You never know what lurks in the woods, so stick to the trail…. and maybe you’ll survive!
You never know what lurks in the woods, so stick to the trail…. and maybe you’ll survive!
The green and white light encompassed my entire body as my ascension began. On my journey I passed over the treetops near Briars farm. I spent many years there. Hay rides in the fall were my favorite. I remembered the apples that my mother would bring home. So beautiful, crisp, and sweet, the thought of them made me salivate.
Just before I passed through the clouds, I could see the bridge near the water. I remembered our vacation at the bay. My parents old green Ford LTD station wagon was packed to the gills. There was barely enough room for my nine year old plaid clad body. Typically, my mother would wedge me between the cooler and the sleeping bags. Sometimes I would nod off as my mother would sing. She had a beautiful voice. My father enjoyed it as well, which was good because the AM radio never seemed to work right. He would smile at her, but you could barely tell, as the tattered grey fishing hat covered most of his face.
As I passed through the clouds, I could see the school yard. Specifically the bleachers near the field. That’s where, Susie Kramer and I shared our first kiss. It was a Friday night after the game. Her long dark hair always smelled sweet. She liked to wear my leather jacket over her favorite black dress. We held each other for what seemed like hours before I drove her home in my parent’s old station wagon.
While I rose above the clouds, I could see the moon and stars. They illuminated the night sky as though it were daytime. The glowing full moon reminded me of the night I proposed to Susie. We were walking back from a Halloween party. It was near Memorial park that I nearly split my Hulk pants as I knelt before her and proposed. When she said yes, I nearly crushed her pumpkin queen costume as I hugged her tightly with my giant green hands.
As I glided through the atmosphere of our planet, I could see the beautiful blue outline of the oceans. It reminded me of the first vacation we took with our son, Bruce. I remember driving up the coast on our way to the beach. I had packed up the 1995 green Ford Taurus station wagon and loaded it to the gills. Susie nestled our son between the cooler and the sleeping bags. I remembered watching him nod off as Susie would sing along to the radio. She had a beautiful voice. I was smiling as I listened and watched Bruce from the rearview mirror. However, it was hard to tell as my baseball cap was pulled tightly above my eyes to avoid the glare from the ocean.
While I looked up, I could see the opening of the ship that projected the green and white light. As I stared at it, I began to weep. It reminded me of the bright light emanating from the operating table as Susie laid motionless as the surgeons worked on her lifeless body. The impact of the car accident had proven to be too much for her.
As I entered the ship, I could see four walls, four gray beings, and a bed awaiting me.They reminded me of the four walls in my room at the hospital. I had been there for a while. After suffering my third stroke, I didn’t think I could go on. That was when my son Bruce had come to see me. I was overjoyed, especially at the news of he and his wife Carly were expecting. They stayed for a while, but eventually they had to go. Even though I wasn’t well, I managed to call a cab to drive me back home. Back near the farm where I grew up. I knew I was going to die, I just couldn’t do it in a hospital. As I rolled my chair through the front yard, I sensed a powerful presence of light. I stopped and wrapped myself in the blankets as the green and white light encompassed my body and my ascension began.
Brice Parker’s bedroom was quiet, aside from the faint hum of the pewter coated ceiling fan and occasional rustle of blankets. The only emission of light was from the LED alarm clock and charging light on his cell phone. Brice had just finished a series of long work days with many more to come, not to mention his four-hour round trip commute.
His boss had given his team an escalated deadline that left little time for anything else. The social media project that he had been working on required a lot of computer data research, analysis, and attention to details. Brice had stared at his computer screen for many hours that particular day with very minimal breaks, leaving his eyes strained and exhausted.
The constant flickers and distorted images of light, from his computer screen, remained imbedded even after closing his eyes more than 30 minutes prior. He thought they would soon dissipate and he could drift off to sleep like every previous night in his life before. Unfortunately for Brice the light flickers remained and even somewhat multiplied.
