1. What's the scariest movie you've ever seen?
I have never been good with horror movies (with the exception of the Evil Dead series, which is more silly than actually horrifying), so I’ve seen very few of them. I would have to say that The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 was the absolute goriest move I ever saw, and I only saw parts of it while wandering back and forth through various rooms at a high school party. I remember, despite being tipsy, and upset because I had blurted out something embarrassing to a friend I had an unrealized crush on (who would later drop the friendship because she thought I was interested in her boyfriend, ironically) and my best friend and her boyfriend wouldn’t stop making out and drive me home already, that I watched a few minutes of the movie as it played on a tv and thought to myself “how could anyone willingly watch something this disgusting, macabre and exploitative, much less enjoy it? I have got to re-evaluate my friends.”
As for the one that actually scared me the most, however, I’d have to say it was The Blair Witch Project. Yes, the principals were annoying and stupid, but that only struck me as realistic, having gone to college with hundreds of narcissistic film students just like them. It was the way suspense was built, with unseen threats but freaky sounds in the distance – which were somehow very convincing on the local theatre’s sound system – that got me. I literally had trouble sleeping without a light on for six months after that thing. Yeesh.
2. What was your favorite Halloween Costume from childhood?
I only vaguely remember three, one of which I got mugged in, so that one’s right out. I’d have to say the lion costume my sister sewed for me. It was like lion-coloured footy pajamas with flip-over paws, a stuffed tail and a cap that snapped under the chin bearing a yarn mane and feline ears. Drawn-on whiskers, and I was ready to go. Damn, I loved that thing! Oh, sure, my stepsister may have won the elementary school costume contest with the realistic, light-up R2D2 get-up her brother made her, but she couldn’t hear, sit, or climb stairs in hers. Mine, on the other hand served as a frequent play costume-cum-pajamas for years until I wore it down to shreds.
3. If you had an unlimited budget, what would your Fantasy Costume be for this Halloween?
A much skinnier, more tan, well- travelled-and-rested version of me. In a cape.
I’m honestly not sure. I think I did go a couple times after the candy-mugging incident. I think 11 or 12 years old was my cut-off date.
5. What's your favorite Halloween Candy?
Well, you’ll be able to tell when I re-post my annual candy list, but I’d have to say Reese’s PB Cups are my favourite candy to get on Halloween, but candy corns are, of course, the most ideally Halloween-specific.
6. Tell us about a scary nightmare you had.
Oh, Lord, I have them frequently and they are doozies. There are a couple I can remember from childhood that still upset me. There was the one where I made a mis-step while climbing a ranger’s station and broke the stairs, plummeting me, my family and everyone on it to their deaths, and it was ALL MY FAULT. Yes, this was during my parents’ divorce. Subtle, eh?
Then there was the one where I dreamed I stood up in my crib and called my parents, and they came in and had NO FEET. Just… stumps. They acted like everything was normal, which made it somehow even creepier. And yes, I still remember it, and I was still in the crib at the time.
During my teenage years I had a really gross one where I looked in the mirror and my entire face was one giant, suppurating whitehead. So I took both hands an POPPED IT!
That’s a really good question. I don’t really believe in malevolent supernatural entities, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get freaked right the fuck out in creepy situations. Or just when it’s dark, actually.
Probably at this point one of my biggest fears regarding the unknowns of life would be classified as “natural” or “scientific,” rather than supernatural. It’s a fear that we really are just governed by bio-chemical-electrical reactions in our brains, and therefore we have no independent being or “spirit,” so death is just the sudden end of everything – boom. I mean, sure, the idea of being cognizant but trapped in your rotting body is worse, but I just can’t buy that one. Either we go on in some way, or we don’t. I’d rather go on, thank you.
8. What is your Creepy-Crawlie Fear?
Probably that horrifying, mind-controlling leechy thing that crawled into Chekhov’s ear in Wrath of Khan. I mean, now it looks cheesy, but when you’re 11 years old that is the worst thing ever.
Actually, I find most of the greater tropical parasites nauseating, even though I’ve already lived through the infamous larvae in my head incident. We can just start with the old leech in the eye socket and move on through the most wretched and nightmarish parasitic afflictions like roundworms and elephantiasis. Oh, and I hope you didn’t click on those links, because you reeeally don’t want to go there.
