Creating a monster

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I wish the Twilight trilogy had come out when I was a kid. That way, I could have read about vampires and scoffed at these pale pathetic beings. I could have gone to bed to dream of sugar, spice and rainbow-shitting unicorns.

But no. My childhood was pre-Twilight; before Stephenie Meyers managed to dig deep into the recesses of her lack of imagination to create characters that would forever shred all vampiric street cred and turn them into immortal objects of derision.

Before Meyers, there were real writers who didn’t shame the horror genre. They were called Anne Rice and Stephen King. I read their books and watched a young Kiefer Sutherland in Lost Boys and my innocent little brain kept all the images to unleash them before my eyes at night. My imagination, as with most children, was overactive, and gorging it on terrifying books and movies certainly did not help.

Remember in Science class when they told us plants and people compete for oxygen at night and that’s why you shouldn’t sleep with a potted plant in the room? I used to imagine waking up a shriveled gray mass of skin and bone, while a fat grinning cactus sat on my windowsill, thriving off of my oxygen and singing songs from Little Shop of Horrors.

My mind was capable of taking harmless facts and, from them, spinning gruesome horrors, covered in blood and gore and more blood. After reading Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, our pet dog became a radioactive bear-wolf-demon and, if I dared to peer over the covers, I’d be sure to find him poised at the foot of my bed, ready to attack me and take over my body. And no one would ever know that I was missing because my soul would hover in space, unseen for all eternity.

When I read A Christmas Carol, my heart wasn’t filled with yuletide warmth at Scrooge’s conversion into a good guy. No; at Christmas that year, I was convinced that the ghost of Jacob Marley had somehow found its way from the Dickensian world into my Mbarara village – and it was headed towards my bedroom. In the night’s quiet, I heard the infernal rattling of chains and waited for a ghostly face to appear inches from mine, to judge me for whatever sins I might have racked up at that age, and condemn me to an eternity of incessant torture.

I would glance over at where my siblings slept soundly, insulted by their unaffected sleep and swear, swear to never read a book or watch a movie again. I figured that if I stopped feeding my brain with information, it would have nothing to stew into festering terrors to keep me up at night. I resolved to be an ignoramus who could curl up and sleep peacefully.

Inexplicably I’d eventually dose off and wake up to another day, the night’s horrors forgotten. I’d find myself bored and pick up a book about a schizophrenic doctor with an evil alter ego and convince myself that this time, I wouldn’t let it get to my head.

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14 responses »

  1. You just called your brother an ignoramus. I’m going to report you. Hehe.

    But seriously, this was a very impassioned rant, that cut off a little abruptly…?

  2. LOL. I know the feeling. So did you ever get over the nasty dreams brought on by reading or watching scary stuff? I ask because I have never really been able to totally overcome that overactive imagination. Horrors are strictly for the day. That way the intervening daylight hours dilute the images likely to “turn” leafy silhouettes into fully fledged monsters at night.

    • This post was inspired by a scary preview that I was forced to watch at the cinema recently. Sijui Exorcism of Whatnot. So, no, haven’t got over it yet.
      Good to know I’m not the only that hasn’t outgrown this imagination-on-crack syndrome 🙂

      • I have never been scared of/by a picture on a screen since my preteen days..until I saw that preview a month ago.. ‘The Devil Inside’ -goodness gracious… Up to now I shiver at the mere memory..

  3. For me, it started with The Real Ghost Busters, Beatle Juice, Adams Family, Bay Watch Nights… and a bunch of other things whose titles I can’t remember… Now I am stuck in this place where ‘reality’ hOrrOr alone will hit the spOt. Queue up Paranormal Activity along with a posho sack full of paranoia. yep. =)
    Moving along! Stop picking on Steph. I’m suprised J.K Rowling gets no ridicule. She’s the absolute murderer of imagination and fantasy.

    • Harry Potter is not ridiculous. She created an entire world of magic and mayhem and Death Eaters! Yes, she borrowed quite liberally from other fantasy writers, but she stole well.
      Have you read Meyers? Just even an excerpt? I dare you not to be slightly suicidal after.

  4. So yesterday, my professor says in class, “I buried three books in my childhood. Because they scared me.” Him, and my other professor- both intellectuals and successful writers were talking about Hobbit. She (the other prof) liked it but he said how it scared him shitless. And that he buried it.
    A day later, I still giggle at the thought of him burying the books. It made me think of this post.

    • Haha! Is The Hobbit scary? I’ve never read it, but my 3 year old nephew quite liked the cartoon version (I left him watching for the 5th time) 🙂 I like the idea of burying scary books, that’s funny.

  5. What happened to Vampires being scary? Now it’s like Barney and friends. they look like they’re about to break out into song or something. I laughed my head off reading this. Stop tumblring come back and write some more!

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