Hours went by as Brice laid in his bed, watching the light show as he grimaced from exhaustion. After finally giving in to the flickering light induced insomnia, he couldn’t bare to look at his alarm clock. As his wake up time approached, Brice noticed that the flickering light he watched behind closed eyes began to take more substantial form and resemble words from articles he had read online. Brice knew he had been working long hours and perhaps that was contributing to his eye strain. He thought perhaps a visit to the doctor was in order, but he knew there was no time.
Brice began his morning with his usual hard-boiled eggs, chased by a cup of green tea. Brice was very health conscious and rarely veered from his ketogenic diet. No sugar, no processed foods. If he did ingest carbohydrates, it was from raw whole foods.
Amidst his commute to the office, Brice noticed that the images of light, articles, and such would become more prevalent each time he closed his eyes. In fact, during the two-hour commute, he would lose chunks of time. Sometimes fifteen minutes or so. When he arrived at the office, he could barely recall the commute at all. In fact he could recall more social media content than he could the ambulance, fire truck, or parade that he had passed.
In a panic, Brice grabbed his Starbucks coffee cup from his car console and walked across the parking lot. On the way, as he gulped down the remainder of joe and realized that he didn’t remember purchasing it. In fact, he remembered that he didn’t even like coffee. Somewhat stunned by the sudden realization, he briefly sat on the bench next to the entrance and closed his eyes. Almost immediately, the lights and images began. First it was a Facebook post, then came twitter, and Instagram, etc… Brice began to rub his bloodshot eyes in an attempt to control the images. However, it only increased the speed and fluctuation. Brice placed his palms over his face and dropped his head between his knees as one of his coworkers walked by and noticed that Brice appeared to be having some distress.
“Brice….you OK?”, said Charlie Simpson as he placed his hand on his shoulder in an attempt to comfort him. Brice looked up at Charlie and became immediately enraged. Brice quickly arose and grabbed Charlie by the shirt and shoved him to the ground.
“Fuck you!” said Brice as he sat back down and replanted his face in his palms, closing his eyes and dreading the images.
“Damn it, Brice! What is wrong with you! We’ve been friends since elementary school!”, said Charlie as he dusted himself off, offered his friend a gesture, and made his way into the building in order to not be late.
As Brice sat back down, he recalled their friendship, but couldn’t recall exactly why he was so angry with Charlie. Each time he closed his eyes, the anger grew. He didn’t know why, but he felt compelled to kill him. In a rage, Brice sprang up and marched towards the entrance of the building. When he lifted his arm towards the microchip scanner, the doors opened and everything went dark.
As he came to, Brice was once again lying in his bed, staring into closed eyelids viewing vast amounts of social media at enormous rates of speed. As each image of a post appeared, Brice’s emotions swung from anger, to sadness, to happiness, and all places in between. Feeling as though he was going insane, he went to his kitchen to clear his thoughts and maybe find something to eat. To his surprise, his cupboards were filled with all sorts of famous name brand snacks. His refrigerator was filled with the same. Brice had no recall of buying any of those things, but partook nonetheless. Soon after eating his third cupcake and soda, Brice passed out and fell to his kitchen floor.
Twenty four hours had passed and Brice was once again making his commute to the office. He felt sluggish from all of the junk food, but the computer images, flickering lights, and social media posts had stopped. Brice thought that perhaps the insulin spike was maybe what he needed.
As Brice sat down at his desk and booted up his computer to begin working on the project, everything once again went dark. When he awakened a few moments later, the computer images, flashes of light began. That time, he didn’t fight it. In fact, Brice was no longer in control of his own brain. He no longer had an identity. He felt compelled to do whatever the social media posts told him to do. As his mind scrolled through his Facebook page, he saw a post in which his friend Charlie Simpson had embraced the newly elected President’s actions on Twitter. Instantly Brice became angry. He stood up from his black leather office chair and walked over to Charlie’s cubicle, grabbing a pair of scissors along the way. Without blinking, Brice grabbed the back of Charlie’s head and drove the scissors through his temple. Charlie died instantly without much of a struggle.
