Sunday, October 16, 2016


Drudge, you might have heard of him, posted an insignificant item about a Halloween yard display featuring a zombie baby that riles the neighbors. You can see why.

I made it small here so that you don't have nightmares. 

It's a very good display so far as zombies go. Now, how in the world have we become so infatuated with zombies these last eight years? Oh. Nevermind. They are the worst. The absolute worst. It's Halloween makeup for incompetent dopes who cannot even create proper monster makeup for Halloween. Zombies are for makeup artists with zero imagination who can only squeeze goo out of a tube and rip up old clothing, and for actors whose range goes like this: 

from walking slowly and awkwardly<------> to walking slowly and awkwardly. 

The worst! But there you go, and here we are. It's the best we can do collectively. I hate it. And I hate all the zombie related television shows. And I hate the Hunger Games, with the same political analog as zombies. 

You know, I was in Mexico a couple of times during this period of Día de los Muertos, and noticed over time their celebration is taking on aspects of our version of Halloween even as our version develops into a holiday commercialized for adults. It's odd. Their version is distinctly an acceptance of death as part of life. They make little shrines in their homes for their departed. They make a holiday of visiting their ancestor's graves and include them in their celebration. The local cemeteries are packed with visitors cleaning up the graves and spending the whole day there, having a picnic, with straight up festival on the street going on immediately outside of them. It's altogether wholesome. But the last time I walked around town I noticed a difference, they seemed to be adopting our ways but with their irrepressible and unique charming humor. They'd put up small white wooden crosses in their tiny front yards with crudely spelled descriptions of how the imaginary occupant died. 

"Here lies Miguel, loved birds and beer, wanted to fly," 

"Here lies Pedro, bought a fast car but did not go very far."

"Here lies Juan, lion tamer, but was not very good." 

"Here lies Alejandro, top parachute jumper, until he mistook his laundry." 

That sort of thing. They're all handmade. Uh-oh. Oh no. Now I'm sad. I suddenly accidentally recall a young man in our group that first time. I haven't thought of this in decades. His name will spring to mind in a minute. David! He was fascinated with the little wooden comical death-relatd figurines that he saw firsthand on that trip. His first exposure. He bought a few figurines and started a collection. Over the next few years he collected a dozen or so. I did not know at the time he had adopted the Mexican way of facing his own imminent death.

"Here lies David, dead from AIDS." And there is nothing amusing about it. 

I recall David telling me before he died, "You know, Bo, the thing that just flat pisses me off about dying this young is that I won't get to see my thirtieth birthday." He was one of the most naturally creative individuals I ever encountered. Honestly, his whole life was art. And I mean it. In his last year I had my own apartment but was staying at my parents house for awhile as refuge. Then one day Mum asked me, "Do you think this house is clean enough?" I looked around and said, "No." She asked me what I thought was wrong with it. Now, this is very odd right there. She's come way out of character. So I told her, "There's a little spider web up there in the corner, and the baseboards have dust on them." That's all. The next moment she put a t-shirt on a broom and dust-mopped away the spider web and ran cloth over the baseboards. And I'm sitting there thinking, "What got into this woman, is she drugged, or what?" She NEVER did anything like that. The next day, bingbong, someone's at the front door. James jumps up to answer the door but Mum said, "Sit down! Let Bo get it." And I'm thinking, "WTF? Now she's directing who answers the door!" He was closer. She made me get up, pass them, and answer the door. She's not making any sense. I get up and answer the door and standing there are some 15 people holding lawn chairs. All my friends. The very people I'm escaping. She invited my friends out to the foothills to celebrate my birthday. Suddenly all my friends are crawling all over the whole house checking out everything, digging into everything, looking at pictures, examining my bedroom, and, boom, there goes my sanctuary. They needn't have brought chairs because that was the period Dad had the cottonwood trees cut and the whole back yard had giant logs all over the place, and I mean big fat round logs, so there was built in seating all over randomly. I'm recalling all this because David had a prior job as cake decorator for a boutique bakery. He baked a carrot cake in a bread pan and decorated it pinpoint elaborately as a wedding cake with swags of icing as they do. It was simply the most extraordinary tiny cake I've ever seen. A cake etude, of sorts. And he just whipped it out. For me. That was David's style of creativity. His handwritten card was in beautiful and masterful calligraphy such as you never see anyone do anymore. Still, like his collection of Día de los Muertos figures the card had a subtle allusion to death, you might say a fixation. You'll recognize what he wrote in the most beautiful handwriting ever and by using a proper calligraphic ink cartridge pen.