It’s happened more than once to me, but here’s the most classic, Halloween-y tale:
When I was a kid, my stepfather had a farm in upstate NY. It had once belonged to a guy called “Old Man Stone,” and there were actually very old photo albums around the place that had been his. Legend had it that he’d died falling out of a tree in the orchard (who knows where this story came from) and still haunted the place.
The farm was a rickety old place in an isolated area, so it could get pretty dark and scary at night. My stepbrother and sisters swore up and down that they had all witnessed Old Man Stone’s ghost walking up the driveway and then disappearing into thin air one night, and that the youngest sister had once woke up to find a figure staring at her that then melted into the wall. As a younger child this spooked me enough that I was very jumpy at night, and always had to have some light on. I would dash to the bathroom and back, never look in mirrors or darkened rooms, etc. However, as I got older, I began to suspect that the stepsibs had been putting me on because they didn’t much fancy having a new kid around the house, along with the fact that I was younger than any of them and thus vulnerable.
Fast forward until I’m in my mid teens or so. By this time, our trips up to the farm rarely included much of the fam, as most everybody else was in college or beyond. I was up there with my mom and stepdad only. Although sometimes the deep, quiet dark of the country still made me a little edgy, I didn’t really believe in the ghost stories, anymore. I went to bed upstairs by myself without event, all lights off.
It was the middle of the night when I suddenly woke from a dreamless sleep and sat straight up. I was surprised to find myself awake and sitting, as this never happened, and there seemed to be no sounds that might wake me. I wasn’t disturbed, only puzzled, as I found myself turning to look out the window. There was a small bit of moonlight, but it was dim behind clouds. Still, there, in the vineyard, I could see someone, apparently all dressed in white, walking through the rows of grapevines.
I thought this was odd. It was a little disturbing, as I couldn’t imagine who would be wandering our vineyard, miles from any town, in the wee hours. I watched this person, seemingly a male, moving smoothly through a row for a minute or two and debated waking my stepfather to see who was trespassing, but suddenly feeling very sleepy again, I figured it was probably just a hunter cutting through, and no use anyone startling anyone else and causing trouble in the middle of the night. Whoever it was, he seemed to be on his way to the road, so better to let him go than invite any confrontation. With that, I pretty much flopped back on the bed and fell dead asleep.
I’m pretty sure that the next morning, at breakfast, I mentioned seeing someone in the vineyard the night before, but either they were thinking about something else or my mother and stepfather were not perturbed by it. I shrugged it off, too, but later in the day I decided to take a little walk to the orchard, and I noticed something interesting. As I passed by the vineyard, it suddenly dawned on me that the rows were completely overgrown with weeds and vines. Indeed, we hadn’t done any harvesting or pruning for years, perhaps, at that point, and the last time we did I remembered having to hack through the rows with large clippers and rakes, progressing only a step or two at a time before being completed engulfed and thwarted by thorns and tangles. If anything, the vineyard was worse this time than it was then.
And the person I had seen moving through there was striding at a good pace. With no clippers, protection or scythe. Which was… impossible. If you HAD A BODY.
Old Man Stone, I presume.
Seeing as I already have, I might, if the conditions were right. That is, I’d have to have someone trustworthy with me and access to lights, I think.
11. Are you a traditionalist (just a face) Jack O'Lantern Carver, or do you get really creative with your pumpkins?
I like to get creative. I used to do two every year: a small cat-faced one and something else, usually vaguely vampirish. Now I’m less exacting and only do one, but I like to make it a little more interesting than some triangles and a smile. I’ve never used one of those stencils, though I’ve thought about it. They make cool pumpkins, but it seems a little like cheating, if that’s the only one you’re going to carve, IMHO.
12. How much do you decorate your home for Halloween?
We don’t really. We’re on the top floor of a 4 & ½ story building, so no-one could see it, if we did. We do put out our lit jack-o-lanterns in the window or on the stoop, though.
13. What do you want on your Tombstone?
I hope to be freeze-dried and used as fertilizer or cremated and scattered, so unless you mean the frozen pizza, nothin’.
Update: It turns out this meme was started by Morgen. Thanks for the Halloweeny fun!