Why Horror?

The other day I was talking with someone, won’t mention her name on the inter-blag without her permission so let’s just call her Regina P. Bunterfinkel the VIII, and a slightly touchy subject came up. Regina and I were talking about my writing hobby and she looked me dead in the eye and asked me with cheery, good natured honesty, “So, what are you going to write when you’re done with scary stuff.”

Let’s forget, for a moment, that she called it “scary stuff” instead of horror. That doesn’t bother me, it’s just her little idiosyncrasy. What bothered me was that she assumed that this was a phase I was going through. That one day I might graduate to some “real” fiction. And that bothered me because not only do I have a lingering, unwarranted fear/shame of telling people I specialize in horror, but also because I didn’t have a rebuttal. I did not know how to let her know in a clear, intelligent way that I think horror is a valid genre in which to write and should not be considered a mere stepping stone to something else.

I have my own idiosyncrasies. One of which is that I try my hardest never to open my mouth to give an opinion about something I don’t fully understand. If I haven’t thought it through to the extent that I can converse about it in an intelligent manner, I don’t voice my opinion unless specifically asked/probed. This stems partly from social anxiety, but also from (I hope) wisdom. Without a rational starting point the human mind is ruled by emotions, and a mind wholly ruled by emotions is not a friend to the individual it is in control of. At best I would sound like a crazy person, frothing over my favorite subject to the point of revulsion, and at worst I would become heated and take comments as personal attacks, alienating the person who I was two seconds ago trying to convert to my way of thinking. Basically, a mind ruled wholly by emotions is the kind of mind who argues politics in YouTube comments at 4 in the morning.

So I didn’t try to defend myself. I simply told her that I was also interested in Sci-Fi and Fantasy. Not a lie, just untruthful. And then we moved on. But it got me thinking. Why DO I like horror so much? It’s Halloween, so I figured it would be as good a time as any to explore the question. Some of this is stuff I’ve ruminated on over the past 2 days, some of it will be off the cuff.

First off, let me say, I don’t get scared easily. At least, not by fiction. I routinely walk around at night (because it’s cooler and more private), listening to my mp3 player play horror stories I’ve downloaded from the internet. Usually I try to find ones that are well written and even more well performed, but I take what I can get. And I don’t really get scared. At least, no more so that walking around at midnight would normally scare a normal person. I don’t really get scared by horror movies or books or video games. Oh, I get startled, or anxious, but those are not the same thing. I get anxious to see if a character will live, I get startled by the jump scare, but I don’t get really, truly scared any deeper than that. It’s never personal. But I love horror. I love it. I had to create a second netflix profile so that my room mate could browse movies without seeing a wall of horror each time he logged on. I read as many horror stories as I can, and obviously I write it almost exclusively. So why?

My first line of thought on the subject goes something like this. Halloween. Is the best holiday. Ever. Not even because you get candy. It is the best holiday ever because it’s fun. It is the one holiday that almost everybody seems to enjoy on a deep, childlike level. The unbridled joy of throwing normal activities to the wind and reveling in the strange and the different is so mind blowingly liberating that I still can’t comprehend how some people prefer any other holiday. And let’s face it, when you ask someone what their favorite holiday is, they are going to answer either Halloween, or Christmas. At least where I grew up, which was in the midwest of America. I fully realize that there are people that don’t celebrate Christmas, but let’s just say that there weren’t many where I grew up.

Now, I don’t think I have to draw a parallel between horror as a genre, and Halloween. Horror and Halloween go together like tricks and treats. So, my love of Halloween is a pretty direct link to my love of horror. But it’s not perfect. I mean, disregarding the mundane and reveling in the decidedly unreal, well, that has a name. It’s called fantasy. So, why don’t I like fantasy more than horror? Well, two reasons. One, horror IS fantasy. Literally, it IS fantasy. Dark fantasy to be precise. All horror is fantasy, but not all fantasy is horror. I’m not going to get into the difference between horror and “thriller” today, so for now let’s just stick with what we’ve got. And two, it comes down to perception.

The line between horror and fantasy is blurry. Some would say that books like “Game of Thrones” is “dark fantasy”. I wouldn’t argue, though I wouldn’t 100% agree either. The main difference between horror and fantasy is, as I said, perception. Fantasy seeks to point the reader in the direction of wonder and awe, to open them up to brand new vistas and let them explore. Horror tries to make the reader see new vistas and run away from them, to regret the day they wished for the mundane to disappear. Fantasy asks “what if…”. Horror asks “Aren’t you glad that…”

And to me, that’s better. At the end of the day, I think horror is more satisfying. Don’t believe me. Read this. You may have heard of it before. Post Avatar Depression Syndrome. Let’s not get me started on my deep hatred of the public’s reaction to Avatar (Remember the fucking commercials? “Since when do mountains fly?!?” SINCE FUCKING ALWAYS YOU FUCKING PLEBS!!!), but let’s just focus on the fact that this is a real thing. Remember reading Harry Potter? I do. I was 11 when the 3rd book came out. 11. What happens at 11 for witches and wizards? They get accepted to Hogwarts. What happens when you turn 11 in the real world? Before Harry Potter, not much. After Harry Potter, the same amount of not much, only now, it’s not much because you aren’t going to be at Hogwarts ya filthy muggle. Fantasy makes people sad. It makes people sit and dream about things that will never exist rather than make new things happen. You will always be slightly disappointed that the real world is so boring by comparison.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy fantasy. Love it. Wouldn’t want it to go away. I particularly love Urban Fantasy (because it makes it easier to hope). But horror, oh now that’s a whole new can of worms. Bigger. Slimier. Wormier. You ever watched a horror movie and gone “Hey, I really wish that would happen to me.”? No. If you have, well, you’re either a sadist, or a masochist, or both, so….thank you for reading I hope you’re enjoying it pleasedon’thurtme. But the point is, normal people don’t. Horror lets the mind detach from reality for a while, explore something new, and strange and somehow still universally true and profound, and then come back to life and simply enjoy life a little bit more. Horror let’s you realize that life might not be so bad after all, that there could always be something lurking in the shadows ready to make it a thousand times worse. You know it won’t, because those things don’t exist, and that makes you just a little bit grateful. Most of the time you won’t even notice it.

Horror, as a genre, edifies life. It improves it. It holds a fun house mirror up to your soul and makes you glad that you aren’t as ugly as the warped glass makes you look. At the end of the day you are happier because you know that Pinhead, Cthulhu, Dracula, zombies, ghost and goblins and everything else that bumps the night don’t exist. If you spend your life in shadow, then the sunlight seems brighter by comparison.

