Posts Tagged ‘zombie’

The boneyard

In the Thompson graveyard...

Thanks to horror movies, I avoid cornfields, distrust clowns, and only hang out with people who run slower than me (sometimes they can be really hard to find. Oh, Agnes and the girls at the Senior Center say “Hi“).

Amidst the dismembered body parts, demon-possessed kids‘ toys, and screaming co-eds whose wardrobes apparently consist only of tank tops and shoes they can’t run in, good horror flicks can provide solid, practical advice that you won’t get anywhere else. A few examples…

Looking for a vacation hideaway? Secluded cabins built over Indian burial grounds are never a good deal, no matter how great the price or the view.

Want to know if the hockey-mask-wearing, knife-wielding psycho on your front lawn is really dead? Kick him in the nads. If he curls up in a fetal position and screams, he’s still alive.

Need to find a bathroom on an unfamiliar road in the middle of the night? Avoid deserted amusement parks, drive-ins, gas stations, freak shows, wax museums and funeral homes. Pull over to the side of the road, lean your back against the car, and just go. But stay away from the cornfield.

Packing for a weekend at a rundown summer camp where 19 people have been murdered? Throw in an ax, good running shoes, and a flashlight. Leave the stilettos, Ouija board, and bag of pot at home.

Confronted by zombies and can’t decide whether to hide or run? Make a break for it. They’re the walking dead, not the sprinting dead, so odds are good they can’t catch you. If you hide, they’ll wait for you forever because let’s face it – they’ve got nothing but time to kill.

I’d love to share more, tricksters, but the “Horror Fest” marathon is starting soon and I need to get to class. Happy Halloween!

I’ve long been a reader of stories that scare the hell out of people.  My first horror story was Robert Lory’s “The Beat of Leather Wings”. It had me up all night with the lights on at the age of nine.  It was one of a number of equally scream-inducing short stories in a fantastic 1975 paperback titled “Boris Karloff Presents More Tales of the Frightened” which I checked out one fateful Friday afternoon from the school library. Now, what a book like that was doing in a Catholic elementary school library I have no idea but to the imaginative librarian who decided it belonged on those shelves, sir or madam, whoever you are – I salute you.

From then on, if a book had dismembered limbs, ghostly figures, or an unusually large amount of blood on the cover, I read it. If the title included the words “vampire”, “zombie”, “ghost” or “unholy terror”, it was on my top ten list. Edgar Allan Poe, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, John Saul, Peter Straub, Richard Matheson – my go-to team. 

My fascination with horror stories isn’t based entirely on how MUCH they scare me but more HOW they scare me.  A horror writer takes all the familiar elements of a story – setting, characters, mood, dialogue, plot – and twists and slashes and dumps them in a cauldron, stokes up the brimstone and brings them to a boil. Finding the right ingredients for a blood-curdling brew can be a challenge these days when reality is sometimes scarier than anything a King or a Poe or a Matheson could scream up.  

I’m working on a short horror story myself these days, what I hope will end up to be a delightfully dark little tale called “Jingle”.  While the cauldron’s more on simmer than boil at the moment, now might be the time for my group of readers to catch a few extra Z’s.  Because hopefully after they read it, the lights will be burning all night long.