Thursday, October 24, 2013

An early BOO.

By Gayle Carline
Mystery Author and Big Scaredy Cat

Know what's next Thursday? Huh? Huh? Do you?

Yep. Halloween.

I don't read horror, and I don't watch horror, yet I love this holiday. At heart, I suppose I'm a big wimp and love the faux-scariness of Halloween. Carving pumpkins, wearing costumes, re-runs of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

And let's not forget the chocolate. Mmm...

When I do watch horror movies, I watch the old horror movies. My favorite is Cat People, from 1942. I love it because it's all about denial and dread. Everyone denies that there could be a panther on the loose, a panther who is really a young woman whose sexual desire manifests itself as a murderous beast. But we never see the beast. We only witness the dread of the people being stalked by it.

Here's just one of those scenes:

How many of us (especially us gals) have walked somewhere, alone, in the dark, and tried to keep the hair from prickling at the back of our neck?

I'd love to throw down a little challenge to the writers out there. This scene is a frightening visual... could any of you write it well enough to make me lock the doors and turn on the lights after I've read it?

Less than two minutes' film. One paragraph. Ready-set-go.


  1. Too much work for me, Gayle. But I am going to try and find Cat People!

  2. Interesting how easily we can be scared by what we cannot see. I too am not a fan of horror. The movie that scared the willies out of me, and made me swear off horror as an entertainment option, was the 1931 Dracula with Bela Lugosi. Twelve years old, after midnight, only one awake in a dark room that movie gave me a physical dread of having to walk to the end of the hall to go to bed. Funny thing is, after 30 years of avoiding horror movies and books, when I first started audiobook narrating I got picked to do a whole string of horror novels. Have three more lined up this month. Have I got over my dread? No...I just keep a gun with silver bullets, a stake and some garlic in the recording booth.

    As for you challenge... how about what follows?

    1. Bela scared the willies out of me, too. It IS what we can't see, isn't it? I'm an adult now, nearly a crone, age-wise, yet I still have this feeling, when I'm taking out the trash at night. There is a cold, clawing hand out there, reaching for my shoulder.

  3. Fear is not a feeling, it’s an act of your will. Or shall I say, an act of my will. I am the shadow of your terror. My breath, the chill that makes you pull the blanket tight on a warm night. My eyes, the reason you draw the curtains at night. My feet, the sound outside your bedroom door. I am the nightmare shape that flits across your sleep drunk vision as you quiver in your bed, begging that heaven render you invisible. There is no escape. I am in your head. I am the eater of souls.

    1. Well, now that I've written that I probably won't sleep tonight.

    2. Okay, I'm sleeping with the lights on tonight, Basil.


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