And that, I think, is why I like writing horror so much. Not sure if I sounded intelligent or like a rambling hobo, but at least I have established my stance on the issue. I now feel better able to discuss it with my friends and acquaintances.

Don’t forget that tomorrow I start my 30 day, 2000 words a day challenge. I’ll be writing whatever I fell like for most of it, but you can always feel free to give me suggestions, and according to the rules I’ve set for myself, I will be obligated to use them.

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to bombarding your emails with my daily posts for the next month.

A Challenger Has Appeared (and it’s me)

How’s it going everybody? This is going to be a non-fiction post, but hopefully an exciting one, so stick around. I’m only doing this so it’s public and hopefully so it keeps me honest.

Next month is November (sorry, spoilers). This means two things. First, it means that I will be experiencing my first November in a retail job. If you’ve never worked retail, let me break it down for you. As it has been explained to me by my co-workers, it’s hell. Unbridled hell of at least the 5th or possibly even the 6th circle. Apparently everyone has “wised up” to the conditions of the holiday shopping season and have therefor decided to do all of their Christmas shopping in the month of November. Which means that the shit hits the fan a month earlier than it did in olden days. Not only that, but I work in a toy store (THE toy store, as it happens). That’s right, thousands of parents a week will walk in through the automatic doors at the front of my store with various blades and firearms concealed on their person and play a deadly game of cat and also cat with one another as they attempt to buy the one present that will make their kid not hate them for a few days a year. Apparently not a year has gone by in the past few years at my store without blood being shed (no deaths though…..yet).

So what does this mean for me? Well, besides a lot of stress (boo) and more hours/money (yay), not much. I do most of my holiday shopping online these days and even if I didn’t my store discount doesn’t mean all that much when I’m not buying toys for anyone. It does mean one thing, however, but only with some extra context. Which brings me to the second thing November means.

November is National Novel Writing Month (aka, NaNoWriMo).

Full disclosure, I don’t intend to write a novel. Not yet anyway. “But E.W.! Why not?” you ask me in my imagination. And my answer is this: BECAUSE! Because, damnit, I haven’t got even the most basic premise for a novel in mind, much less months of research and outlining done. And I’m not going to sully myself for an entire month writing some inferior drivel that I’d be ashamed to put my initials on.

So, what does this all mean? It means that instead of that, I’m going to write some inferior drivel that I WON’T be ashamed to put my initials on…. Let me explain.

In the month of November I, E.W. Morrow, am going to participate in my own writing challenge. I am going test my ability to write consistently during one of the most hectic times of the year for me in my job. I’m going to see if I have what it takes to separate myself from the day to day stress and tedium and develop the dedication and the discipline I need to take my writing to the next level. To do this I am going to follow a strict set of rules that I will outline here for all the world to see.

November Writing Challenge: The 10 Demandments (wordplay)

1. Write 2,000 words per day. No exceptions.
2. Post everything I write to keep myself honest.
3. Any amount I write each day past the 2,000 word mark will not be deducted from the next day’s total.
4. Unless the unthinkable happens, no transferring of daily writing amounts will be allowed.
5. Switching topics/stories during the day will be allowed, but nothing I write less than 666 words (1/3 of the daily total) will be counted towards the daily goal.
6. Rule 5 may be considered null and void if, and only if, the current day’s stated goals include anything that limits length (such as writing the introduction for a story 5 times in different ways to practice my re-writing skills)
7. No specific goals for writing each day are required.
8. No daily challenges from comments to this blog, or comments made in real life, will never be turned down and must be completed at the earliest possible time.
9. “Edits” of previous works only count if the new text is at least 50% different from the old text. (I will go back and edit smaller things later, possibly as a December Challenge).
10. Writing may be done by hand and then typed. Not posting daily is acceptable only if the writing has been completed but not properly typed/if my internet goes out. This does not exempt me from writing. Typing a previous day’s writing counts as 0 words for the day.

There it is. My personal November Writing Challenge set in digital stone for all the world to see. I will try to make posts daily regardless of how tired I am from work. I will alter my writing schedule around work as need be (waking up early to write, writing later than usual, etc…). I would like to become a writer as a profession. A novelist/short fiction author who maybe dabbles in the non-fiction/opinion piece for some website or magazine, maybe do some writing for video games (dream job, btw). This will be my personal test to see if I have what it takes to at least write a consistent amount for a full month.

If all goes well, by the end of November I will have written 60,000 words. That’s a short novel (kind of). The simple achievement of churning out so much work in month would give me hope that I could actually write a novel in less than a few years. Obviously it isn’t going to be a perfect analogue, but it is the first step.

Let me know if you have any suggestions. If you read all 10 of my rules, you’ll know what I mean.

Thanks all. I’ll see you in November. Unless I finish something in the next few days. Then I will see you in October, and THEN I will see you in November.

Twice, by E.W. Morrow

This here is a little story I wrote today. It was one of the story ideas I got from my challenge I issued a few weeks ago about taking something mundane and making it scary. It’s basically flash fiction, just over 1,000 words. I’m not super happy with the end, but I never expected it to be fantastic. Plus I like the rest of it, so that’s good. It’s a story about sneezing twice. That was my prompt. Sneezing twice. Let’s see how I did.

Twice – by, E.W. Morrow

The entire room fell deathly silent as the sharp, sudden sound reverberated off the gray concrete walls. Only the dull, mechanical whir of recycled air pumping through the vents disturbed the silence. Almost as one the children turned and stared at the figure in the center of the room that had made the noise. At the head of the class Mrs McCormick’s hands disappeared behind the lecturne. She was a young woman and had only held the post of fully certified teacher for three and a half years, but those years had been hard. They had stripped the shine of idealism from her eyes and etched deep lines across her brow. Her hands barely shook as she rested the tips of her fingers on the tiny red button that would trigger the alarm. Everyone in the room held their breath as they waited and watched. But no one held theirs as tightly as the young girl in the center of the room, the girl who had suddenly become the focus of such universally apprehensive attention.

Maribeth Carter gripped the edges of her desk in terror and bit down on her lower lip. No matter how many times it happened to her it never got any easier. Her heart always pounded in her chest until the pulse throbbed along her entire body and echoed in her skull. Tears always welled up in the corners of her eyes until she screwed them up in moist concentration. And every single time the urge to let go, to give in and let it happen, was just as strong as always. Today was no different, but still she fought it. She knew the rules and she’d seen those who were too weak, or unlucky, to resist the temptation.