Six months had passed and Brice was eating lunch from his cell on death row. As he chewed his bologna sandwich, he smiled as the current memes regarding politics scrolled through his brain. Seconds later, he came upon one that made him angry. It was a Facebook post from Phil, the prison guard standing outside Brice’s cell. Phil, had posted a meme mocking the legalization of marijuana. Brice called to the guard to approach him as he slowly lowered the shank from his orange sleeve. Brice was no longer in control of his mind. Artificial intelligence had overtaken him. He not only had been working on the social media project, he was the project. The conditioning.
Photo taken from:http://www.moviefancentral.com/walkingdeadlover/top10s/26465
As a child growing up in the 70’s and 80’s I grew to love the horror movie genre as a whole, especially the slasher films that were at their height of popularity in that time. Friday the thirteenth, Halloween, and a Nightmare on Elm Street film series were the most famous of the franchises. Freddy, Jason, and Michael Myers were so iconic, that they have each since been modernized and remade for a new generation. Unfortunately, it’s just not the same for me. The original cinematography and viewing format was something special, even on VHS (which is making a comeback btw). I don’t feel putting a modern spin can ever recreate the same experience.
Each of the new films were okay, but just didn’t have the same feel as the originals. Maybe if I had never seen them as a kid, I may feel differently. I mean Jackie Earle Haley was an excellent Freddy, but he isn’t Robert Englund. Robert had a one of a kind flare that walked a fine line between humor and terror. One minute you were laughing at his one liners and the next you were panicking and wondering when the hell that chick is going to wake up! Let’s not forget the bubble bath scene. How iconic was that? I defy anyone to get into a bathtub without thinking of that. I’ll stick to showers! 😉
Rob Zombie did a great job in recreating the terror that struck Haddonfield, but nothing can replicate the aura of creepiness that John Carpenter harnessed in his 1978 masterpiece. The musical score alone makes me apprehensive each time I hear it. Not to mention the creepy white-faced Captain Kirk (William Shatner) mask. That was genius. You can’t forget the original scream queen herself, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), was phenomenal. She had the perfect balance of vulnerability, toughness, and beauty that you want in a horror movie heroine. Let’s also not forget Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasance). Malcolm Mcdowell was excellent in the remake and I don’t think anyone alive in 2007 could have done a better job. However, Donald Pleasence had such a commanding presence and creepy vibe that if he were to tell me my Lucky Charms were haunted, I would believe him. He had a way of delivering his lines that was almost storytelling as he painted the evil picture that was Michael Myers. In some ways he reminded me a little of the late Vincent Price.
I liked Supernatural’s Sam Winchester (Jared Padalecki) in the Friday the thirteenth 2009 remake, but there was something about the build up in the original movie series that showed the slow progression of the evil known as Jason Voorhees. Instead, they jammed it into one movie. Not to mention that they made Jason some sort of crossfit douche instead of the slow plodding creeper that seems to always be one step ahead, even though he barely moved. Don’t get me wrong, after part four of the original, the franchise spiralled out of control, but in my opinion the burlap bag with one eyehole, in part two, was the creepiest of all Jason’s looks and needed a bigger share of screen time. Maybe if Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) were to have cameoed in the ‘67 jamming to “Carry on Wayward Son” and beheaded Jason with the “first blade”, I would have felt differently. (Hint: if that happens, I want creative rights.) 😉
You can replicate the stalking music, masks, and gratuitous boob shots, but you can’t replicate a time period. An era that had vulnerability. There was no internet, no cell phones, and no GPS. It was lot more difficult to stay safe if you were lost in the woods, at home alone trying to stay awake, broken down in the middle of nowhere, or babysitting on Halloween night. All in all, I wish Hollywood would refrain from these type of remakes. They were good in their own right, but each time I see the “big three” in the original formats I am transported back in time.
