What if this is it? What if Heaven and Hell are false? When you blink out and your Neurons stop flashing and your heart stops beating that's it? No dreaming, no clouds, no dead relatives, no memories, no reincarnation, no continuation. This thought utterly terrifies me and I'm not sure why.
When people ask my religion my easy answer is Agnostic. I was raised by a Japanese father and Mexican mother so i spent time equally at Catholic Churches and Buddhist temples. As an angsty teen i renounced religion and questioned Gods. Now as a grown man i know man made religion is full of falsities and hypocrites but God, or a God, is something i want to believe in. A Muslim gentleman i worked with once told me our bodies are vessels, no different than cars or machines. But our spirits, our souls live on forever. I want to believe that so bad but what if that is false hope. What if when you die, you die. No dreaming. No clouds. No dead relatives. No reincarnation. No continuation. No answers.
In honor of Halloween i present things that scare the crap out of me.
2 - Death.
I turned 40 years old last December and while the stereotypical mid-life crisis of red corvettes and blond bimbo mistresses seems to have eluded me i have never felt more aware of my own mortality. It mostly seems to manifest itself in relation to my son who today is turning 6. I quit smoking 4 years ago because i want to be there for him when he grows up. I want to be there when he gets married. I want to be around as long as i can and yet i can't help doing the age math. When he's 21 i will be 55! Man that's depressing.
I've also begun looking at things with my mortality in mind. For example I'll look at a book and think "I'll probably never read that book again before i die' or " I'll never see that film again before i die." And then I'll think "what a morbid, stupid thing to think." And then I'll proceed to read the book or watch the film as my way to spite Death.
I also think of this quote and it haunts me. It's from The Sheltering Sky a 1949 novel by Paul Bowles.
"Because we don’t know when we will die, we get to think of life as an
inexhaustible well, when everything only happens a certain number of
times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you
remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that’s so
deeply a part of your being that you cannot even conceive of your life
without it? Perhaps 4 or 5 times more. Perhaps not even that. How many
more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it
all seems limitless."
With Halloween approaching i thought it would be fun to look at some things that scare the shit out of me.
1- 1970's horror films. I think this has a lot to do with me being a kid in the 70's watching these movies. I also appreciate the way these films look more realistic without all the "blue" lighting to symbolize night. I also like to watch a scene "play out" in its own time, not fast, Mtv type cuts and stupid genre music interludes. These are some of my Favorites and as a 40 year old man who doesn't scare too easy most days, these still give me the willies.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
My parents actually took me to the theater to see this. I have never seen a scarier film. The music, the sound effects, the lighting, the realism. No one has ever come close to this kind of masterpiece. All without showing a drop of blood or a severed head. No gratuitous sex scenes or boob shots. Near the end when the girl jumps outside the house into the daylight i felt numb. I felt like i had been dragged to Hell and let loose. I have never truly felt safe in this world after seeing this film
If (to me) The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is the Granddaddy of scary films then The Exorcist is the Mother of all scary films. This film made a 9 year old scary. Frightening really.Those long shots down the hall with Reagans door in view,scary. A door, it made A DOOR look scary! I can think of no better compliment than that.
I remember seeing this on T.V. as a kid. ON T.V. If i remember correctly this film had real amputees in the film portraying denizens of Hell. It also introduced my feeble mind to the idea that there are 7 gates on Earth that lead to Hell.
Beyond The Door
Never saw this one. Why? Because the Damn T.V. commercial was enough to freak me out for weeks. I used to avoid T.V. when certain shows were opening in theaters for fear of seeing T.V. spots like the one above.
(Matango) Attack of the Mushroom People
In Chicago we had a show on Saturday nights called The Son of Svenghoulie that showed old horror movies of the Karloff, Lugosi variety. Scary films in there own right but again it was the 1970's stuff that scared me. One night he showed Attack of the Mushroom People. I expected a rubber suited Godzilla type film. I saw a surreal nightmare that has never left my mind.