Once. That was all you were allowed. One sneeze was all anyone was ever allowed. For several minutes after your first everyone around you became your enemy. Betrayed by your own body the into raising an alarm against yourself the sound told everyone in the vicinity to watch you. Watch you and wait. And pray. Nobody every sneezed twice anymore. At least, nobody sneezed twice more than once.

Maribeth felt the tingle at the tip of her nose spread back down along the nostrils until she could almost feel it buzzing in her lungs like a diseased insect with it’s dripping stinger poised to destroy her from the inside out. She struggled to hold her breath or at least not draw air through her nose, but every few seconds a disturbance in the air would drive her nearly to the edge of control. Vainly she wished that there were something she could do, some mantra she could have been taught to steady herself. But there was nothing. Nobody talked about it. Better to ignore it while you could.

As she trembled in her chair Maribeth imagined herself in a different world, a better world. She was too young to remember the world as it had been before sickness and the compounds. Most people were too young to remember. Sometimes the elders would speak of it late at night in words she knew the meaning of but didn’t understand. Wind. Sunshine. Winter. Garden. Later she would take those words with her into the dark, sometimes in her bed late at night, but more often in dark behind her eyelids on days like today, whenever she needed them the most, and would try to imagine what they would be like. What would the wind taste like? How much sunshine would she gather up and bring home to her mother? What would it feel like to dance on the ocean as the moonlight tickled her neck and played with her hair? She had never seen or heard or felt those things, but she imagined a world in which one day she would. Maybe one day things would be like they were, before the plants had been changed and our immune systems had failed and every tiny spore floating invisibly through the air was a death sentence. Maribeth prayed for the day when the hastily constructed hermetically sealed bunkers and compounds of the world would open up and set her free. On days like today she would settle for a world in which she didn’t have to struggle just to stop her body from killing itself.

Slowly the tingling sensation faded. Maribeth opened her eyes and blinked away the tears. She still didn’t trust herself with anything as extreme as deep breathing, so she settled instead for short, quick breaths through her mouth that left her feeling dizzy at the end. One by one the other students in the room turned back to their own desks, though most of them shot glances at her whenever they thought she wasn’t looking. Mrs McCormick cleared her throat and resumed the days lesson, though only one of her hands was ever above the lectern at a time. Within a few minutes the class was almost back to normal.

There was a single, sharp sound of someone sneezing.

A few students jumped in their seats and most looked at Maribeth in horror before realizing that the sound hadn’t come from her. Then their gazes drifted toward the back corner of the room to little Havier who’s eyes were wide in stark panic. Maribeth watched him, amazed at how much everything seemed to slow down like it did when she had been the one in danger only not nearly as much. After what seemed like a minute but was probably only a few seconds, Havier’s mouth dropped open, his left eye twitched and his head arched back.

And then he sneezed.

Time, which had seemed to stretch itself out a split second before, crashed in on itself in a confusing rush of events. Red lights dropped from the ceiling and an alarm shrieked somewhere in the hallway beyond the battered door. Havier’s body shook with convulsions that grew stronger with each wave. Mrs. McCormick called to the children in a pained, wailing tone of voice that was lost in the chaos. A few children broke down into tears but most, especially those closest to Havier, scrambled from their seats, knocking desks over as they fled. Streams of white mist pour from the vents in the ceiling, showering the room in a sharp, stinging liquid that burned slightly as it sterilized the room. Maribeth stared at Havier, completely transfixed on the boy she’d known her entire life, and so she didn’t see the response team kick in the door and fan out as they entered the room. She heard it though, heard the thump of thick black boots pounding on the linoleum floor. Strong, rough hands in thick black gloves grabbed her by the arm and pulled her from her chair. A large, stocky man spun her around and picked her up, so she had a brief, spinning glance around the room. A dozen men covered from head to toe in black army fatigues with rubber gas masks over their faces were rounding up the children and hurrying them through the swinging door. The burly man then hoisted her up on his shoulder and kicked a desk out of the way as he made for the exit. The last thing Maribeth saw before the door banged shut behind her was Havier vomiting blood over his desk as three men approached him cautiously. Two had a large plastic bag poised to snare the shaking boy, and the other had a long, simple wooden truncheon raised over his head. Then the door bang shut in her face and she saw nothing else. Maribeth wasn’t sure if it was her imagination, but over the sound of the sirens and the cries of her classmates, she thought she heard a dull, wet sound repeat several times in rapid succession as she was borne away to the scouring chamber for further sterilization.

Interview – By E W Morrow

This here’s a little story I wrote several months ago. I’ve been looking at it again, wondering if I should to some edits. Or rather, realizing that the story needs edits and wondering if I should devote the time to it or just kinda leave it. I’m not super in love with it anymore. Like I said, this was months ago, back when I had first started writing as a hobby again (several months before I even considered starting a blog as a matter of fact.) Anyway, I thought I’d post it, see if it gets any feedback. I personally think it’s strong points are the descriptions of the characters and setting, and general mood creation/retention. I think the dialogue is weak and the plot kind of lacking. I’m not sure what to do about the latter, what to add to make it better, and I’m too lazy to fix the former unless I know I’m going to do a full re-write. Think of it as a modern day vampire story that never get’s around to the vampires.

So yeah. I’ve been working on other stories recently, but I wanted to post something for you all to read. Like I said, this was months and months ago that I wrote this (beginning of the summer I think, maybe just before summer began), so if you think I’ve improved at all (with the other stories I’ve been posting) I’d love to hear about it.

Interview (working title) – by EW Morrow

Mister Millingsly stood in the corridor perfectly still. For a man of his advanced age this was, in and of itself, an impressive feat. It was even more impressive to those with certain information not readily available to the casual observer. Perhaps this is because the casual observer was more likely to be impressed by the view. Behind the old man was a wall of glass that looked out onto the city. Just now, at the death of the day, the sky burned orange and the sunset cast long shadows so that skyscrapers swept mile long trails of darkness across the urban sprawl. And it was against this backdrop of widening shadows that Mister Millingsly stood silhouetted and perfectly still.

Mister Millingsly was a thin man. He looked like the kind of man who didn’t exercise and ate very little; he had no muscle and no fat. There was almost nothing to him but skin and bones and a suit. The suit was well made but aging. If it had ever fit him properly it was long ago and now it hung loosely on his fragile frame. His necktie, a drab gray affair, was loose around his stick-like neck. Even his skin looked as if it had been merely draped over his skeleton so it sagged under his chin and anywhere else there wasn’t bone to hold it up. The only parts of Mister Millingsly that were firm or fixed were his posture and his hair, silver-white and slicked back with a thick tooth comb.

