Fitzsimmons The Arizona Star
“I love horror. I love ‘The Shining,’ ‘Friday the 13th,’ ‘Halloween,’ all those kinds of things. I love zombies, especially ’28 Days Later’ and ’28 Weeks Later,’ where the zombies are going faster than the George Romero ones. I love being scared; there’s something that’s awesome about your heart rate going up like that.”—Ricky Schroder
“What scares me is what scares you. We’re all afraid of the same things. That’s why horror is such a powerful genre. All you have to do is ask yourself what frightens you and you’ll know what frightens me.”—John Carpenter
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