Nothing to fear but…

Fear itself?

What scares the scary?

What’s the longest time you’ve ever gone between starting watching a film and finishing watching a film? My record, as of today is 34 years. In 1981, back in the days of videos, there was about 3 video recorders in the entire village. There was this thing called the Video Club. Once a month, we would all gather expectantly around a little TV screen in a cold, damp musty hut to watch the latest video release. Sometimes they were brand-new films; sometimes they were ‘classics’. Once a month, someone would bring this hallowed piece of technology to share with us cave dwellers. Teasing us with a glimpse of the future.

On the night in question, it was a classic of sorts being shown. Certainly now it is considered to be a classic of the genre. Back in those days it was just before the heyday of the Video Nasty. It had been made about eight years before, back in the early 70s.

At the time of its release, I remember one of my brothers being obsessed with an album he’d bought called “Tubular Bells” He played it constantly, every waking hour. It drove us all to distraction. It was only when I heard that music over the (slightly less) tinny television speakers that the penny dropped. If you haven’t already guessed which film I mean, you should probably twig if I say “pea soup” and “Your mother cooks socks in Hell” (okay, I was paraphrasing wildly with that last one). Got it now?

I didn’t actually get through it all in one sitting. It got to said projectile pea soup scene and my nerve broke. I ran back home. And I mean ran. Bearing in mind that home was nearly 2 miles away up a 30 degree hill, and walking it usually took a good 25-30 minutes. I did it in 10.

I did not sleep that night.

At all.

All night.

In fact, I bizarrely decided to sit up and read through my copy of the New Testament, with anything to do with demons and exorcisms being duly noted and mentally filed away for future reference…

As you do.

What made matters worse – and more ominous – was that that night there was a particularly vicious storm that whipped up out of nowhere the moment I got home. There were foul gale force winds and rain that felt like lead shot against my bedroom windows. I wondered if old Nick was personally trying to tell me off. Let’s face it – I was scared. At one point the wind blasted a dustbin lid into my window and I think I may have had a teeny accident…

So, 34 years later, I decided to watch it, intending to make it through to the end this time. I sat there with my bag of popcorn, ready to be terrified all over again. My iPad to distract me from the more horrific moments. The Remote Control within easy reach just in case it got too much for me again. The ‘off’ button is always the last resort, isn’t it?

To my surprise, I had actually watched over half of it originally. My main memories of it were nothing like what I experienced this time around. If anything, it was quite tedious, and I had to resist the temptation to hit the Fast Forward button. I was willing to hurry up to get to the pea soup, and disappointed the spider walk scene never made the cut.

After two hours, I found myself thinking “Uh, is that it??” I had been prepared to be terrified all over again. I realise that, actually, it wasn’t scary at all. There could be a number of reasons why this was the case.

  • More than 30 years on, I’m older, more experienced, and life has taught me there are things worth being scared of. This wasn’t one of them.
  • Also, being older, I am more spiritually mature and can see this for the piece of fiction it is. Perhaps the Devil just doesn’t scare me any more.
  • Thanks to Special Effects and the increasingly warped imaginations of filmmakers, films are able to be a lot scarier now and they used to be. You can show a lot more now than you used to do back in the 70s.

I was so prepared to be frightened, and what frightened me back then probably does not frighten me now. Do we get frightened, or more frightened of being frightened? That’s why we don’t like walking in dark rooms, or putting our hands into feely bags. Think about this – how often have you seen a film in the cinema that was really scary at the time, and then you saw it again on DVD at home and wondered what the fuss had been? Or missed a film that everyone overhyped the horror of, and then you watched it at home, only to be bitterly disappointed? I know I’ve been to see films where camaraderie sprang up within the audience as we jumped and shrieked together and shared the jump moments together. Everyone feeds off each other’s fear.

Now who’s the vampire? Just saying…

 


Follow me on Twitter @EverydayVampire

 

BOO! Made ya look…

Genetics Schmenetics!

Before I start my tangent-ridden ramble, I thought I better put your mind at rest.  There’s that one question, isn’t there? The one you want to ask. The fangéd elephant in the room…

Can someone be turned into a vampire?