So that was is David. 

How did I get here? I was talking about gross out Halloween zombies. 

The story linked by Drudge is not so bad, to be expected after all, with all the fixation on zombies as our country depletes energetically, imaginatively, and politically dies in place, but the comments to the story are dreadful, themselves the work of walking dead. And all typically low. You could scrape an empty barrel of waste sludge and contrive comments such as posted to this article. Go on, read them, so you can be discouraged with humanity too. Naturally, they become political right off, "Scarier, would be a display of Hillary Clinton." and "Undoubtedly a liberal complainer." and "They ought to do an abortion display then their liberal complaining neighbors wouldn't object." And the like. 

But worse, from my point of view, are the reactions to the woman who protects her six year old son from that type of thing. In comments she objected to the zombie display too. Inappropriate for children. 

As parent, would you? 

Okay, here we are. This is what I'm getting at. Here comes my whole point. All that up there was prelude.

I am a horror pussy and always was. 

There. I said it. 

As a child I did not understand it. Very young I saw Twilight Zone episode on t.v. and could not comprehend any of it. Even Westerns horrified me. My dad was not part of this scene. He was off somewhere separated from us. I recall my mum explaining all the things that I'm seeing are actors. Now this was my real question at four, "Why do actors take the jobs when they know that they'e going to be killed? If they're paid, they'll be dead and can't spend it." Mum said, "They're ACTING! They're pretending. It's not real." 


Goddamnit, I was a dumb little kid.

But every little thing still scared the piss out of me. I really did need protecting. I couldn't handle anything. Even the Wizard of Oz. The witch and her monkeys scared the living shit out of me. And I mean it. What a horrible movie. I learned later when the movie was tested a lot of the witch scenes were cut because she terrified the little kids too much. That would be me. She still terrified me even with reduced terror. She's so mean!

Who would think that's appropriate for children? GAWL!

The commenters to the zombie piece are raising a bunch of harsh little kids. They report their little kids find all that stuff funny. One said his little boy kept checking on the progress of the film Aliens for the part where the alien burst out of the guy's chest. He plunks down directly in front of the television fascinated with the best part.

Man, oh man. Not me. Not at that age. 

At Benton AFB, a radar site that I talked about before, a place tippy top of a mountain in remote Pennsylvania, not so far from Scranton but still, nothing around but primal forest. I must show you again because location is everything. I can see in the old photo the house where we lived. I recall our first day. It was fascinating. The white roofs on left are the houses, and the street is a curved slope, perfectly flat. The black roofs are all the functions of the base, Officers club, NCO club, Airman's club, everything is hierarchal even on a tiny place as this. The little store -- a base exchange, a small bowling alley, a tiny library, and for this horror story, a tiny theater visited mostly by airmen. The cluster on bottom right is the radar and the whole point, the business of the radar site. You can see the radar before its protective bubble was added. 

Were this a novel, then that radar would be Gatsby's optometrist billboard, the omnipresent all-seeing eye, that observes your every move. It's a bit scary itself. My dad took Barry and me into the box on the bottom and to this day I can smell the ozone of the electronics and sense the eerie low green light, and the brilliantly waxed linoleum floors. They're compulsive about spotless floors. He explained all the Cold War concerns and what they were doing and how they did it and what his business there was, hero of all his own stories, but as I said earlier, I was a tremendously stupid little kid, zoop, in one ear and out the other. I had no idea what he was talking about.

So then, we lived in one of the white roofed houses, and it was very nice, actually, a proper gated community, double fenced all around with two armed guards at the gate, an office, in fact. Very protected. Then one frigid winter night my older brother said, "Come on, we're going to see a movie." We two walked together across the snow covered field, that melted and re-froze, so that I could walk on its flat surface without stepping through it. To this day I can still hear the crunch of our footsteps as we walked together there, then back after the movie. 

Had my parents known which film we'd be seeing then they'd never have given us the money to see it. They would have protected my tender young self from it. This film was for the entertainment of the airmen manning the base, not for us dumb little kids. And certainly NOT for me. It scared the living shit out of me. 

