Sunday, October 07, 2007

ya wanna see something REALLY scary...?


as autumn (slowly, thank you) begins to fall over the countryside here in upstate new york, the night air much chillier, the trees painted overnight with wide broad brush-strokes of gold and crimson, something inside me begins to conjure images of pumpkins and goblins and skeletons and ghosts.
and i wanna be scared.

my 11 year old nephew not so much.

his older sister is now big into horror movies, whatever she can talk her parents into letting her see (only going on 14 herself), but they have (foolishly) pointed her in my direction--and my discretion (?!)--and so we've been watching some pretty good stuff recently!

oh, nothing TOO bad. nothing reprehensible. she claims that she doesn't get nightmares, but i don't want her to start 'cause of me!

my nephew, though, knows his limits, knows what he DOESN'T like, and being scared is def on that list.

and so it was that i tentatively took him into the recently opened (and soon to be closed) spirit of halloween store that opened up just across the river, and pointed out the really scary masks and decorations that i dreamed of filling my house with.* bug-eyed ghouls that shudder and shake, upside-down hanging vampire bats, a green-eyed goat demon mask--there was a lot that you could scare people with.

my nephew looked, said, "yeah, cool", to placate his uncle todd, but soon steered me over toward the fake mustache, sideburns, and chest hair that he wanted to complete his 70's disco costume to which he's added to a little bit each year over the past three.

people are always amazed at how alike he and i are--we love the same music, same jokes, same everything, it seems...

that "likes to be scared" gene just hasn't kicked in yet.

but when it DOES...

so, do YOU like to be scared?
got a story about it?
about being scared as a kid?
by a movie? or an older brother or sister?
a creepy neighbor?

lemme know.

oh, yeah--
here are
the answers to your
"five for friday"

1. forrest gump, the green mile, mission to mars

gary sinise

2. child's play, murder in the first, lord of the rings:the two towers

brad dourif

3. the ice storm, pleasantville, the contender

joan allen

4. platoon, any given sunday, identity

john c. mcginley

5. signs, the village, lady in the water

m. night shyamalan

that's it for me!
enjoy your colombus day cake!
smell ya later!

*yes, i ended a sentence with a preposition.
so what, bitch.


Matt Wieringo said...

I absolutely LOVE to be scared. Not grossed out or skeeved but the true, creepy, make your skin crawl scare that Hollywood just doesn't seem to remember how to produce anymore. The GRUDGE films and the first RING film have come closest but I think the scariest film in recent memory was EXORCIST III.

This is traditionally my favorite time of year, leaves be damned. (I hate raking those $#@%ers!) This year's going to be a drag because I haven't had time to make a costume and I've put on about 10 or 15 pounds since August so no candy for me this year. But I'm really looking forward to all the scary movie marathons on cable and the horror movie sales at Best Buy and Circuit City.

Heywood Jablomie said...

This time of year is one of my faves as well Todd. I'm a spring/autumn person, hot summer weather be damned!! haha Halloween rocks as well. My GF and I now that we have our own house are looking to fill it with as much creepy stuff as possible, just so long as the dog doesn't make a meal out of it all! Movies don't do the 'CREEP' factor for me these days, but for me the first Hellraiser movie will always be one of my faves. Not super scary but creepy as hell!! I think the thing that scares me the most is/was whenever I play the first Silent Hill game on the PS. The first time I played it I played it in the dark, and gawddamn that game scares AND creeps the shit out of you both at the same time. I also like to read H.P. Lovecraft's works around this time as well, and man those stories can creep you out!

Brian said...

I love the Universal Classic Monsters, Frankenstein's Monster, Dracula, the Mummy, the Wolfman and his son.

Saw the first Halloween and was of course scared and enjoying it until Michael one handed a very large, very healthy teenage man child and implaed him with the butcher knife. Sorry, Michael is a man, not a supernatural creature so making him unstopable and unkillable just moved the film onto the silly side for me. Unfortunately, Hollywood decided to follow with a dozen or so Michael clones, none of which hold any interest for me.

