Horror Week at Davenport Library wraps up today with this terrifying suggestion from Lynn. Read at your own risk!
“Handcarved Coffins” (in the book Music for Chameleons) is a piece of novelistic journalism; Capote’s spare and economical style makes the ever-increasing suspense immediate.
A state cop relates the stories of a series of horrific murders to Capote. The first are killed by rabid rattlesnakes that attack a couple as they open their car doors. The next die in a fire, trapped in their basement. The victims are sent a small, balsa coffin with a candid photograph of themselves. As the murders mount up, the recipients are more aware of their fate and suffer unique torture as they wonder how and when they will die.
The murders are impossible to anticipate and guard against, and, seemingly, have no connection to each other. Their very randomness and the generic small midwestern town setting give the murders a sense of universality – (this could happen to ME). The fact that the victims seem entirely innocent makes the evil more purely heinous. Because this is supposed to be a piece of reportage, Capote never switches perspective to the psychopath, as is so common now. This is a piece of simple, classic horror. And it may be true.
Now it’s your turn – what’s your favorite scary book or movie? Leave a comment!
Here’s Tana’sgruesome entry for Horror Week at Davenport Library. Read it if you dare!
The Washington Post describes The Gargoyle “as engrossing as it is gruesome, the kind of horror you watch with one eye closed.” Truly, the opening scene is horrifying — we witness the unnamed narrator being burned alive. Perhaps even worse, we then watch him endure seemingly endless and excruciating treatments for these burns, treatments so painful that he anxiously awaits his release from the hospital just so he can finally commit suicide. It should be noted that the narrator is no angel — he’s a coke-addicted pornographer, a cynical character most would consider undeserving of redemption. Yet redemption he receives. It comes in the form of visits from a beautiful sculptor, Marianne Engel, who specializes in sculpting gargoyles. The only problem is that Marianne is a fellow patient, a schizophrenic from the pysch ward. She regales him with stories of their love affair – an affair that supposedly took place over 700 years ago in Germany, when she was serving as a scribe in the monastery of Engelthal and he was a wounded mercenary.
As Marianne continues to visit, she shares other tales of deathless love from other countries (Japan, Iceland, Italy) and she earns the trust of both the patient and the hospital staff. It is into her care that he is released. Still, all is not well. Marianne begins a frenzy of work on her final 27 sculptures and the narrator deepens his dependence on morphine. To break his addiction, he literally goes to Hell – here the author leans heavily on allegories from Dante’s Inferno.
Fantastic fiction? Perhaps. Still, a definite page-turner — as long as you can keep one eye open.
Rita brings us this terrifying recommendation for Horror Week at Davenport Library.
This movie is the reason I NEVER go to scary movies. Wait until Dark was produced in 1967. It starred Audrey Hepburn, Alan Arkin and Richard Crenna. It was being shown at the Capitol theater in downtown Davenport. A fellow worker and I went to see it as we both enjoyed the work of Audrey Hepburn. It scared the beejebees out of me. The scarest for me was you thought Audrey Hepburn had finally killed Alan Arkin, and the only light on the screen was from the refrigerator door. All of the sudden Alan Arkin leaps out of the dark into the light of the refrigerator door. I remember everyone in the Capitol theater gasped!!!!It took me weeks to sleep at night, as every time I closed my eyes I saw this scence.
Wait Until Dark is an innovative, highly entertaining and suspenseful thriller about a blind housewife, Susy Hendrix (Audrey Hepburn). Independent and resourceful, Susy is learning to cope with her blindness, which resulted from a recent accident. Susy is terrorized by a group of criminals who believe she has hidden a baby doll used by them to smuggle heroin into the country. Unknown to Susy, her photographer husband Sam (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.) took the doll as a favor for a woman he met on an international plane flight. Alone in her apartment and cut-off from the outside world, Susy must fight for her life against a gang of ruthless criminals, led by the violent, psychotic Roat (Alan Arkin). The tension builds as Roat, aided by his gang, impersonates police officers and friends of her husband in order to win Susy’s confidence, gaining access to her apartment to look for the doll. The climax of the film, a violent physical confrontation between Susie and Roat in her dark kitchen, is one of the most memorable and frightening scenes in screen history. All performances are outstanding, particularly those of Audrey Hepburn who plays a vulnerable, but self-reliant woman, and Alan Arkin, in perhaps his best role, as the ruthless, manipulative Roat. Allmovie.com
To help get you in the mood for a deliciously frightening Halloween, the librarians at Davenport Public Library are going to share some of the favorite blood-chilling books and movies. Read on if you dare!
I’ll get things started with an episode from the late, lamented tv series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. “Hush”, from the 4th season, has almost no dialogue, but it’s this very silence that adds to the horror. One night while everyone is asleep, The Gentlemen – tall, spectral figures dressed like funeral directors – magically steal the voice of everyone in Sunnydale. The people panic and chaos reins. The next night The Gentlemen, accompanied by their gruesome, Igor-like henchmen, go in search of their first victim. The trapped man is unable to scream for help and The Gentlemen cut out his heart. Of course, Buffy, Xander, Willow, Giles and company soon find a solution, but not before everyone is thoroughly terrified.
There are two things that completely freaked me out about this show – the fact that no one could speak (and therefore were unable to call for help) and the fact that The Gentlemen, their skeletel faces grinning widely, floated above the ground as they wandered through the silent town searching for victims, their terrifying helpers limping along at their sides. I couldn’t look out the window after dark for months after seeing the show.
Written and directed by series creator Joss Whedon, this episode was nominated for an Emmy for Best Writing and is often included in lists of 10 best Buffy episodes.