Monday, October 28, 2013

A Few of My Favorite Spooky Things

I'm gearing up for Halloween, and so I'm thinking about scary movies, books, and costumes. I love being scared. As a kid, my mother let me read and watch quite a few things that I'm surprised she allowed (not that I'm complaining, mind you). I read Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and R.L. Stine and Bunnicula.

As a kid, I ate up R.L. Stine, and I loved Bunnicula. Those books offered just the right amount of fear. But I also read Stephen King at a young age. One of my first King books was The Shining. It scared the poop out of me, and I loved every minute of it. Here was this story about a kid (reading it at that age, I focused on Danny's story rather than Jack's) who was stuck on a mountain with a crazy parent and the devil. Talk about a rough childhood! The sequel, Doctor Sleep, is sitting on my Nook, waiting to be read.

There's an animated movie that, on the outside, looks like it should be a little kids' movie, but in reality, it's actually quite terrifying, and that movie is Watership Down. When I was young, my family had what my dad liked to call a 'fishing camp.' It amounted to a mobile home sitting on a narrow piece of land that backed up to a wide arroyo on one side (this arroyo was large enough for barges and their loads to easily travel). On the other side of the road was a wildlife refuge. Quite a few people owned property there, but it still felt like a desolate place. Add to that the fact that we didn't have a phone, and it felt quite isolated.

So one weekend, while my parents are outside grilling or doing yard work, or something along those lines, I stayed inside to watch a cartoon on TV. That cartoon happened to be Watership Down. Now, I had a pet bunny as a kid. I was (and am) partial to bunnies. Not too many minutes into the movie, one of the rabbits has a disturbing vision. There's blood. Lots of it. And the rest of the movie isn't all that light and fluffy. So I sat there, mesmerized and more than a little horrified, watching what my mother thought was a nice cartoon. Scary as that movie was, it didn't deter me from reading the book years later.

Then there were the horror movies of the 80's that shaped my twisted psyche view on movies and facing fear: A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, Amityville, The Exorcist, The Omen, Friday the 13th. Even horror movies before I was born shaped my life just a wee bit. My mother's name was Rosemary, and so during her visits to the obstetrician when she was pregnant with me, he liked to ask her, "So how's Rosemary's baby?" 

What are some of the books and movies that have sent pleasant chills down your spine?

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