I had very vivid memories of Halloween and spookiness from when I was a kid.
The last night before I got my own room as a little girl, I recall lying in bed wide awake because I’d just learned about ghosts. It was particularly frightening because I believed ghosts came out on Halloween and the very next night I had to sleep all by myself in my new room.
The night after I watched Dracula for the first time, I envisioned bats fluttering in the shadowy corners of my room.
In fifth grade, when I went to my first spook house, my best friend at the time and I ran screaming right into a wall.
When I was fifteen, I went as a vampire to a different spook house and another friend nearly strangled me with my own cape because she was terrified of the werewolves we had to walk past.
Once I went on a double date with my brother to see the movie They. My date was my current husband. My husband and I spent most of the movie hiding beneath my jacket because the movie freaked us out so much. Although, for all I know, I was the only one scared out of my mind and my future husband was just being nice or not wanting his date to be hidden from sight the whole movie.
I had to be careful of what I read or watched because I scared easily. Actually, I still scare easily. But there is some horror I do enjoy despite the fear. Here are some of my favorites:
Dracula, the 1931 version starring Bela Lugosi. The movie has such style and is brilliant about implication. It was the first horror movie I watched all the way through and forms my platonic ideal of a vampire.
Dracula by Bram Stoker. I had such fun reading this book. Coupled with the 1931 movie, it formed in my mind how vampires ought to be. Of course, this was beofre Buffy and Spike, who will always be an awesome vampire.
Nearly anything by Edgar Allan Poe. Yes, I know this may be a little stereotypical, but Poe has such dark beauty in his language.
Signs starring Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, and Rory Culkin. Normally, I don’t get thrilled about most horror movies. Like I said, I hide under jackets and such. But this one was a lot of fun, even if it did keep me jumping at noises for three nights in a row.
Sleepy Hollow starring Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci. This one scared me half to death, especially as my guy friends decided it would be loads of fun to drive home with me down a creepy, wooded, winding road with the windows down after midnight. For that, it will ever stand out in my mind.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Even though horror easily freaks me out, it’s an element I enjoy in my fiction. Over the years, horror has slipped more and more into fantasy and science fiction, which allows me to get a good taste of it without having to remain in a state of constant paranoia about what might be under the bed.
What are some of your favorite horror movies or stories?