It’s time to walk into the shadows and confront this topic, especially with Halloween around the corner when all things spooky shall be unleashed upon us. Besides, Iseult Murphy dared confront her five worst fears, why can’t I? What are the five things that scare me?
1. Torture: If a character is being chained up to something and mercilessly whipped, burned, crushed, whatever it may be, I very well may shudder and cover my eyes. One who is being tortured is in ultimate despair. Long moments of agony followed by death; how can it get worse than that? My deep-seated horror for torture started when I was an eleven year old kid. The history channel depicted the torture rack during a show focused on torture devices of the Medieval period. Seeing that poor guy gasp and moan as his bones cracked and blood oozed from his wrists stunned me. Worst of all, I couldn’t find the remote; it had fallen behind the couch, so I had to watch the full thing. Nothing horrifies me more…
2. … except for maybe demonic possession. Just hearing the word makes me feel sullied. I experienced the demonically possessed monster for the first time as a teenager, watching the classic horror film The Exorcist. For a week after seeing that movie, I continually imagined Regan in her possessed form hobbling over to my bedside to stare down at me with that craggy, glowering face, growling obscenities and well…pea soup anyone? (Sidenote: wouldn’t that be a great Halloween Party gimmick? A Lifesize Possessed Regan headpiece set up before a delicious bowl of pea soup for party goers to dish up from. Get it? It looks like she vomited into the bowl. I guess you’re not as monstrous as me).
3. Dark Mysterious Caves: Lovecraft once said our greatest fear is the fear of the unknown, and nothing represents that better than a dark, mysterious cave. Anything could be in there. How about an enormous snake that will crush your bones and swallow you whole? Flesh eating bacterias, swarms of rats, and the list could go on. Your greatest fears are represented by the dark, mysterious cave. I shiver at all the terrible possibilities.
4. Spiders. Eek! Yes, you did just hear me shriek. Just this moment at mentioning their name it feels they’re clambering all over me. All those beady eyes, eight long legs. Some of them grow to the size of frigging hairy dinner plates. And some of them…if they bite you…I think I’ll avoid talking about it.
5. Witches. This is a topic that used to not scare me at all. Maybe it’s because every gal I went to school or worked with dressed up all cute with the pointed hat and dark eyeliner during Halloween, and it all just seemed so commonplace. Then I saw the 2015 movie The Witch. So much of the creepy factor was the atmospherics of the movie, all that unknown forest surrounding them, and gradually, the evil influence slips into that family like a dangerous snake sneaking in on a small nest of eggs. The eeriest part for me was the ending of the movie. All of those women chanting some alien language as they float in the air above the fire. Is Thomasin truly liberated in this initiation with the other witches, or is she just trapping herself into worse captivity? It was the strange mixture of pleasure and rueful pain wincing on Thomasin’s face at the end of the movie that made me ask this question, and this was also what gave me the deepest chill. She was in possession, not liberated. Witches are just another captive of the evil one. Disturbing indeed.
Now, do you wish to walk into the stirring shadows with me. Take my hand. What scares you?