There was a short electric tone from far end of the hallway. Then there was a hiss as an elevator door slid open. An ordinary man, after such silent waiting, might have stood up straighter or compulsively checked his jacket for lint one last time. Mister Millingsly blinked.

A young, healthy man in a well tailored suit stepped out of the elevator. He had broad shoulders, dark brown eyes and a firm, strong jaw. Not a single strand of hair was out of place except for the ones that had been carefully placed there. He wore a light gray shirt with a slight sheen and a bold blue tie that was confident without being aggressive. He was, in short, exactly the opposite of Mister Millingsly.

The man began to straighten his tie unnecessarily before he realized he was being watched. He turned and stared for a moment at the little man-shaped silhouette at the end of the hall before he put on his most winning smile and strode confidently across the marble floor.

“Hello, my name is…” he began.
“Yes, Mister Parker, we’ve been expecting you.”

The young man only paused for a moment, but he covered it well. His smile returned quickly. It was good, wasn’t it, that they knew his name?

“Excellent,” he said jovially. “Would you be Mister Tepes?”
“No,” replied the old man in a voice that was surprisingly deep for one so small. Deep, but soft. “No, I am his assistant. You may call me Mister Millingsly.”
Parker had come close enough now to get a clear view of Mister Millingsly. With the exception of speaking, the old man hadn’t moved a muscle. Parker tried to look him in the eye but found it difficult. The old, rheumy blue eyes held Parker in a gaze of such casual intensity that Parker felt like a slab of meat under the scrutiny of some draconian government inspector. Parker wished the man would blink.

In a slightly less confident voice he said, “Mister Millingsly? Right, well it’s a pleasure.”
Abandoning his attempt at eye contact Parker opted instead for a firm, friendly handshake. He held out his hand in front of him and tried his best to smile. Mister Millingsly did not move.

Then, Mister Millingsly blinked. Parker wished he hadn’t.

It was an unnatural blink, as though the tiny action had been some sort of concession on the part of the old man. The lids had sullenly and unevenly slithered down his eyes before snapping up, noticeably wider than before. A second later he had relaxed them to their normal size. Parker realized he was still holding his hand out awkwardly and slowly lowered it to his side.

“I’m sorry, I hope I’m not late,” Parker mumbled. Mister Millingsly actually smiled a tiny smile.

“On the contrary, Mister Parker. You are early. You will have to forgive me for not shaking your hand, but then again I seldom ever do. I am sorry to say that I have a rather rare blood disease. Severe hemophilia. Men such as yourself tend to have very firm handshakes, and I am not sure my old body would survive the experience.”

“Oh. I’m sorry. I didn’t know, I…” Parker began to stammer. Mister Millingsly held up a hand, and Parker was shocked into silence by the relative enormity of the gesture.

“That will not be necessary,” the old man assured him. “Please, step this way. The master will see you now.”
“The master?” Parker asked, falling into step somewhat farther behind than he normally would have. He no longer seemed quite so confident in his stride, hours of practice and preparation retreating behind a wave of nerves.

“Ah, yes,” Mister Millingsly chuckled. “Forgive me. Old habits die hard. My family has been a member of the servant class for many generations, and I often find myself speaking with my father’s voice. I did, of course, mean Mister Tepes will see you now.”

Servant class? Parker wondered about that as they rounded a corner. He thought that Mister Millingsly had a vaguely foreign accent but he couldn’t pin it down. Russian? Possibly, or perhaps some other Eastern European country. The type of accent that was used to speaking to royalty.

“I thought it might be necessary to bring another copy of my resume,” Parker said to fill the silence. He almost reached out to hand the document to Mister Millingsly but thought better of it. Surely this was treating the old man far too gently, perhaps even disrespectfully so, but it paid to be careful. He hoped it would pay a lot in the end.

Besides, he thought, the old man probably couldn’t read it in this light. They had left behind the corridor with the plate glass windows and the receding daylight they offered. The walls in this part of the building were papered in deep maroon wallpaper, patterned with even darker floral designs, and trimmed in dark, stained, expensive looking wood, probably mahogany or walnut. The lights in the hallway were remarkably dim for this time of day. They must be going green, Mister Parker thought as they rounded a second corner.

“Thank you, but it will not be needed. Mister Tepes has always preferred an entirely—oral selection process.”

Mister Millingsly walked the same way he spoke, softly and at a measured pace. Parker found it odd that the man’s arms didn’t sway as he walked. It was as if the man never moved any part of himself unless it was absolutely necessary. He never gestured or even turned his head when he spoke. Parker had a feeling the man wouldn’t even sit down unless he knew he wouldn’t have to get up for a long while. And that blink…

They turned two more corners in silence. Parker wasn’t be certain, but he couldn’t remember passing a single office or door since he’d left the elevator. It was almost like the entire floor was just a network of dark corridors, like a maze the size of a city block. He was about to remark on this when they turned yet another corner and he came to a sudden halt a few inches behind Mister Millingsly, nearly crashing into him. The old man had stopped at the mouth of the corridor which came to a dead end about ten feet ahead. At the end of the hall was an embossed brass elevator door lit from above by a single light bulb in an ornate fixture. Parker couldn’t quite make out what was etched on the door from this distance.

“I go no further,” Mister Millingsly stated. Slowly, he turned around and then looked up into the face of Parker who was still only inches away. Then he blinked his hideous blink. Parker nearly fell backwards.

“Upstairs,” Mister Millingsly continued, unshakable as ever, “you will meet Mister Tepes.”

“But, I thought we were already on the top floor,” said a confused Mister Parker.

“We are on the top floor,” said Mister Millingsly matter-of-factly. “It helps if you think of it
as—the attic.”

“The attic…”Parker repeated, still trying to come to grips with this.

“Yes. Do you have any questions?”

Parker considered this. Nothing came to mind. Which is to say that absolutely nothing came to Parker’s mind. No questions. No ideas. Nothing. He just stared down the corridor at the bronze doorway and the intricate light fixture above it. After a few moments he shook his head.

“Any advice?” He asked, for lack of anything better to say.

Mister Millingsly blinked again. Parker flinched.

“Yes,” he replied. “When you get up there, it would be best if you did not give much consideration to the others.”

“Others?” Parker asked with a note of panic in his voice.
“Yes. There will be others. Board members and some senior stock holders. My advice is to ignore them unless they address you directly. They all listen to Mister Tepes in any case. It is his opinion, and his opinion only, that matters.”

Parker nodded, more to himself than to the old man. He took a deep breath and almost took a step forward before he stopped.

“Anything else?” he asked hesitantly. Mister Millingsly smiled a little smile that did nothing to reassure the younger man.