Tower of London. I had no idea who Vincent Price was. I had no idea who King Richard was. I had no idea how Shakespeare maligned King Richard basing his story on the records of Tudors who prevailed in the Hundred Years War. I knew nothing at all about anything.

But I could draw Micky Mouse like an expert to the amazement of the airmen.  

The film starts with ladies wearing pointed dunce caps with light fabric draped from the tip, fabric that was not available in that historic point in England, pure Hollywood, and poorly done costuming, but I did not know any of that. All I thought was what ridiculous hats. And I've not seen anything like them since. It looked like they were having a party. I couldn't comprehend a single thing about what was happening in the movie. I couldn't follow the plot. For me it went, horror scene, horror scene, horror scene, horror scene. A ghost appears (I couldn't connect the ghost with the previous character) and threatens a guy. My sympathy went to the guy being scared. A woman was tortured on a rack and screamed, and to this day I cannot tolerate any screaming of any sort. A guy gets a cage put over his head and a rat dropped into the cage and I pissed myself with fear, I clung to my brother sitting next to me and whimpered. A woman ghost appears and overlaps a real woman and guy chokes the woman instead of a ghost and I feared the evil doings of ghost trickery thereafter. Little boy ghosts appear and beckon a guy to walk off the castle parapet after them and my sympathy was for the guy being fooled by the boy ghosts. I had everything wrong. I couldn't process a single thing. All I knew, all I could recall forever were these individual horror scenes.

The movie ruined my life. 

At age twenty-five, and homeowner, I'd turn off the light in the basement and run up the stairs in three leaps, frankly, in fear of someone hidden down there grabbing me. How ridiculous. I couldn't grow up about horror.

At night, I'd turn on the yard flood lights and dash out to the dog run to get my dog, and run back in, imagining an ax murderer lurking in wait to kill me. How ridiculous.

This movie, at age eight, put me off horror movies completely until I was thirty when I overheard teenagers laughing hysterically at the most frightening parts of Elm Street, and finally, I thought, "Jesus Christ, Dude, you are a total puss about these films. Learn from these teenagers and get over yourself." 

So reading those harsh and uncaring comments to horror exposed to children affects me negatively. I don't like them. I would protect my children from such Halloween displays. I'd protect my children so much as I could from ugly and horrible things. Even from things like the crucifixion. By my own childhood experience, even on a protected radar site with guards and populated with service people, By my own recalled experience, I'd try very hard for my children to be exposed only to nice things so far as possible for as long as possible. 

Here, have yourself some horror and fear. 


Eric the Fruit Bat said...

I've seen very few horror movies because I don't like being frightened.

I prefer comedy.

That's because I like to laugh.

Immanuel Kant might have said something critical about people like me.

I really don't know.

ricpic said...

Can't stand Halloween. Can't stand magic. Complete disconnect from the millions who love the devil.

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

Chip, you make great posts.

So great that they are


Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

I do remember as a young calf how intense horror films could be. Vividly intense.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I love Halloween, in the getting dressed up, devising a cool costume and going to a party with others. When my daughter was young, we would do all sorts of elaborate costumes and then....... because there isn't any trick or treating here due to the vast distances between most houses dark rural roads and driveways, possible snow or rain, the kids would all go to the VFW or Lion's Hall for an evening of fun. There were games, cupcakes, costume parade, hot chocolate, hot dogs and lots of door prizes and bags of goodies for the kiddos to take home. Many of the parents would also go in costume and hang out and occasionally spike their coffee with some brandy while the kids ran amok.

The adults without children or whose children were doing an overnight party at a friend's parents house would get really decked out and go to a big dance at the fairground in the biggest hall/building. Lots of fun adult style. Band. Loud music. Bar for beer, wine. If you wanted hard booze the local bar was within walking distance where they were also having a big party...or you brought your own...discretely of course ;-)

We would get into devising our costumes weeks ahead of time. Face painting. Sewing. And very creative. One year I was a barbarian woman. Took some itty bitty forked horn antlers and made a paper mache helmet with the antlers attached like a viking. Found a horrible fake fur jacket at the thrift store, cut it up and put the fur in a band around the edge on the helmet. Painted the helmet gold with black barbarian symbols. Made a sexy short tunic out of burlap lined with cotton and more fur for leggings and leather bindings from the sandels up to my knees. Arm guards of leather in case I decided to shoot my nerf bow. Shield. Nerf mace and plastic swords. Painted my face in a barbaric gold and black theme and gold glittery stuff on the rest of my body.