Zombies are a little played out for me as though I loved Shaun of the Dead.

Unknown said...

I've never been much into the "scary" stuff; I've only just started getting mildly interested in the classic horror-slashers -- you know, Freddie, Jason, those dudes . . . Of course, if they're on television, I'm watching them at the crack of noon. :-P

So imagine my horror when, one Halloween many years ago (probably mid '90s, as I was still in elementary school) I come home to see that my mom --- is carrying a severed arm --- which is still moving . . .

I started screaming and ran out into the backyard. She pulled it off and showed me how it worked. Yeah, laughs for all. And, years later I probably spooked the beejesus out of a little kid who stopped by for candy when I had it on.

renecarol said...

I love scary movies - especially watching them around Halloween... vampires, werewolves, zombies, etc. The best part of Halloween is all the old movie marathons. I'm not big on dressing up for Halloween though.

Matt Wieringo said...

Yeah, I love the marathons on TV, even with all the censoring and commercial breaks every six minutes. This year will suck though because Comcast moved AMC to digital-only. That means I can't get it in the bedroom, only in the den. Makes Suzanne happy but me? Not so much. Oh, well. That's what DVD libraries are for and, boy, do I have a lot of horror movies.

Anyone remember Joe Bob Brigg's show on USA on Friday nights? Man, that was fun. He'd always so the dumbest movies but the best part was his little interludes at the commercial breaks. I really, really miss fun TV shows like that. Locally, we had a guy named Dr. Gruesome on Saturday nights but that didn't last much longer after I graduated from college.

Unfortunately, all the marathons these days end up showing, like, HALLOWEEN 6 or FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH PART V over and over because they're so cheap. I want something really good!

Colin said...

I'm not a big fan of horror movies in the vein of Halloween, Nightmare on Elm St, or pretty much anything where the family moves someplace and is slowly massacared one by one. When the house tells you to leave, it's generally a good idea to listen.

But I do like classic monster movies. I just watched one the best ever last week, Monster Squad. Finally on DVD!! It really holds up well despite the 20 year difference. I am scratching my head over how Rudy passed himself off as a badass wearing white socks and penny loafers...

Heywood Jablomie said...


Joe Bob Briggs YES!!!! That guy was the best! I wish they'd show him again. I thought he had a slight comeback somewhere a few years ago, but it was short lived if I remember correctly. I had totally forgotten about the guy. Up here we have a local guy named Zacherley who had a TV show WAY back in the day, and that was really kooky. Not sure if he ever made it national though.

Matt Wieringo said...

Joe Bob is the man! He has a still-active web site here.

And my deep, abiding love of MONSTER SQUAD is much-heralded. The great thing about the Rudy character was that, though the younger characters thought he was cool, the cute older sister wasn't buying it.

Adam Hutch said...

I've always been a Fall/Autumn person, and it's nice that Autumn is finally hitting us after two weeks in the high 70s-mid 80s.

I do like to be frightened but I've never been too into scarey movies. One thing I do remember being terrified of when I was little was this wall hanging my parents hung in my room; God only knows why.

I couldn't have been more than 4 or 5, it was a yarn and bead-work witch's face. It was hung right next to the head of my bed facing the doorway.

Whenever I wanted to go in my room I'd go through the following ritual. Climb to the top of the stairs, sprint into my room, grab the wall hanging, fling it into my closet and run back out. Then, and only then was my room safe. The best thing is, I don't know if I never told them I was scared of it or what, but my parents would always hang the stupid right back up!

todd said...


thanks for the story!
parents are funny sometimes, huh?
the most obvious things that would scare a kid and they look right past it.
when i was little, the door into the attic was off my bedroom. it was where mom and dad stored things--furniture, clothes, seasonal things--but when the wind blew really hard outside, it would whilstle and howl through the eves (on the attic side of the house) and rattle that door.
which was scary.
in an attempt to keep the door from rattling, my dad fixed up a simple hook-and-eye to hold ist tight.
which ended the rattling. which was good.
until one night, up in my room getting changed for bed, i noticed that the hook was off.
and because of where the lamp was and because of the shadows and because i was, like, 7 years old and could make my eyes play tricks--i was sure that that door was starting to gradually open.
and i was petrified.
i yelled and i yelled at the slowly opening door (which, oddly, wasn't getting any opener...) and my dad bounded up the stairs to my rescue--and was, because he had stopped being a kid long ago, flummoxed as to what i could have possibly been howling about.

a kid's imagination is awesome.
and scary.

renecarol said...

