Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Scariest Place on Earth

One of my favorite things about Halloween is trying to find ways to scare myself silly. The bad news is that I don't scare easily, so the bar is really high on the terrifying front.

I generally find that my imagination is way worse than anything a movie can show me. It's usually in the hours after a scary movie that I'm actually frightened enough to check the doors and windows, not during the movie itself. Like when I watched Dawn of the Dead the other night.
Zombies Eat Ur Brainz
I was totally fine through all the blood and limb eating and accidental chainsaw attacks. But when the movie was over, my mind started to wander. I started making my own plans for the looming zombie-pocalypse. (And really wishing my car was full of gas and parked in the garage, so I could get to it without venturing outside.)

Most "scary" movies affect me that way. The only times I can remember being truly scared during a movie were the remake of Cape Fear (which I watched with my best friend in high school, and I think her fear was contagious)...
Bobby DeNiro is pretty darn scary.
...and Signs (but the fear vanished when we finally got to see the aliens, because M. Night Shyamalan's vision of scary is not mine).
Hello, Mr. Alien
A book, though... that's a whole different story. Books have the ability to scare me like nothing else, simply because a book exists entirely in my imagination. The most terrified I've even been was when I read And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie.
Even the cover is scary!
I made the mistake of reading this when I was home alone in the two bedroom apartment I shared with three other employees at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. Halfway through the book I literally had to get up to make sure all the doors and windows where locked and that all the closets and bathrooms were empty. I think what makes this book so frightening is that there doesn't seem to be an explanation for how everyone keeps dying. (And boy do they keep dying.) Even my imagination couldn't guess the answer. Doesn't get much scarier than that.

The bottom line is that there is no place scarier than your imagination (okay, maybe Tim Burton's imagination) and if you want to frighten yourself silly this Halloween, then head to the nearest bookstore or library and find a book that will truly terrify you.

Today there are two audience participation questions.

  1. Which scare you more, books or movies?
  2. What book would you recommend for fright night reading?




TinaFerraro said...

I think movies scare me most...and I still shudder when I think of Alfred Hitchcock's THE BIRDS!

Wendy Toliver said...

I think movies too ...

stephhale said...

The Exorist pretty much scarred me for life. :)

nymfaux said...

oooh! Interesting perspective--I definitely agree!!!

Most of the time, if I'm watching a movie, and it starts to get too scary, I can just touch the armrest or something, to pull myself back, but it's definitely on the drive home, the next elevator, or lying awake at night that my imagination starts to run wild...

On the other hand, I can never guess the endings to Agatha Christie.

My top scary books are:
Misery by Stephen King
The Girl in the Box by Ouida Sebestyen
Guilt By Association by Susan R. Sloan

The second two really got in my head, and even though I haven't read them in this century, I can still envision them as clearly as when I first read them.

ditto for Stephen King, but that one is more than just head games, definite violence and gore going on!

Jessica said...

I'm with you...the books take me to a far scarier place. Often with movies I just end up going, oh., when I finally see whatever it is that the suspense has been building to, but with a book, there is no cap on my imagination...and it has taken me to some pretty scary places!

Anonymous said...

Movies are waaaaaay worse for me! I think its because it's right there in living color so it's as graphic as it wants to be!

Signs scared me soooo bad. I couldn't sleep!