Halloween. Knocks on the door bring us endless rounds of miniature ghosts and demons; ghouls who don’t have eyes for our brains or souls, just the candy. A vast multitude of costumes that children use their minds to construct a unique perspective of horror for a night to walk amongst the dead. Some spit out their plastic glow-in-the-dark vampire fangs to dine on the tasty innards of chocolate nougat. Others hoard their loot and squirrel it away for many nights of midnight snacks, under the sheets. Hidden from the world.
A nighttime library of Creepy, Eerie and Vampirella were always best to be read under a blanket with a flashlight. Comic books are a great source for horror stories. Stephen King realized this when he put out the Creepshow movie and book, both formatted in a comic-book style. The popular Walking Dead television series was created from a graphic novel. (That’s what us grown-up kids call comic books.)
Our society has embraced Horror Fiction as commonplace life. We watch some great icons of terror being mass-marketed so even our small children know them, without fear. We ride roller coasters for the thrill of safely escaping death. It is fiction just as much as the written word. A single movie, and actually not a very memorable one, catapulted an ordinary hockey mask into another face of horror. Actors typecast into roles make a living at conventions, autographing stills of their heyday for twenty dollars. We flock to see them, because we remember them in our fears. We enjoy the way they made us feel.
Many writers attempt to scare and thrill us every day; most miss the mark. But when the one piece truly creeps us out, it’s in our hearts forever. The torment of the young family isolated in a cabin with an undead horde pounding on the door is easily forgotten by closing the book or turning off the television. But we don’t want to forget, we turn the page to the next chapter to see what happens. Many nights as a child, I remember huddling on the couch to watch Creature Features armed with a bowl of popcorn and the safety of my parents. I finished watching many movies between splayed fingers. After Trilogy of Terror, I shook in fear listening to small footsteps on the tile floor.
I hate poodles.