I LOVE scary movies. And my daughter is scared of absolutely everything. She is scared of clowns. Somebody told me once I shouldn't have let her watch Poltergiest. I was like there were clowns in Poltergiest which one? I know that Carolann was the same age as me and I watched all the Poltergiests right when they came out and it didn't bother ME. Why on earth should she not be able to watch Poltergiest. Anyway so last year over Halloween Lexie's coach had a baby. While she was in the hospital she had to assign parts for Nutcracker - so I guess she was a little out of it. And Lexie got the part of clown doll. I was like you know she's scared of clowns, right? I told her she could be a pretty clown not like Killer Clowns from Outer Space. Clowns don't have to be scary. I was kind of hoping she might have to be a clown. When she was 2 she was a cute little clown for Halloween and she got chocolate all over her face and I decided to wash her outfit and redress her over the weekend to get pictures. Painting a 2 year olds face not exactly easy so I never actually got pictures of her in the cute outfit and makeup. And every year after that she picked what she wanted which turned into fairy princess type stuff for next couple of years. Then 2 years ago at Halloween she dressed as a vampire. I was like oh cool your going to be something scary. I was so proud of her she wore her costume to a haunted house we went to. And then a little boy kindergarten age - wearing the exact same costume as her crawled out a coffin. And it about scared the bejeses out of her. I was like oh my god he's wearing the same thing you are it is obviously fake. Back to last Halloween she was a witch -pretty witches are okay scary witches not okay. She had to skate a duet with her friend. Her friend wanted to be an ugly scary witch. Lexie refused to skate with her if she wore the mask. Freaked out on her friend went cuckoo on her for wearing the mask. I was never scared of anything as a kid - I was always like that is so fake.

todd said...

great story, renee--!

it's amazing what some kids are afraid of--and, i think, how they either deal with it or internalize it as they grow older. the thing that really gets me is that, no matter how close you are with your kids, you can't be there all the time. and when something startles them or scares them--and traumatizes them--you just can't know how it happened and how to comfort them with it.
clowns are scary. i know people who are afraid of--or told me that they had been afraid of as kids; clowns, chickens, spiders, snakes, balloons, flip-flops, cotton candy, and the color yellow. where did these come from? real life? tv? nightmares? the girl who was afraid of would tremble when she saw someone wearing them--she was that scared. and she was twenty-three at the time, very smart, but this just spooked her.
fears can be wacky.

Heywood Jablomie said...

Not sure if any one has ever done this, but has any one ever beaten a fear? I had this fear, probably more of an OCD thing, but a fear of being dirty. I never liked having dirt on my hands or crawling through areas where I could get dirty(mind you this all started more in my teens). But over the years I've slowly been working on beating it. I think the pivotal moment for me was when my GF and I bought our house this year and I had to crawl into the crawl space for the first time. I got in there did what I had to and then decided to just lie there looking around. Once I got out though I felt like I just kicked the Hulk's ass. It was quite a feeling. Not sure if any one else has ever felt this way, but it felt really cool. When I was a kid though we lived in a heavily wooded area and at night the shadows would just creep out from the trees towards the house and I always thought that if I were to ever leave the light surrounding the house that I would get sucked in and never escape. Then one night my brother and I were running around and he pushed me into this thicket of trees we had near the house and I screamed. But after I realized that nothing was going to happen I felt so much better. That and the reaming my dad gave me for waking him up haha.I had a very overactive imagination when I was a kid, still do, but you're right Todd, a kid's imagination can be scary!

renecarol said...

