Oh, how I love to get into a horror book--REALLY into it...so much so that I'll sit a bit more still than I normally would, because if I move whatever is waiting around for a victim will know I'm there...
...and I have to wait a bit to go to the rest room because God knows what is waiting for me behind the shower curtain...
...and I definitely will NOT look out the window because there will be a man standing about halfway up my walkway just waiting for me to peek out--and he'll be smiling--and as soon as I notice him he will finish his walk to my front door...
I can scare myself more than almost any horror writer can. But I worship the few that can get under my skin.
I know it does not seem so from what I just wrote, but I am actually pretty hard to scare. I recently saw the movie Insidious in my sister's basement that was recently converted into a very cool movie viewing room, complete with old fashioned popcorn maker, comfy sofas, and a 75 inch drop down screen and projector. Next to me on the couch was my sister's stepson, all six foot three, 200 pounds of him, recently recruited to play college football on full scholarship. The lights were down and he remarked he was not very fond of the dark corner behind him, and I felt him move an almost imperceptible fraction of an inch closer to me.
He was not very good about tension in the film either. If he thought something was going to happen he would say, Ohhh, here we go....this is gonna be baaaaddd.... while curling into a bit of a ball and not quite fully looking at the screen. There was no mistaking our narrowing proximity on the couch, and when the music crescendoed and the monster appeared and we were startled, he screamed like Kim Kardashian at a shoe sale.
|Exact moment of the woman scream.|
Happily he is a good sport and laughed even though he was teased for the rest of the night. Apparently horror is not for him. Some are more easily scared than others.
So this got me thinking...do horror writers get scared of what they write?
Was Stephen King as scared writing about as I was scared reading about the dead boy with glowing eyes scratching patiently at the window, floating and asking let me iiinnn during Salem's Lot? What about the "other Mother" that Neil Gaiman wrote about in Coraline, with her sewn-on black button eyes. Did it creep him out for a while?
Stephen King admitted to being afraid of "Spider, snakes...and my mother-in-law," when he recently spoke at the University of Massachusetts, and Neil Gaiman doesn't seem to admit to being afraid of anything, except possibly repeating the sins of his parents on his own kids. (Have no fear, I am referring to an incident where he hoists his screaming son over his shoulder to bring him to sleep after refusing.) And he might also be afraid of falling...
Tim Burton of Edward Scissorhands fame admits to having a fear of chimps--interesting, since he directed a remake of Planet of the Apes. He said,
“You don’t know whether chimps are going to kill you or kiss you. They’re very open on some levels and much more evil in a certain way.” I also remember him saying it is not the horror movies that scare him, but real life. I can relate.
Anne Rice, who brought vamps into vogue with Interview with a Vampire, admits to fearing the dark: "I'm kind of scared of the dark. .... I've never seen a ghost. I've never seen an angel. I've never seen a vision of any kind. And I think I'm a little bit scared that I might."
Joe Hill, author of the shivery ghost story Heart Shaped Box says he is afraid of technology:
“AutoCorrect. AutoCorrect is the first phase in the war between the machines and mankind. I assume at some point in the near future, the President will send a text to Hu Jintao reading ‘Looking forward to our talks in Beijing soon’ and his iPhone will change the message to read ‘Looking forward to our tanks in Beijing soon.’ This will be followed by 30 minutes of frantic text messages, all over the planet, reading ‘omfg the world is ending amf!! @ least I dont have 2 go 2 work 2day lol!!’ Millions will die, but will still be unable to get out of their cellular-phone contracts. This is the stuff that keeps me up at 3 a.m.” (From Time Entertainment)
Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, claims to fear nothing, just like Goosebumps writer R.L. Stine.
- Edgar Allan Poe was afraid of being alone, and of course being buried alive.
- Bram Stoker had a desperate fear of intimacy.
- H.P. Lovecraft was forced to eat squid as a child.
- George A. Romero spent far too much time with his older relatives.
- and Tom Cruise may be afraid of being weak or ordinary. (I know he has nothing to do with horror but he kind of scares me...)
And just so you know--I am scared of only a few things, but I won't tell you what they are because I don't want to pay for it for the rest of my life...okay--I'll tell you one. I am a germaphobe...not for myself...for my kid. Oh, and I'm a little scared of flying...and dark, open water...
Now I would love to know what scares YOU.