You’ve probably already heard that wonderfully creepy urban tale about a teenage boy and girl making out in a car in some Lovers Lane in Anytown, USA, and how the boy starts telling the girl of the “Hook Murders” in the area, whereby amorous teens are being killed by an insane, escaped killer with a hook for a hand. Perhaps not the smartest move on the boy’s part, as his girlfriend gets all distracted by fear, going from initial anxiety to eventual near-hysteria, resisting his advances and demanding they leave that instant. Which he eventually does. He’s all bummed, they bicker on the way back, arrive at her place, she jumps out, slams the door…. and screams. He runs around to her side of the vehicle…. and sees what she sees: a single bloody hook dangling from the door handle.
Long before the interwebs dubbed them “epic fails”, I used to collect such stories in the dimly-lit, ironic laugh-a-thon I call my “mind”. Like the bank robber who wrote his holdup note on the back of an envelope that not only displayed his own name and address clearly and almost heartbreakingly, but also that of his parole officer, upper left corner, return address. Then… he left the envelope. Or a different guy—surely related via some spectacular yet hitherto undiscovered boneheadedness gene—who held up the teller with a rifle… but left the cork plugged proudly and prominently in the end of his painfully-obvious-to-everyone toy firearm.
Anyway, that’s a trip down Fail Boulevard. And highly amusing as that journey undoubtedly is, I want to explore another part of town: Success Street. Success. Even the word itself sounds like it tastes good (cf: succinct, succumb, succour, succulent). Yeah. Did I ever mention how much I love words? So much so I want to eat them. With bacon. And chocolate-dipped seahorse roe.
“Here is a list of terrible things,
The jaws of sharks, a vultures wings,
The rabid bite of the dogs of war,
The voice of one who went before,
But most of all the mirror’s gaze,
Which counts us out our numbered days.”
― Clive Barker, Days of Magic, Nights of War
I did promise a while back that I’d return to the theme of horror fiction, undoubtedly my favourite genre. As a result, this somewhat horror-related post will be lacking the lighthearted humour of my usual fare, so please skip this if you’re not in the mood for heavy and ponderous (you can’t even imagine how much I wanted to add a “LOL” at the end of that sentence). Continue reading “The Mirror’s Gaze”
As anyone connected to the horror genre can tell you, we get more than our fair share of questions that boil down to “why do you read/write that stuff?” along with the accompanying nervous sidelong looks and wrinkled nose gestures. And, put on the spot, I’ve always found it difficult to give a reasoned answer, settling for either the glib (“because I’m more twisted than a yoga mom wrestling with a Slinky in a pretzel machine”) or the cop-out (a bewildered shrug). So when Sue Palmer from Book Junkies did me the recent kindness of asking me a far more nuanced and generously-phrased version of that question, I snapped her hand off and wrote down some thoughts. Only, I didn’t actually snap her hand off. That’s a metaphor, thankfully. Here are those thoughts, and I think they come closest to capturing what it is about the genre that attracts me, repels me, keeps me coming back as a reader, writer and even viewer. Well, all this and the euphoric thrill of the carnival ride, too; let’s not forget that. Continue reading “Catharsis or Carnival?”