Actually, the real question is, if we were to meet, would I bite you? You just didn’t want to upset me by being that direct..? Well, we’re back to genetics again. It’s like anything, I suppose. It can live dormant in your cells and you may never ever know you are a carrier. Until of course, the right bite comes along. I guess in that respect, it’s a bit like a cold sore. A cold sore with benefits.

And, while we are at it, let’s get a few more stereotypes binned. No, I do not waft around brooding mysteriously. I am not lovesick for some mortal. In fact I am happily married, thank you very much.

I do not drink blood. I mean, imagine that: every meal, every day – yuck? Dull. In fact I can’t even eat red meats, or any meat -or any milk, even. I used to when I was a child, but then it started getting weird. I went from liking steak as a burnt offering (which was just as well, as my mum used to use the smoke alarm as a timer to tell her when dinner was done), to gradually preferring medium steak and then getting progressively rarer, until one day I found myself eating it raw. And craving it. That’s when I realised I had a problem and I stopped. It was making me ill.

No surf and turf for this baby.

So… no brooding, no blood, no real sparkling, no spontaneous combustion, no wafting around in gloriously Gothic garments while listening to Lacuna Coil. Okay… perhaps I’ll admit to that last one. But then, I am equally likely to be found listening to Imagine Dragons or AC/DC. I’m eclectic.

Oh, and of course, I don’t rip anybody’s throat out. But that doesn’t mean I’m not tempted to, on occasion. Let’s face it, who isn’t?!  That temptation is not unique to vampires! Generally, if anyone gets annoyed with me, I like to say ‘why don’t you bite my head off? It will make jumping down my throat so much easier.’

Garlic. Love it. It’s just the papery stuff on the outside that I can’t stand. Smells all dusty and shroudy plus it hurts like a bad ‘un if you get it stuck under your nails when you’re cleaning it. And I prefer to keep my nails short. I can’t stand long nails. Oh, we’re back to the talons again. But these beautiful girls you see with those long nails (Banksy should hire those nails out by the yard)…. How do they live? How do they wipe their bums? I guess they can toast marshmallows well. Unless of course that shellac stuff is flammable…

People’s views of my eating habits are wide and varied. My carnivore friends think I’m a vegetarian. My vegetarian friends think I am a vegan. My vegan friends think I am a raw vegan. I have never asked my raw vegan friends what they think I eat. I’m running out of links on the food chain.

I remember, one day, my mum catching me down in the cellar, licking my broken umbrella. It tasted deliciously metallic. The same day she had decided I was old enough to have my first cup of tea. That was a thing in my family. It was some kind of right-of-passage thing. Anyway. I was presented with this steamy cup of milky oblivion (milk? Really, Mother!) and was expected to drink it on front of this baited-breathed audience. The Roman Coliseum had nothing on this.

So I took a mouthful. Hmph. Not impressed. It had a metallic tang, but nothing as satisfying as my umbrella handle.

And that’s when I said it.

“I’d rather drink blood. “

Needless to say, I was never made to drink the stuff again. And my little TMI moment was never mentioned again. It was a relief, to be honest. At least they never sat me down as a self-conscious teen and gave me the “Have you tried not being a vampire?” routine.

I know my parents did blame themselves when they finally realised I wasn’t like my brothers and sisters. Still, I guess they have their own demons to deal with. Mine just happens to be me – if you listen to all the occult ‘experts’ and people who’ve watched way too many movies on Netflix.

But luckily for me, no one has staked me through the heart. Although you’d be surprised at just how many things that will kill. And no, I’m not counting that unfortunate time when I went to the Ideal Home Exhibition and got a cocktail stick stuck in my foot while wondering through the aperitifs bar. That was painful and, far worse: it was downright embarrassing. Imagine being slain by Buffet the Vampire Slayer… Oh! The shame! I still can’t look at mini sausages without wincing.

I didn’t answer your question, did I? The one about biting you?  Oh well…

 


Follow me on Twitter @EverydayVampire