Friday, October 31, 2008

Horror Meme

Well, what else would I give you for my favorite holiday? A few years ago, we had the Halloween meme, which I really loved. Now, I’ve decided to do a horror meme. Here are just a few horror-related questions and answers for those of you who might enjoy a little creepiness from time-to-time.

1. What’s the best (a.k.a. scene that scared the crap out of you) scene in a horror movie?

The bathtub scene in The Shining. But let’s face it: that whole movie scared the crap out of me.

2. Who hangs out in the scary dark corners of your basement (nobody, I know, but if someone did)?

Michael Myers from the Halloween movies (or any scary, violent, insane person who has decided my basement is the best place to hide). I’m far more afraid of real killers – you know, those real killers who keep coming back to life when you’re sure they absolutely, positively must be dead by now -- than I am of mythical ones. However, I’ve been known to worry about zombies in the garage after watching movies like Carnival of Souls when I’m all alone (don’t ask me why I choose to watch such movies when I’m all alone. By now, you should know I’m a masochist).

3.Who writes/wrote the best ghost stories?

M.R. James is the Master. His hauntings are just too cool for words. A haunted mezzotint? A hotel room #13 that comes and goes? A haunted doll house? Really, does it get any better than that? Then again, I happen to be reading M.R. James at the moment. If I were reading Edith Wharton’s ghost stories, which I also happen to love, I’d probably be raving about her. And then there’s Algernon Blackwood whom I haven’t read in a while…

4. What was the last book you read that made you want to check all the locks on your doors?

Despite the fact that it’s that time of year when I am focused on reading books with a supernatural element, I haven’t read anything recently that’s truly scared me (except the stuff Sarah Palin says) all that much. The beginning of Piercing the Darkness kind of got me a little with the whole notion of a reporter disappearing while investigating the American vampire scene, but that book has become more fascinating (often in its repulsiveness and because I find it so hard to believe so much of it) than terrifying. Katherine Ramsland's book about ghosts had me more scared than this one. I’ve got Ramsey Campbell’s The Overnight lined up for November, though, which Bob is convinced will do the trick, so we’ll see. He also wanted me to read Ghost Story, another one he thought would do the trick, but that book has disappeared on me again, just like it did last year at this time when I was only about a quarter of the way into it (I will write a post about that soon. I’m convinced my copy of that book is haunted).

5. Have you ever been spooked while listening to music?

Yes. My first year in college, a friend of mine and I were in my dorm room listening to Tubular Bells. I’d never listened to the whole album and was only familiar with the opening theme that was in the movie The Exorcist. By the time we were done listening to it, he and I had convinced ourselves that the whole album was possessed. I’d never known I could be so scared by music. I’ve never listened to the whole thing since and don’t really remember what it was about it that I found so scary. I do remember that we both felt that the part used for The Exorcist was completely tame and not scary at all compared to so much of the rest of it.

6.If you had to be the victim of a mythical monster, who would it be?

A vampire. I mean, werewolves maul you to death. Zombies eat you. Ghosts are completely unpredictable as to what they might do. But vampires? All they do is give you a little, barely noticeable, bite on the neck. Some might even call it a hickey. (Of course, depending on what you read, that bite might be very, very painful, but I choose to imagine my vampire would be like those in the original Dracula, where pain didn’t seem to be the issue.)

7. Were you afraid of the dark as a child?

Are you kidding? I think I slept with a night light till I was about eighteen years old. However, I always liked scary stories and scary movies. (See? I’ve been a masochist all my life.)

8. What do you most like in a good horror story?

Fear without gore. A door that opens on its own is much more likely to get me diving under the covers than a chainsaw hacking bloody body parts all over the place. I also want ambiguity and subtlety. I want to be left wondering what really happened and letting my imagination fill in the gaps. I don’t like it when the author hits me over the head with “this is [the devil, a demon, a monster, etc.],” which so many do. Many a great story is ruined when the author resorts to this in the end (Stephen King does that a lot, and Kingsley Amis’s The Green Man also springs to mind as a prime example. That book gave me goose bumps, and then it just fell apart with its over-the-top ending. Mind you, it’s still worth reading, if you haven’t read it).

That’s it. You’re tagged for this one if:

1. You love M.R. James

2. You’ve seen The Shining, and it scared the crap out of you

3. You would rather be a vampire’s victim than a werewolf’s victim

And now I’m off to do some Halloween Haunting.


Anonymous said...

MR James is the best! I just re-read my big fat Complete Ghost Stories a few months ago, and you know it's a good ghost story when it creeps you out on a reread. The one with the tree full of giant poisionous spiders is my favorite.

Emily Barton said...

BOB, oh yes, the ash tree full of spiders! Wonderful stuff. You realize, of course, you now have to do this meme.

Anonymous said...

I never read anything that scares me - isn't that wimpish? But I have enough trouble keeping my imagination quiet as it is. My PhD supervisor used to always be heading off cheerfully to some movie entitled something like 'Scream' and I asked her how she could bear it. She said she was much more afraid of doing something foolish in front of the students and was therefore quite prepared to take her chances with the bogeyman. I loved the answer, but could never manage to feel the same.

Watson Woodworth said...

I have been totally spooked while listening to music.
"See Emily Play" by Pink Floyd after waking in the middle of the night.
Months later "She's So Heavy" by The Beatles, same thing.

Emily Barton said...

Litlove, you know, I think I'm much more like your PhD supervisor. I'm far more afraid of embarrassing myself in front of others than I am of monsters and ghosts (would hate to see what I might do if confronted with a monster in front of others, though).

Nigel, actually, there's quite a lot of Pink Floyd that could be pretty spooky in the right circumstances, no?