I was raised on R-rated horror movies. I've been watching them for as long as I can remember. Alien, Aliens, Poltergeist, Nightmare on Elm Street, The Shining. I could go on. What do those movies I just listed have in common? I saw them all before I was 10 years old. As a result, I'm very desensitized to horror, both in film and books. I enjoy horror, yes, but it doesn't really scare me. There are only two movies I can think of that can scare me: The Shining (specifically, the naked dead woman that Jack Nicholson made out with) and Signs. The Shining still scares me because I always revert back to the quivering 7-year-old boy lying on the family room floor in the basement of my house in Cole Harbour. Signs scares me because it's a masterfully made suspense movie that touches on fears that resonate just right with me.
Some video games can scare me, but that's because they're interactive and pull me in more than any book or movie can.
So here I am, going through life watching horror movies and reading dozens of Stephen King books, not even flinching at the horrors inside. Then, last week, I bought a book: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre: the Best of H.P. Lovecraft. Stephen King recommends him. Lovecraft is basically the father of modern horror. Since I'm an aspiring author who sometimes dabbles in writing horror, I figured I'd read some of his work. As a general rule, I hate early 20th century fiction, and when I started reading the first story ("The Rats in the Wall"), I figured that this was going to be no exception. However, once I got into the meat of the story, I realized that H.P. Lovecraft is seriously effed up. I loved the story. It disturbed me in a delightful way. I read a couple of other stories, but then decided to skip ahead to read "The Call of Cthulhu", one of his most famous stories. I finished reading it last night. I put it down, intending to go to bed, but there was just one problem: the thought of going to bed, alone (Avril and the boys are out of town), in my dark bedroom terrified me. I couldn't get the image of Cthulhu out of my head. Here's a picture of him:
Note the tiny man falling from his claws, and the dead guys on the rock in the foreground. I was sure that I would be haunted by the giant, octopus-headed ancient alien in my sleep. So I stayed up for another hour or two distracting myself with the Mo-Board. When I finally went to sleep, instead of Cthulhu, I dreamt about Star Wars.