The modern horror industry has a variety of sub genres that seem to have quite a following, but they haven’t mastered the slasher movie. Instead of replicating past horror icons, I would like to see a new slasher on the scene that has the sustainability of a Freddy, Jason, or Michael Myers. I may sound like the grumpy old man who doesn’t like anything new, but I actually liked the remakes. However, I think their efforts would have been better creating their own original slasher. I understand that there is a lot of money wrapped up in making movies today and studios are hesitant to take a risk, but don’t forget that the original Halloween movie was made on a budget of $300,000.
It was Halloween night in 1965. The weather was cool, around 50 degrees fahrenheit, but dry. The autumn leaves blew across our suburban street like tumbleweeds. I had recently turned 16, so I was a bit old for trick or treating and my father forbade me from dating until I was in college. My parents would, however, let me pass out candy while they watched horror movies on our new Curtis Mathes color television. I loved seeing the creative costumes and I would sneak a baby ruth now and again.
It was towards the end of the trick or treating hours and I could see our neighbors had begun turning off their porch lights. While I was ready to shut it down as well, the doorbell rang. I grabbed the last of our candy in my mother’s black witch’s cauldron bowl and opened the door. There he stood, a handsome boy dressed as a prince. Our eyes met and I was smitten, but I had to make sure my father didn’t find out.
“Megan, shut the light off, it’s late and trick or treating is over. Only people up to no good are out now”, yelled my father as I exchanged telephone numbers with the prince via candy wrappers.
“I am, father, just passing out the rest of the candy. You know mother doesn’t like it lying around the house”, I said as I smiled at my prince and closed the door.
“Ok, lock up and come watch scary movies with us, there’s popcorn”, said my father as he shoveled the buttery deliciousness in his face.
Just as I went to sit down, the doorbell rang again. My father told me to leave it alone, but I was hoping to see my prince one more time and ran to the door.
It had been only a few moments, but it felt like hours since it all started. Why did I open the door. My father warned me not to. He said that trick or treating was over and that whoever is out past midnight is probably up to no good. He said that and I didn’t listen. He was right. My innocent curiosity took a turn for the worse as the trick-or-treater shoved me out of the way and made a beeline for my parents as they watched television from our cushy denim sofa. The blade of the knife cut straight through the plush red pillow that my father held up in defense. The pillow nor my father’s greasy popcorn hand were a match as the steel blade pierced through it all and straight into my father’s neck, severing his jugular vein. Next up, it plunged through my mother’s home decor magazine as she watched the pointy end get buried between her eyes. Blood spewed all over the blue afghan blanket that my aunt Ida knitted for me on my birthday last year. He laughed hysterically and continued hacking until they were in pieces, while I stared in shock at the blood and the human salsa that used to be my parents.
I ran as fast as I could, up and down the stairs, in and out of rooms. I couldn’t get away. I thought perhaps, he was toying with me. I tried to call for help, but the phone lines were down. Still in shock, I made a run for the front door. That’s where he finally caught me and it all went dark.
I have no idea how long I was out. It seemed like an eternity. I’m also not sure what made me shiver more, my bruised naked body lying on the freezing cold concrete floor or the fear of what was has happened and what may yet happen. Either way, dying from hypothermia would be welcome in lieu of the unthinkable that I witnessed the monster do to my parents.The wire cable that secured my hands and feet was so tight that it cut into my skin and blood trickled to the floor as I lamented my fate.
I could see his reflection in the broken mirror on the wall of my dimly lit basement. He was standing there staring at me in a blood soaked clown mask, laughing and holding the butcher knife to my throat. He tilted his head slightly as though he was in thought about what to do next. I closed my eyes in anticipation of the horror that I was sure was to come, but it didn’t. Seconds later I opened my eyes and he was gone.