“Mister Parker, do you know why you were chosen for this opportunity?”

Parker answered with silence.

“Allow me to explain. Do you know why I occupy the position I do and not someone else? I have held my position, Mister Parker, for longer than you have been alive for one reason. I am qualified. In fact I am the ideal candidate in every regard. You are here because it is likely that you possess the proper qualifications for the position you have been offered. Tonight you will either prove this to be true or false.”

“And if I don’t?” Parker asked, as though the possibility hadn’t occurred to him before.

“Oh, I wouldn’t worry about that if I were you.” Mister Millingsly’s smile returned.

“Why not?”

“If that eventuality should come to pass, then there is nothing you can do.”

Still smiling, Mister Millingsly turned and gestured down the corridor to the elevator. Parker took a deep breath and attempted to regain some of the confidence the old man and the dark hallway seemed to have taken from him. He dropped the useless resume on the floor, and strode down the corridor. When he reached the brass elevator door he stopped and looked at the carving that had been etched there. It was a coat of arms. A sable shield took up most of the door’s surface area. In the bottom half of the shield there were seven towers. Old, stone towers, not the towering steel and concrete skyscrapers of today. The top half was occupied by a bird of some sort, wings spread wide. At the tip of the left wing there was a stylized sun, and on the right an equally stylized moon.

Except, if you looked too closely, it wasn’t really a bird at all. Or rather, it was a bird, but also something else. An optical illusion. It could either be a bird facing towards the sun with it’s beak open wide, or it could be a man facing the moon. In that case, the beak became a pair of wicked, curved horns. A winged man with horns, facing away from the light.

Suddenly the elevator door slid open. Inside there was a giant of a man, nearly seven feet tall and pale of skin, with a wide, rounded chin and and and extremely pronounced brow. He was wearing a round, pillbox hat and a uniform of gray and red that looked at least sixty years old. He was standing next to a large lever, one of the old ones they used before elevators had buttons. Parker forced himself not to stare as he stepped inside. The doors slid shut as the elevator attendant pulled down on the lever. Only as the elevator began to rumble upwards did Parker wonder what sort of man would man would consider severe hemophilia an essential qualification for a servant.

One hour later Mister Millingsly was still standing at the end of the dead end corridor facing the brass elevator door, perfectly still. In one hand he now held the discarded resume of Mister Parker. Suddenly, the elevator doors at the end of the hall slid open. Mister Millingsly blinked.

Without a word the elevator attendant lurched forward. He was alone and dragging something heavy behind him as he went. As the attendant passed him, Mister Millingsly held up a hand and the attendant stopped. Mister Millingsly bent down beside the twisted lump behind the attendant, brushed aside a bold blue tie, and with great care folded and placed the resume of Mister Parker into the breast pocket of a light gray shirt that had a slight sheen.

“It would seem you did not possess the proper qualifications,” Mister Millingsly whispered dispassionately to the ashen, bloodless corpse sprawled out before him. He stood up slowly and nodded at the attendant who returned the nod and continued on, dragging the body through the maze of corridors, into the darkness beyond.

Gotta have a rant for a moment.

So, I don’t usually do this these days, but today I read something and it made me really, really mad. Like, I had to shove my cat off my lap because if he decided to dig his claws into me I wouldn’t have a cat anymore, just material for a new pair of slippers.

So, I guess I need to throw a caveat in before I give you the link to my rage. These days I think it’s pretty safe to say that I am firmly in the “agnostic camp” when it comes to thoughts of God and stuff, bordering on Atheism. Sometimes I think that the only reason I don’t think of myself as an atheist is a natural aversion to make any extreme choices at all, one way or another. As in, I may not be a Democrat, but I’m certainly not a Republican. I admit that there could be a creator, a God or Gods, and that he/she/it may indeed be benevolent and actually care about what humans do. I just will never believe that it’s exactly the Christian God. Why? Because I’ve read too much. At the very least I know that translations are never perfect and so what Christian’s believe now is nowhere near close to what they believed a couple thousand years ago. And humans are bastards. Not all humans, but most powerful ones are. So they made plenty of changes over the years and, at this point, I really just don’t care enough to even try to believe.

But I like to think that I’m not an asshole about it.

So anyway, I was browsing the reddit, as I am wont to do, after a long day at work and no real intention to engage in any strenuous activity, be it physical or mental, for the rest of the night. Then I saw this.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/10/12/yes-justice-scalia-deserves-to-be-mocked-for-admitting-he-believes-in-the-devil/

Remember, I’m as close to atheist as makes no difference.

So, foolishly I browsed the comments on the link, read what people were saying. Basically they were being a bunch of 6th graders beating up a 3rd grade boy for wearing pink. Yeah r/atheism, I get it, it’s different and scary. Doesn’t mean you have to condone “mocking” a person who’s probably a whole lot smarter than you even by your own warped standards.

So anyway, here’s why I actually wanted to post this here tonight. I’d already broken one rule of the internet (never read the comments on something you disagree on), and I decided to break one more: I replied to the comments. I thought I was being civil. I basically said that the belief in the devil isn’t exactly uncommon and therefore it shouldn’t seem bizarre (their actual word, mind), and definitely not worthy of ridicule.

I got a reply. It’s just the first one. Even now engines are revving, torches are being lit and somewhere someone is drawing a parallel between me and Hitler (Godwin’s Law, look it up folks). Here’s the reply.

“So is santa. But how would you feel if a judge said he believed in that?”

Word for word. Anyway, I just wanted to leave my reply, because I thought it was pretty God (lawl) damned eloquent, especially after the harrowing day I had (If you’ve never been to a toy store on a weekend this close to Christmas, try it sometime. It’s like storming the beaches of Normandy. Only with less Germans. And more toddlers. Probably the same amount of German toddlers). Here’s what I said, and I think it basically sums up the way I view the world.

—-

“I think my reaction would be “What?….Okay….”, and then I’d move on. I wouldn’t mock him for it.

What we have here is a man’s ability to perform a task being called into question because of his beliefs. Should we question his ability to drive a car? If he believes in the devil strongly enough, he could be overcome with a sudden desire to pray and would crash said car. Danger to himself and to others. Yes, I realize that this analogy is silly, that driving a car and acting as arbiter over some of the most important decisions facing an entire nation of people are two completely different things.

Think of it like this. What if he didn’t believe in the devil? What if he believed that evil, such as it is, is a completely man made occurrence, that “evil” is a social construct and every person has the capacity to commit it. Shouldn’t THAT affect his decisions also? If he looks at every defendant and believes, truly believes, that that person is capable of evil, wouldn’t that color his perception of events and cause him to deal more harshly with the defendant?

