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…

Advertisements

Smoke and Mirrors part 1

Did I ever mention mirrors?

I think I did. Please, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong (said no woman, ever).

I saw this thing the other day. It was a blog telling you how to pretend to be a vampire. It was adorable! It had these really cute pictures and lots of great tips. How did I come across it? I did something that everybody does at some point: I typed my name into Google to see what would come up. Well, not my real name, just my nom d’internet, so to speak. Who hasn’t googled themselves from time to time? You can’t beat a good self-Google, I say.

Anyway, as I said, I came across this gorgeous blog. Written by an enthusiastic teenager, I imagine; given the references to ‘school mates’ and ‘classes’. It was beautifully done – that blogger has a great future ahead of them as a graphic designer. The tips were really sweet, like – always wear sunglasses… well, that’s a one-way ticket to A&E, if you ask me… And things like – never let your friends see you drink; or if you must, make sure you’re drinking tomato juice (you know my view on tomato juice!).

Oh, and of course…

don’t have any mirrors in your home

which I have to agree with. I have one mirror in my home. That’s it. That’s for necessity’s sake. Shaving. I mean, my husband and shaving. Not me! I’m a vampire, not a werewolf!

The reason I don’t have any mirrors is because I have a phobia of them. It stemmed from (as so many phobias do) an incident that happened to me as a small child. This whole thing about vampires and mirrors… you know, the whole ‘a vampire casts no reflection’ thing; although that depends on whatever twist the latest trend is using. Sometimes we have a reflection, sometimes we don’t… The consensus of opinion was always that a vampire doesn’t have a reflection because ‘it’ doesn’t have a soul. (‘it’!! Pffft!)

When you realise that this stuff dates back hundreds of years consider this: mirrors then were not like they are now. They probably weren’t made that well. Whether metal or glass, they almost certainly weren’t flat so only gave you a straight image if you stood right in front of the thing. Therefore, if you stood at an angle, you wouldn’t be seen. Possibly all that would be seen would be the other side of the room. That’s how that one could have started, quite easily! How many times have you seen that little moment in a vampire film? Someone stands in front of a mirror, brushing their hair or whatever, sees nothing but themself, then they turn around and – boom – the vampire is standing there. Cue tense music, flapping of cape and baring of fangs, with obligatory screaming.

However… the person brushing their hair or shaving can see the brush or the razor, and I’m pretty sure brushes and razors don’t have souls either! I just have this image in my head that when we die and go to heaven, we’ll be sat there on our fluffy clouds, playing the harp while surrounded by little hair care accessories with wings…

This also dates back to the days of smudging. I’m all for smudging, if you know what it is, though not for the reason you think, if you knew what smudging was… Er… Anyway… in ye olden days, what they (whoever ‘they’ were) used to do was to take a tied-up bunch of herbs, usually Rosemary or Sage and burn it (a bit like an incense stick).

You have to be careful with Rosemary – it’s very oily and will go up like a rocket if you’re not paying attention! However, accepting for the moment that you’ve got it right, and it’s smouldering away beautifully, you then wave it around doors, windows, and the fireplace – basically, any of the house’s ‘orifices’.

The idea was that smudging – as part of your spring clean – would keep out the evil spirits. How did you know if it had worked? Well, nobody got sick because as everyone knows (or, in those days, knew), sickness is caused by evil spirits. And Rosemary was this magical herb that had the power to ward off these disease-causing evil spirits.

Just goes to show how things change, doesn’t it? Fast forward a few decades/centuries, and it’s discovered that Rosemary is actually a powerful antiseptic. Of course people weren’t being sick. They were disinfecting their house against germs, rather than cheesing off any malevolent spirits with a grudge against the family! So there you go. It’s all a bit of the ‘flat earth’ technology, you know, we’re sure as sure can be of something and then new facts emerge…

What was I talking about? Oh yes, mirrors. The wretched tale of how this vampire became terrified of them….

Oops.


Follow me on Twitter @EverydayVampire