Tis Pity He's a Writer

Richard Daybell – Novels, stories and short humor

By the Pricking of My Thumbs, Something Wicked This Way Comes

Another summer done gone.  Segue to fair season — county fairs, state fairs, and, in Vermont, a world’s fair — conjuring up visions of junk food, sleazy barkers, and adolescent passion amid the pigs and pumpkins.  Then October arrives.   The nights are longer, darker and more mysterious.  The frost is on the pumpkins and death is in the air as we creep toward  Hallowe’en, the night the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead disappears and the dead roam freely among us (at least that’s what those wild and crazy Celts believed).    It’s a time of things passing strange, things that go bump in the Vermont night, things that make us afraid, very afraid.  Why?  Maybe it’s that idea of spring as a beginning, winter as the end, with autumn therefore hastening us to our grave. Maybe it’s just all that darkness.  It’s not that dread exactly descends upon us this time of year.  We seek it out, hoping to be scared.  We even pay to be scared, visiting haunted places, reading scary books, and watching scary movies.

We’ll pick up a good frightening book to take to bed, reading while trying to ignore the sound of twigs snapping just outside our window and strange animal noises that seem awfully close.  Here’s a very short list of chilling classics:  Dracula by Bram Stoker, The Shining by Steven King, The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells, Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin, Turn of the Screw by Henry James, and practically any short story by Edgar Allen Poe.

I’m sure there are many I’ve forgotten, overlooked or don’t know about.  Please tell me about some of your favorites, and I’ll add them to the list.

Of course, we also need to spend a few nights with some popcorn and a good hair-raising movie.  All of the above books have been made into or inspired movies — Dracula some 200 of them.
For last year’s movies, we took in two classics from the 30s, Frankenstein (it’s alive, it’s alive) and the creepy, unsettling Freaks. We also did Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Psycho, and Night of the Hunter — good chills all around.  We need a list for this year so help us out with your spookiest.  We prefer to have our shivers served without a lot of gratuitous gore and graphic violence.   We avoid any movie that ends with  . . .of the Dead, for this will surely feature cannibalistic zombies with decomposing bodies, and I will be up on my soapbox shouting: “Real zombies don’t eat people.”  And we’re not partial to chainsaws.

Your suggestions please.

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18 comments on “By the Pricking of My Thumbs, Something Wicked This Way Comes

  1. melanielynngriffin
    October 5, 2012

    Did you ever see The Frogs? or maybe it was just Frogs? Really dreadful horror movie from the early 70’s. Hard to know which was more horrifying, the script, the acting, the sideburns & miniskirts, or the man eating amphibians. So wonderfully bad! A nature-takes-revenge story. No gore, that i recall, just a lot of “don’t go in there, don’t go in there, OH MAN!”

    Like

    • elroyjones
      October 5, 2012

      I saw that movie when I was 10 and I have been in therapy ever since. It was awful in every context but at 10 the awfulness was confined to the frogs; were’t there excessive spiders too? I’ve successfully repressed the horror of it all. Excellent choice and a good pick for a cult following.

      Like

      • Richard Daybell
        October 5, 2012

        Afraid of frogs? I love it.

        Like

        • elroyjones
          October 5, 2012

          Frogs are just the beginning. I’m not afraid of all frogs just the ones in that movie. Watch it, you and Linda will be sleeping with the lights on. I can’t recall any gore but there was a lot of nature run amok.

          Like

          • Richard Daybell
            October 5, 2012

            It will be on our list. No frog has ever kept me awake. Nature runs amok in our backyard all summer long — killer woodchucks, flesh-eating weeds. Bring ’em on. But no clowns.

            Like

            • elroyjones
              October 5, 2012

              It will be right up your alley; it’s classified as eco-horror, apparently.

              Like

    • Richard Daybell
      October 5, 2012

      I remember. Ray Milland was a badass destroying the environment, but the environment won, frogs and all. Good bad movie.

      Like

  2. Beth Crane
    October 5, 2012

    It doesn’t fit your criteria at all, but my favorite Halloween movie is, of course, Arsenic and Old Lace.

    Like

  3. texaswitchtwin
    October 5, 2012

    I don’t think I have a favorite favorite Halloween movie. Growing up on horror movies (Thanks, Dad), I’ve come to have quite a list. Thankfully, none of them include clowns.

    Like

    • Richard Daybell
      October 5, 2012

      Clowns can be the scariest. I was frightened by Clarabelle on Howdy Doody who your father is probably too young to remember. Titles from your list?

      Like

  4. vyvacious
    October 9, 2012

    I hate Hate HATE scary movies!! I spend the entire time either using people as my human shield or with my hands doing weird disco moves in front of my eyeballs to help keep me distracted FROM the movie. Haha!

    But for some reason, this year, I decided to attend a Night of the Dead Show/Play (?) and I am scared out of my mind. I’ll let you know how it goes even though if you’re not a fan of those kinds of zombies. I heard the zombies fall on audience members sometimes. I’m bringing my Batman snuggie to keep me safe.

    Like

    • Richard Daybell
      October 10, 2012

      I can’t imagine a more entertaining evening than having a zombie fall on me. I think you’ll need more than a Batman snuggie.

      Like

      • vyvacious
        October 10, 2012

        Me neither 😛

        I know. Hence why I dragged my poor friend into it. I’m not sure if he’ll be more scared of the zombies or me clawing away at him in terror.

        Like

  5. Kenton Lewis
    October 10, 2012

    Night of the Hunter, Robert Mitchum at his best. One of my favorites. Who would have known Peter Graves’ would have gone on the become so popular.

    Like

    • Richard Daybell
      October 10, 2012

      I agree. And then there’s Cape Fear. In contrast to these two, I saw him in a comedy of manners a couple of weeks ago (The Grass is Greener).

      Like

      • Kenton Lewis
        October 10, 2012

        Forgot Cape Fear, that was one of his greats. Disliked him so much you liked him.

        Like

        • Richard Daybell
          October 10, 2012

          I googled him. Well over a hundred films. So many I had forgot. An underappreciated actor.

          Like

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