No. Because that is a false dichotomy. The world isn’t black and white. A man’s opinions are not binary. The belief or disbelief of a higher power, of a Devil or a Nirvana or a Gaia, is only one aspect of an individuals personality, one of untold numbers. It’s not all he is.

Do I agree with all of his decisions? No. Do I think that belief in the Devil is silly? A little. But to dehumanize someone by reducing their entire multifaceted existence to a single point is not only silly, it’s dangerous and really fucking stupid. Pride goeth before the fall, as they say. Wisdom’s wisdom, no matter where it comes from.”

—-

So yeah. That is my rant, my one bit of thinking for the day.

And just in case anyone got the wrong idea, I’m not ranting about Christians or Atheists or Democrats or Republicans. I’m ranting about stupid people who can’t see the world from a different person’s point of view. That’s all. Don’t be that kind of person. Just….just try to get along, okay?

Thanks,

-EW

“Full Service” -By E W Morrow

Remember how I told you I’d have some fiction posted by the end of the week? Remember when I asked you for something mundane to write a flash fiction about? Well I lied. About the second one. I….I wrote more than I intended. But I think it’s good.

So, anyway, here you go. My sister gave me the topic “squeegee”, and I spun it out into a tale of madness and death. I love the fact that I get to put squeegee down as a tag for this one. Let me know what you think.

Full Service, by E W Morrow

Everyone said it was a bad spot to build a church. There were plenty of reasons: the town was too small for a second church, the side of a dusty highway was a bad location, and the locals were fiercely Lutheran. But it got built anyway, the First Baptist Church of the Holy Covenant. And for a while it looked like it would prove everyone wrong. The preacher, old Ezram Whately, was from the old school. He had a magnetic personality and his energetic rhetoric drew a bigger congregation every week. Holy light was his carrot, fire and brimstone were his stick. They even dug a pond out back that you could wade into at parts and started having multiple baptisms every Sunday. Scores of people were dipped into those cleansing waters by the end. It seemed like the small church on the edge of town would need to add an expansion barely a year after it opened.

In the end, the combination of preacher and pond was the church’s undoing. Them, and little Maggie Stephens. Little Maggie Stephens who didn’t like boys, who didn’t wear pink or have tea parties. Little Maggie Stephens who wore long sleeves to school to hide the bruises. Little Maggie Stephens who sat in church every Sunday, listened to Pastor Whately condemn the sinner, the outcast, the stranger, and preach conformity, obedience to one’s parents, and how the love of God is outweighed only by his wrath.

One night, after a fiery sermon about the sins of the flesh, little Maggie Stephens, who was never taught how to swim, walked into the pond behind the church until the waters rose above her head and wouldn’t go back until she felt clean. No one even saw her body until three days later.

That was the end of the First Baptist Church of the Holy Covenant. Two weeks later Ezram Whately delivered a sermon that outlined the special place in Hell reserved for suicides. He worked himself to a frenzy, and as he screamed his final prayer to God, he tumbled from the pulpit, clutching his chest. He didn’t live long enough to see the ambulance arrive from the next town over.

After that the congregation started to drift away. Without the red hot iron of Ezram Whately’s personality to stir the fire inside them there was nothing left to hold them together. A few months later the drought started, the pond dried up, and the church closed its doors for the last time.

Of course, all that was years ago. It was almost ancient history, to some, and the building was just sitting there. It was a perfectly fine building, a little simple but soundly made, and five years after the church disbanded the building was bought by a middle aged man named Bill Laury. Bill was a farmer and had suffered a few bad years in the drought. He decided to get out while he could, sold his land and his meager crops from the year and used the money as collateral to get a loan from the bank. He did most of the work himself, using his son when he needed him and contractors for the bigger jobs. He knocked out a few walls in the church, installed big glass windows in the front of the building and even paid to have a big, industrial air conditioner installed out back. It was noisy, but it turned the old building into an oasis in the summer heat. The dry pond was reshaped, lined with concrete and connected to a series of pipes leading to the old church’s parking lot. Large, cylindrical gasoline tanks were dropped in and covered up. In the parking lot they installed four fuel pumping stations on concrete plinths and a brightly colored canopy. Out of deference to the building’s original use and the holy ground he considered it built on, Bill Laury decided to name his business “Covenant Gas and Convenience”.

That was the kind of man Bill Laury was. He liked tradition, and history. He liked to sit around and remember the “good times”, which he considered to be better times. And that was how he ran the gas station. He advertised it as “The only full service station in 100 miles. A family business for your family to visit.”

And it was a family business. Bill and his wife, Veera, minded the store and their son, Bill Jr. pumped the gas, cleaned the windows, checked the tires, and hung the complementary air freshener around the rear view mirror.

It was a good business. Everyone said it was a great spot for a gas station. It was right on the edge of town on a dusty stretch of highway, a welcome relief from the heat of the road. A much better place for a gas station that it was for a church, that’s what everyone said. And for a while, it seemed like it would prove everyone right.

Bill and Veera always marveled at how good Bill Jr. was at his job. He was a typical teenager, not a bad kid, but a bit lazy, and undeniably messy. It was strange to them, then, that a job so focused on cleanliness would fit him so well.

Bill Jr. could clean an entire car, it seemed, with just his pail of soapy water and his rubber squeegee. Travelers coming in from the highway were surprised to come out of the air conditioned store and see their cars completely free of dust and bug guts, the windows spotless and the hub caps gleaming. He would nod to them politely as they inspected their vehicles and then smile and go refill his bucket.

One day his father asked him how he could clean a car so well and so fast, but leave his room a complete and utter mess. Bill Jr. just shrugged and claimed ignorance. Parents never understood. And besides, how could he explain what he was only vaguely aware of? How the soothing motion of the rubber as it wiped away the grime and dust felt left him feeling so content. How washing away the dirt was like he was purifying himself every time he did it? How the plastic rod of the squeegee in his hand felt so natural, and how he fantasized sometimes that it was his sword, a holy blade of truth striking down the unclean. When he had the squeegee in his hand, he hated things to be left unclean. If he had had to explain it, Bill Jr would have said it was a religious experience every time he dipped the squeegee into the cleansing waters.

The last day that Covenant Gas and Convenience was open was a hot Sunday in July. There had been no customers all day, which was unusual for the weekend. The sun arched high in the sky and trailed lazily downwards again. Bill Jr. sat in the shade of the canopy, perfectly still except for his fingers which traced little circles on the rubber grip of the squeegee, caressing it gently. He hadn’t cleaned a car all day.

