Saturday, 26 April 2008

Nightmares and horror films

Felt like adopting a Vincent Price tone for this post (sadly when I try and do the voice I sound more like Loyd Grosman in drag). We were discussing what it is that scares you, apart from the obvious (Inland Revenue, ant infestations, credit card fraud etc) (vets' bills..) and the first thing I remember being screamingly terrified of as a child was the shadow of my hand on the fridge door. Odd I know, but I was about 18months old and I remember watching the shadow, then moving my hand slightly, and suddenly MY SHADOW FINGERS GOT LONGER AND LONGER AND WITCHY AND LONGER. I recaptured the feeling perfectly when I was a student, watching "Nightmare on Elm Street". It wasn't the slashy gore; it was the way Freddy's arms extended and extended as he walked down a dark alley until they were about 10 feet long.
Which leads me to hypothesise (ooer) that there are two kinds of fear: one is the rational fear of knife-wielding maniacs and body-snatchers (ie random violence and losing one's mind/autonomy), and the other is far more irrational and comes from the inarticulate animal brain - that of things being WRONG, in terms of scale or gravity or logic.
Will now go and sit in the lovely sunshine with a copy of "That Hideous Strength" by C S Lewis - one of my favourite books ever. I still have to adjust my brain a bit when I read it, because I have never forgiven him for unceremoniously dumping Susan at the end of the Narnia books, and there's more than a hint of God's-Own-Anointed nationalism which you have to choose to read as benign rather than bigoted - but I still love it.

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