I thought of a couple of fears. I think my fears are more rational though. If I can think that is so fake then it won't scare me. Sometime when I was about 17 my brother's house got broken into 3 times within about a month (which is a lot). And I got really scared to stay there but I wouldn't say that cause I didn't my brother to think I was a wus. But for a while there I was really freaked that someone was going to break into the house while I was there with the boys. I guess I was more scared that something might happen I wouldn't be able to protect them.
I have another fear more of a current one - 'developing nations.' Yesterday at a meeting someone started talking about some coworkers getting gunned down in Nairobi a couple of years ago. Guess where Renee ain't going.

Cooper said...

One of my co-workers is deathly afraid of...ketchup. One of my other co-workers hung a bunch of ketchup packs on lengths of string from the ceiling when he closed (think clanking lengths of chain like a HELLRAISER flick...only with, um, packets of ketchup), and when the ketchophobe walked in the next day, she almost passed out.

As for me...

When I was a wee lad, the older sibs used to take me to to the movies with them and their friends for the sole purpose of using me to smuggle snacks and such in (think "under the jacket," not "a la drug-mule-style"). They took me to see POLTERGEIST when it first came out. For months afterwards I couldn't eat meat, was terrified of my sister's dolls (although AMITYVILLE HORROR had already helped with that), freaked out at static on the TV, stayed up staring at the tree outside my window ('cause obviously it wanted to eat me), and was scared to look in the mirror in case I accidentally peeled my face off (all of these should make sense if you've seen the flick).

And then there was the movie, THE CHANGELING, with George C. Scott. My best friend was over one night and the parentals rented it for us. Scared the crap out of us. While we were playing downstairs, my Dad dropped a ball down the staircase, and as it slowly bounced down, my friend burst into tears and demanded to be taken home (again, makes sense if you've seen the movie).

I gotta' say, POLTERGEIST is now one of my all-time favorite movies, and I love to be scared. JAWS STILL friggin' scares me. I was at Cedar Beach on Long Island about a month ago and while gamboling in the surf, I still had this little voice in my head warning me that somewhere out there was a shark with my name on it.

Warren said...

A few years ago my son and his girlfriend (now his wife :) ) were in town for Charlotte's Heroes Con. One of the things I was looking for that year was a copy of a Japanese horror movie I had read about on the internet -- Ringu.

I found a vendor who had a VHS copy for $25 and spilled for it.

It was very much worth the investment. My son and his girl, my daughter, and myself stayed up late to watch it. (My wife had already gone to bed.)

Wow. It was sceeery. It might be my favorite horror movie of all time.

Anyway, for the rest of the weekend, any time the phone rang, those of us who had watched it would give each other anxious looks and my wife would have to answer it. She thought we were all crazy and wound up having to watch it to see why we were all so nervous about telephones.

When I was like eighteen or nineteen, I read the Shining in the middle of summer and I swear, when I looked up from the book toward my bedroom window, I expected it to be covered in snow.

And don't even ask about the "Dark, dark... crayon!"

todd said...

great stories, everybody!!

that's what i'm talkin' about!

thanks so much for sharing--i got a little creeped out just reading some of 'em!

Matt Wieringo said...

I think everyone who ever watched THE RING at home on DVD had the experience of being called on the phone right after the first time Naomi Watts watches the tape. It happened to me and Suzanne too. Scared the hell out of us.

When I was a kid, Mike was going to see the film TERROR TRAIN with some friends of his. By then he was driving so I must have been about 10 or 11. I kept trying to invite myself along but he just wanted to hang with his buds. I made a big stink and Mom made him take me which, understandably, made him mad. But, she pulled me aside and told me that if it gave me nightmares, I had to keep it to myself. She didn't want to hear about it. I poo-pooed it and said I was a big boy. That movie scared the s#!* out of me. I had nightmares for two weeks and couldn't say a word!

By the way, Happy Birthday, Todd!

renecarol said...

I've never been too big on swimming in the ocean either... Jaws probably helped with that. Though I honestly don't swim too much at all anymore. I was on the swim team in high school and college and spent a lot of time in the water. There's nothing like devoting your whole life to something to make you not want to do it when you no longer have to.