On the horizon he spotted it, a white sports car trailing a faint cloud of dust as it sped down the highway. It slowed as it neared the station, as if unsure about its intention to stop. Bill Jr gripped his squeegee tightly and held his breath. He felt his pulse quicken. The car slowed down even more and then finally curved its way into the station. Bill Jr. released his breath.

It was a Camaro convertible, a few years old and bright white except where the dust had colored it orange. Despite the dust and the heat the top was down and a youngish man in a peach polo and khaki shorts climbed out. Bill Jr. walked up to him, smiled brightly and saluted with his squeegee.

“Afternoon,” he said jovially.

“Hey,” said the man as he patted his pockets.

“If you folks wanna head inside out of this heat I can fill her up for you. Clean the windows and the like.” Bill Jr. hoped his smile wasn’t too eager.

“Umm…” the man began.

“No charge.” Bill Jr. assured him.

“Alright, yeah. Put forty bucks in, regular, thanks.” He turned to look back at the car “You coming babe?”

“Just a minute.” A slim woman with big sunglasses was digging in her purse distractedly. She waved her hand impatiently and the man shrugged and walked into the store.

Bill Jr walked around to the side of the car and started pumping the gas. While it started going he dipped his squeegee in the soapy, slightly blue water. The woman started to get out of the car, then stopped and dove into her bag again. Bill Jr. ignored her. He was preparing for the cleansing.

There was a gurgle from the back seat. Bill Jr looked back to see a small child in a car seat. She—Bill Jr guess it was she since it was clothed from head to foot in bright pink and had a ribbon in its hair—was dozing in the heat of the late afternoon, squirming a little as if she were dreaming.

“What’s her name?” Bill Jr. asked politely.

“Huh?” the woman asked, not looking up.

“What’s her name?” Bill Jr. repeated patiently.

“Oh, that’s Maggie. Is she still asleep?”

“Yes mam, looks like it.”

“Good,” she said, finally finding whatever she was looking for, or simply giving up. She got out of the car, closed the door quietly, and hustled into the store. In the back seat Maggie slumbered.

Bill started on the windshield. Each wipe of the rubber on the glass sent a chill through his spine. A few seconds later he was done. He unslung a rag from his belt and wiped the rubber blade.

In the back seat Maggie had started to drool. It dripped down her chin and landed on the car seat before it oozed over the edge and onto the leather seat of the car.

Babies sure are messy, Bill Jr. thought as he scrubbed the car’s headlights. He was done about fifteen seconds later. No dust was left to dim the headlight beams. He went over to the pump and squeezed the last few cents of fuel into the car before placing the nozzle back in its holster and screwing the Camaro’s cap back on.

Maggie burped a quiet little burp. Tiny flecks of spit blew out from her mouth.

I just can’t understand why anyone would want kids, Bill Jr. thought as he sloshed water over the hood of the car with his squeegee. They’re so dirty. Unclean. Maggie. He even thought the name sounded bad, but didn’t know why. He skimmed the squeegee over the hood of the car in a few quick motions, completely removing all of the dust and bits of bugs splattered across it. His heart sang as he wiped away the filth.

A small trail of pale green goo leaked from Maggie’s nose. As she breathed little bubbles formed, bloomed, and then deflated.

Bill Jr. gripped the handle of his squeegee very tightly indeed as he cleaned the sides of the car. The dust was exceptionally fine in these parts and swathes of orange turned white with every pass of his hand. All he had left to do now was clean the tires, which he always left for last so he could check their air pressure as he went. The tires must have been almost brand new, barely any wear on the treads as he checked. He rose from his crouch at the back of the car and smiled to himself. Then he sniffed the air, and his smile faded.

Maggie’s diaper was full. It was easy to tell because the smell hung in the air. Bill Jr. felt like gagging. He stood there for a moment, adjusted his grip on the squeegee, and held his breath. A bead of sweat trickled down his cheek. From somewhere a long way away and yet somehow just at his fingertips a thought appeared in his mind. It was his only car of the day, and he wasn’t going to leave the job unfinished. Just one more thing to clean, and then the car, and he, would be pure.

The youngish man in the peach polo shirt stepped out of the store a few minutes later. He held the door open for his wife as she glared at her cell phone, holding it out to try and get more bars. Halfway to his car he passed Bill Jr, who had a look of peace and contentment on his face. Glancing at his car he arched his eyebrows in surprise. The car’s exterior was spotless. There was even a little green tree hanging on the rear view mirror. He turned to call after Bill Jr. to thank him, compliment him on a job well done, but stopped when he saw the teenager emptying the bucket into a drain. Why on Earth was the water so red?

His wife’s scream nearly jolted him out of his skin. He ran to where she was by the side of the car and caught her as she fell to her knees. Then he glanced in the back of the car to see what could have affected her so intensely. The sight that greeted him nearly took him down to his knees as well, but he managed to stay standing and instead vomited over the side of the car. The light brown liquid spattered and mixed with the crimson.

“Don’t worry,” Bill Jr. called, holding the squeegee tightly in his hand like the fiery sword of God. He felt good. Pure. Clean. “Lemme fill my bucket back up and I’ll clean that right up for you.”

A simple request.

Hey everyone. I want to apologize for the relative dearth of new fiction on my blog these past few weeks.  I’ve been trying my best to have more polished pieces before I post anything. Rest assured that I have 2 stories very near ready for posting. I may not post one of them, since I think I might like to submit it for publication, but the other one will be up within the next few days or so.

Anyway, I have a request. From time to time I get a bit stuck on a story, a bit frustrated, and I like to move one, write a page or two of something else, something totally random, just to clear my head a bit. Other times I will start the day with something new before moving on to editing or rewriting.

So here’s my request: give me something simple, something mundane, and I will try to make it scary. It can be a location, a physical quirk, an item of clothing, a common errand, anything like that. I will write a short, flash fiction piece based upon the idea you submit. (if you read my last piece of flash “Ring Finger”, it will be like that.)

Obviously I’m more than capable of coming up with these myself, but then I’m more apt to change my mind, to try out a dozen different ideas in the space of a few minutes without constraining myself to just one, so it’s not as challenging. SO! To reiterate, give me something mundane and I’ll make it scary.

Also, if you can, try to make it something that isn’t already kinda creepy. So, like, not “going to the dentist” or “Ice cream truck” or “a furby” . Those are, in my mind, too easy.

Thanks in advance. And I should have a complete story up by the end of this weekend, and I think it’s pretty durn scary.

-EW

October Recommendations!