I tried to squirm out of the wire cable, but it was too tight. In fact I could feel my hands and feet begin to go numb. Even if I did slip out, I had no idea what I would do anyway. I thought he was probably waiting for me in the shadows, but he never came back. After a while the police came and I was eventually rescued and relatively unharmed, except for cuts and scrapes and seemingly irreparable mental damage. I spent the rest of my youth with my Aunt Ida, who lived only a few blocks away.
Fast forward in time. It was sixteen years later. I was 32 years old, a full grown adult. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t think of that horrific night. I miss my parents everyday, but years of therapy, medication, and the support of loved ones had helped me cope with the atrocity. In fact, I ended up marrying that trick or treating prince from that horrific night. His name was Charles. We started dating in high school, just after that Halloween night. He hadn’t changed a bit, except for the graying hair on his temples. We had a lovely Eight year old daughter, named Claire. She was the light of our life. Her long blonde hair reminded me of myself at that age. We were happy.
That year I had decided that it was time for me to officially move on and enjoy Halloween once again. Claire’s third grade class was going to have a party and go trick or treating, so Claire needed a costume. I loved my daughter and I refused to buy one of the cheap box costumes at the department store. I wanted my daughter to enjoy the season as much as I did, prior to the horror. We decided to make a costume together.
“Mommy, I want to help, but I don’t know if I want to be a clown or a fairy”, said Claire as I held her hand while we climbed the attic stairs of the old house we bought on third street. It was the house Charles grew up in, about three blocks from where I grew up.
“Sure sweetheart, I think you would make an excellent fairy. We can surprise your father, he’ll be home soon”, I said as we began going through some old trunks and boxes. We were looking for whatever we could piece together. There were some things that Charles’s parents left behind. I was hoping maybe I could piece together something, maybe some of Charles sister’s old costumes would still be around.
“Look mommy, I like this one. It’s not a fairy, but please can I be this one?”, said Claire as she stood in front of me wearing an old bloodstained clown mask. I was in shock. It looked to be the same mask worn by the monster that took my parents 16 years ago. Immediately, the memory that I had worked so hard to repress from that night rushed into my mind. I stood paralyzed in fear.
“Hi honey, what are you guys doing up here?”, said Charles as he entered the attic, closed the door, and tilted his head slightly as though he was in thought of what to do next.
The echo was deafening and my nostrils burned from the acidic aroma wafting from the revolver. Even from point blank range, the bullet sailed over my right shoulder and struck the china cabinet in the corner. I looked deep into his weathered gray eyes and watched his fear dissipate as my claws clamped on his neck and he grew ever closer to death. The roar of the gunfire left me unable to hear his cries or moans, I felt unsatisfied. I needed more. I needed him to pay for what he had done. Mutilation had to ensue, but it was far from over. The bloodletting did not satiate my appetite for the kill. I wanted him to pay. As I stripped the last tendon from his bones, everything went black.
As a boy, I was a bit on the frail side. In my dreams, I longed for the heroic feats of the mythological heroes I read about. However, in reality, it took me two hands to open our front door and a struggle to lug my blue canvas book bag from school. My mother always said that eventually I would grow big and strong like my father, but I just needed to be patient. I never knew my father, he died before I was born. My mother would tell me tales about him. She would go on and on about how he was a late bloomer like me.
“Be patient my son, in time you will grow big and strong like your father. He was small, like you and then one day he wasn’t. It runs in the family you know”, she would say.
Five years after I was born, my mother remarried. She felt obligated to provide security for me and thought that an adult male figure in my life would provide structure and responsibility. Unfortunately she chose a miserable soul. I hated him. My stepfather, the Captain, was rather unimpressed by my small, anemic structure as he was a large strapping man with thick bronze hands and a sturdy back. Even at a young age I could sense his disappointment. He blamed my mother for my inadequacies as there was no way a child from his bloodlines could ever be quite that insubstantial.
