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Childhood chillers!

Everyone knows that ALL HALLOW’S EVE is just around the corner. The cool weather rolls in and leaves crunch beneath our steps. Wicked creatures start to adorn the doorsteps of even the some of the most “christian” neighborhoods. Fall carnivals and fairs fill empty parking lots with the loud mix of screams and carny music and cackles…smells of beer, corny dogs and cotton candy fill our noses … and I am reminded of a particular movie inspired by a childhood book I read from the creations of Ray Bradbury.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

I remember sitting in my room on the bed, my eyes wide with anticipation for the next paragraph and the next page. So engrossed in the characters’ movements.

Then, they made it a movie and I watched with fascination as the book came to life before my eyes.

The phrase “something wicked this way comes” originates in Act IV scene 1 of William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth. The speaker is the second witch, whose full line is, “By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.” The wicked thing is Macbeth himself, who by this point in the play is a traitor and murderer.

Like many phrases from Shakespeare, it has become a popular choice for titles in pop culture. Its enduring usage may be due in part to Ray Bradbury’s novel of the same name.

IN this particular story, two young boys named Will and Jim encountered a sinister carnival whose proprietor, Mr. Dark, lured the townsfolk to their doom by promising to fulfill their childhood desires. The movie trailer asked, ” What would you give a man who could give you your deepest desires?” The characters of Will, Jim, and Will’s father, Charles Halloway, found out these wishes came at a horrific price and the outcome was left within their own hands.

Here is a link to an intriguing scene:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmRdHVkqS_k&feature=related 

Another childhood chiller, read when I was 10 years of age, Monkey Shines.

This book gave new meaning to the ever-quoted, ” see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”.  The movie did not do as much just to the story, as sometimes is the case. The story told of a quadraplegic who had given up on life until introduced to a monkey named Ella, who had been trained to help invalids by fetching and carrying for them. The monkey turned out to be a part of another experiment, a darker experiment and started to read her master’s darkest thoughts and then carry them out.

The first Stephen King ever read as a child of that same age, Stephen King’s Skeleton Crew. I believe I picked it up thinking it was related to the Monkey shines story because of the cover.

Three of the short stories within this collection were my favorites at the time,  The Milkman, The Monkey and The Word Processor of the Gods (my favorite of the three).

Without giving much recap on these stories, I will say that the milkman bordered on the demented. The monkey made for a good re-telling in a slightly varied version of The “X-files”(Chinga about a doll which was cursed) years later. The Word Processor of the Gods gave a man a chance to re-write and delete parts of his life and became an episode for The Tales of the Darkside series in the mid 80’s.

Each of these stories heightened my sense of the macabre.

As I grew older, around 13, I read more of the dark authors, Poe ( All works), Nathaniel Hawethorne (House of Seven Gables), Henry James (Turn of the Screw), Bram Stoker (Dracula).

By age 16, M.R. James (Ghosts of an Antiquary), Peter Straub (In the Night Room)

and H.P. Lovecraft (The Dunwich Horror). Each of these would keep me up secretly reading, eyes wide in suspense of the end…. and by the biting of my thumbs, wicked dreams would become.

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  1. October 9, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    Something Wicked This Way Comes is one of my sleeper favorites. I haven’t seen it in so long. I’m not sure if I remember seeing Monkey Shines or reading that Stephen King story. You make me want to get the old SK books off the shelf and take in one of his older shorts. Some were really good. I remember liking one called Sometimes They Come Back, not sure if that’s in Skeleton Crew. Anyway, I love this post…I love this Halloween time coming and get really interested in the strange and creepy. Thanks for reminding me of some of these stories. The Turn of the Screw is a great novella, and not a bad movie with Julian Sands as the father who hires the main character to take care of his children.(film in early 90s I think). Happy haunts!

  2. October 17, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Hello fellow horror movie / book lover! lol How have you been? Sorry I’ve been so busy that I just don’t get to read or post lately..but today the world may fall, I don’t care…I’m catching up!!! 🙂

    Love horror and scary!!! Problem is that you can’t really find anything that scary anymore! lol I’m downloading a couple of your mentions here…great stuff!
    I am the same way…reading reading reading, that’s all I used to do!
    Did you ever read … um… Black House or something like that, by King? Not bad..but my fave was always the one he did with Peter Straub… Talisman. I read that several times. 😉 Also, Clive Barker..I used to love his, but then he turned to just trying to shock his readers…maybe ran out of decent ideas. His older books were great. 🙂

    Thanks for the reminder of that feeling. lol Scary at the time, but now I look back and long to feel that naive and scared again! 🙂 xoxo

    Take care hun!
    xox

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