Hey there everybody. How’s it going? Don’t have a story for you today. Most of the stuff I’ve been writing this past week has just been random stuff for fun/practice. Nothing I feel like posting per say. But. BUT! Oh there’s a but. I’m sure you all noticed that today is the first day of October. Which means it’s almost Halloween, which means you all need some good Horror movies to watch.

This here is my list of Horror movies I recommend for the 2013 Halloween season. I’m not saying that they are all great cinema, but they’re at least entertaining enough to merit a watch. All of these are available to watch on Netflix unless I say otherwise.

The Cabin in the Woods – Okay, I figured I’d get this one out of the way pretty fast. I’m sure most of you have seen it, but if you haven’t it is totally worth a watch. Even if you have, give it another watch. It’s a Horror/Comedy that has a pretty good twist. It was written by Joss Whedon, so it has that going for it.

Tucker and Dale vs Evil – Another Horror/Comedy about people at a cabin in the woods. This one came out before Cabin and doesn’t share too much with that movie other than the things I already mentioned. There are a few things that don’t seem to make sense until a little ways in (some characters are total jerks for no apparent reason). Still, it’s funny, well directed, and has some good scares.

The Thing – This is the 1982 version. I know it’s an oldy, but it’s a goody. Probably my favorite horror movie of all time. A group of scientists deep in the Antarctic interior find an abandoned (and destroyed) Norwegian outpost and discover that whatever the thing is that the Norwegians found, it should have been left under the ice. NOT CURRENTLY ON NETFLIX (those bastards took it down).

Trick ‘R Treat – Another movie currently no longer available on Netflix. This is still a good Halloween movie. It is an anthology of 4 stories that interweave in little ways. It’s a pretty fun scare fest throughout and I’m a little peeved that they took it off netflix recently. Oh well. If you can find it I recommend watching it.

Slither – And we have another Horror/Comedy movie with this one. This movie stars Nathan Fillion and is set in a small town that has come under the sway of an evil presence. If I had to classify it, I would call it a zombie movie, but it’s so much more than that. There are some zombies, yes, but they aren’t virus or parasite or magic zombies. Aint gonna it for you, because I think that the end, while not necessarily a twist, is still pretty good.

Identity – Another older movie (2003), this is a psychological thriller about a group of people trapped in a remote motel while the storm of the century rages around them, closing roads and flooding escape routes. Or is it? Watch til the end to see. It’s a good suspenseful killer flick.

Wilderness – Another serial killer thriller set in a remote location. This time it’s a group of teenage delinquents sent out to live on an island for a few days to learn responsibility. They meet up with another group coincidentally there for the same reason (all female), and then suddenly they start getting picked off one by one by a hunter with a pair of large, aggressive dogs. The identity of the killer isn’t explicitly stated until the end of the movie, but it’s a bit obvious who it is. None the less it’s a good movie and worth a watch.

Exam – This isn’t really a horror movie, just a thriller, but it’s got a great premise and is well executed. A group of potential employees are applying for an extremely prestigious position and are put in a room together with a single sheet of blank paper. They are given a few rules, and then left alone while a time ticks down the time they have to complete the exam. Breaking any rule, stated or otherwise, is grounds for automatic removal from the exam. For a movie that takes place in a single room it paces itself nicely and has some great tension. Give it a watch.

American Mary – Okay, full disclosure time: this movie is fucked up. Seriously fucked up. It’s not for everyone. But it’s got a spark of brilliance that makes it worth it. A young medical student training to become a surgeon takes on a sketchy job in order to get money for school. Through a series of increasingly strange events she becomes unhinged, dangerous, and incredibly skilled in her craft. She opens a private practice performing extreme body modifications on people who aren’t happy with their current appearance. I don’t want to give more away, but let’s just say that this movie makes you root for a killer, and then makes you feel like a horrible person for doing so. Watch it if you dare.

Event Horizon – Not sure why I didn’t put this higher on the list, but I’m too lazy to fix it now. A great example of Sci-Fi horror that almost makes you glad the space program got canceled (almost). It’s got everything you need for good sci-fi horror; a broken down ship, alien (ish) presence, secrets amongst the crew, madness, death, and more. A great movie on top of being a great example for the genre.

White – The first foreign movie I’ve put on this list. Don’t let the subtitles sway you, this is a pretty creepy movie that’s worth a dark night and some popcorn. A relatively obscure all girl pop band (which are incredibly popular in Korea, and often have revolving members when the old ones get a year or two older than is “best”) stumbles across a recording of a previously unheard song. They record it for themselves and, lo and behold, they become famous overnight. Too bad for them the song is haunted by the ghost of one of the girls who died during the original recording. The group turns on one another, becoming jealous and frightened and greedy and dead. One caveat I must mention (and I may do a longer post about this later), this movie has the stereotypical “creepy girl with long black hair ghost” in it. Before you write it off as a rip off of The Ring, remember that this movie comes from a different culture. That type of ghost (vengeful scary girl ghost) is called an Onryo, and is as much a part of Asian (mostly Japanese, but Korean and Chinese as well) culture as a poltergeist is part of ours. It’s just a type of ghost is all. This is important because

Juon White Ghost/Black Ghost – Another Asian film, this time from Japan. They have separate IMDB pages, but they come as one film on Netflix, so I count them as one here. This is another movie with a creepy girl ghost with long black hair. If you’ve seen The Grudge, then you know a lot about this movie already. The Grudge was a remake of the Japanese film Juon (which is a curse based on a person dying while experiencing an extreme emotion like fear or anger, and hence it bears a “grudge”). Juon is incorrectly thought of by many as being the origin of the creepy girl ghost with long black hair, but that image has been a staple in Japanese drama since the ancient days of No theatre (see, look at that theatre history I took paying off). I will admit, however, that the Juon franchise really popularized the idea, so credit where it’s due. This movie takes place in the same world as that movie, and deals with the same curse, just giving it more victims to take. If you’re interested, Netflix also has Juon and it’s sequels (though not The Grudge I think), but I think these two are slightly better than the first one (I still haven’t watched the sequels).

And that’s pretty much my list for now. I might add on to it later if I remember anything important. Of course there are the usual staples such as the Hellraiser series, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Halloween, and so on. I just wanted to give you a few ideas for stuff you might not have seen before. Also, I’ve never been a huge fan of silly teen slasher movies and don’t think they are very scary, so I tried to offer a variety of options to choose from.

If you have any suggestions for me to either add to my list or just think I need to watch, let me know. I’m always keen to see a good horror flick.

Until next time, when (hopefully) I will have more fiction for you, stay scared folks.

-EW