It was great fun because I could wack people with my nerf mace and dance like a wild woman at the party. I miss those days.

Dust Bunny Queen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dust Bunny Queen said...

Scary movies:

When we were living, finally in a permanent location, and I was about 12 or so and my brother 9, my parents would drop us of at a local movie theater on a Saturday for the early matinee shows and pick us up in a few hours after the cartoons, movie(s), serial (like Perils of Pauline some cowboy thing). Basically a big drop off spot for kids to run around unsupervised in the dark....while the parents probably were home getting nookie. I didn't think about that aspect of it until I was in my late 20's and suddenly the light dawned. >:-0

So they dropped us off with a few dollars to watch the movie and buy candy, ice cream and popcorn. It was great!!!

My brother kept insisting that he wanted to see the monster and horror movies. He was ok with stuff like Rodan, Godzilla, and the ridiculous SciFi shows of that time. But when we got to the Vincent Price horror, torture, witchcraft, Satan, scary zombie stuff, he would get scared and go back up into the concession stand area. So I would have to get up and go stand with him and try to calm him down.

Damn it....why do you always insist on watching these movies and then I can't even see the the movie because I have to babysit your scaredy ass!!! I complained to my parents, but they didn't well, I could always buy more candy while he was being afraid in the concession stand area.

Kids today are really missing out on those good times.

MamaM said...

Madame Tussaud's Chamber of Horrors, visited in London when I was eleven, left an indelible impression on me.

Seeing, hearing, knowing what humans were capable of doing to each other was truly horrifying and beyond my imagination at that time. Still is, come to think of it.

XRay said...

The scene I remember that scared the shit out of me as a kid, the one in Fantasia as the water bucket wielding broomsticks multiplied relentlessly and exponentially on the way to drowning Mickey in the basement... or something like that.

Hey Chip! Don't know if you would be interested, or perhaps already know about it, but passing it along.

"There was a time when being taught by an Ivy League professor preeminent in his field was a privilege reserved for very few, but it’s a brave new world out there now, and the University of Pennsylvania is offering a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) through Coursera entitled Introduction to Ancient Egypt and Its Civilization. It will be taught by Dr. Silverman who developed the course using references to the Egyptian artifacts in the Penn Museum."

More info @...

By the way that is a very good and interesting website for those who enjoy reading/learning history.

Hey, DBQ, are there pictures... :-)

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

Donald Trump, while certainly damaged, has managed to survive an onslaught of the Media I would not thought possible. It is like he is Jason from Halloween.

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...

I meant Michael Myers of Halloween, Jason is from Friday the 13th.

bagoh20 said...

As I read this, in another window I'm watching "13 Ghosts", the original 1960 version. It scared me for a long time as a kid. I fear what I may be unleashing here today.

chickelit said...

Anything Jack Palance did in the '60's and '70's personified creepy and horror for me. His Jekyll and Hyde was particularly good. Too bad it was rather low budget, set wise.

deborah said...

love halloween. perfect time to read bradbury's 'something wicked this way comes.' captures the essence of fall an halloween.

Chip Ahoy said...

XRay, I signed up for the course, what the heck. I'm arrogant enough to imagine I could teach such a course, so I'm checking my own presumption and arrogance. After I did sign up I was taken to a page with a more thorough description and realized I've encountered a kindred spirit. He says:

The class begins on October 31st with a showing of the original The Mummy with Boris Karloff. Okay no. I made that up because of the coincidental Halloween opening date, but it would be a pretty entertaining overture, especially since the faux “archaeology” in that movie is so egregiously wrong on every possible level that it even eclipses Karloff’s outstanding makeup in horror quotient.

Ha ha ha. My own thoughts precisely. Right off I can tell it's going to be fun. Is there anything more fun than taking exams on things that you've thoroughly internalized? It's like, "prove it."

Oh yeah? BAM "Here's proof."

XRay said...

Good, Chip. Let us know how it turns out, well hell, let us know how its going while its going. I'd sign up too, but have other irons in the fire.