Most nights, when his boat was ashore, he would verbally assault my mother and I as he scarfed down whatever food that she had worked hard all day to procure and prepare. Nothing was ever good enough. I’m sure at one time they loved each other, but those days seemed to have passed. Other than the ritualistic berating at dinner, the Captain rarely spoke to us. We were elated when he was out to sea and depressed upon his return.
My mother was a good, decent, and hard working woman. She spent her mornings, hours before any of us awoke, working for the local fish monger. She didn’t earn much, but without that income, we would have starved. The Captain spent more than half of his earnings on gambling, booze, and whores. My mother knew of his carousing, but felt somehow obligated to hold the family together.
It was my sixteenth birthday, which is significant because in most of the homes on the shore, it was a right of passage for the boy to join his father on his ship when he reached that age. However, as an undersized and frail teen with a penchant for books, the sea was the last place I wanted to be. Unfortunately the Captain saw it differently. That night he arrived home enraged and in a drunken stupor. My mother and I were having a piece of strawberry cake by the fire and talking about the tales of Poe that I had been reading.
“Where is the boy! Where is Sam!”, screamed the Captain as he slammed open the kitchen door wielding a revolver. He grabbed me by the collar, knocking the dish of cake from my hands which crashed into the cabinet in the corner, breaking the glass. My mother began to cry as the plate that was knocked from my hands was part of a family heirloom set of china that was handed down for generations in her family. Her tears fell to the oriental rug as she picked up the broken pieces and wiped the pink frosting from the cabinet window.
“Pack your suitcase we’re leaving tonight!”, said the Captain as he shoved me towards the staircase and scarfed down what remained of my birthday cake.
“Go on boy! It’s time you become a man!”, shouted the Captain as my mother begged him to leave me be.
In tears, I bolted upstairs and gathered my things. I didn’t want to go with him, but I was terrified of the consequences upon my refusal. I soon finished packing my belongings into my tan suitcase and headed back downstairs. As I turned the corner to head into the living room, I could see my mother pleading with the Captain to leave me alone, but he wasn’t having it. He grew angrier and struck her in the head with the butt end of his nickel plated revolver, rendering my mother unconscious.
“Mother!….Leave her alone, or so help me I’ll…”, I shouted at him as I dropped the suitcase and lunged towards him.
“You’ll what…just what is a frail little weakling going to do!”, said the Captain as he knocked me across the room.
I was dazed, but I grew even angrier. I could feel all of the years of mental and physical abuse building a profound sense of rage inside me. Suddenly a horrible pain radiated all over my body. It was a piercing pressure that felt like I was going to burst. I screamed in agony as I ripped the shirt from my body and tore at the flesh on my face. The Captain’s eyes grew as huge as if he were staring at death itself . I could feel the pain turn into a heightened feeling of power and agility. I screamed and howled as I saw my reflection in the china cabinet glass. I had become a hideous wolf-like beast with the carnal need to gorge on flesh.
The Captain’s hands began to quiver as he lifted his revolver and pointed it in my direction. He tried to speak, but I couldn’t wait. I wanted him dead. I bared my newly developed canine-like fangs and lunged at his face with the full intention of killing, when the Captain pulled the trigger.
In the morning I was awakened by my mother humming and scrubbing the floor underneath the oriental rug where I had mutilated my stepfather. I could smell sausages cooking in the background and cinnamon apples. I was groggy and had a hard time remembering exactly what happened. It had to be a dream.
“Good morning sunshine! I hope you’re hungry. You should be, you worked up an appetite”, she said as she smiled while picking up her pail of blood stained water and headed into the kitchen.
“Mother, what happened last night? Where is the Captain?”, I said as I followed her in the kitchen.
“Oh honey, you’re just like your father. Could you be a dear and grab some of our good china and set the table, we’re celebrating”, said my mother as she turned the sausages cooking in the cast iron skillet.
I didn’t know what to think or what had happened. I walked back into the living room to get the china, when I noticed there were several pieces missing and the glass was broken. At that moment, it all came back to me. It wasn’t a dream. What have I become.