Horror Week at Davenport Library wraps up today with this terrifying suggestion from Lynn. Read at your own risk!

Handcarved coffins“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’s gruesome entry for Horror Week at Davenport Library. Read it if you dare!

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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

Horror Week at Davenport Library continues with Bill’s bone-chilling suggestion.

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I generally don’t seek out media that scares the hell out of me. I’m highly suggestible and it seems a little too masochistic.

But, if you’re a glutton for punishment, any of The Exorcist trilogy will mess with your mind when the lights are out.

There’s something about the unnatural voices, inhuman body movements, haunting use of classical music, and periodic interruption of calm with the occasional terrifying act.

The Exorcist line will have you groping for the lamp and checking the doors after every creak.

AHHHH, ARE YOU GOING?!

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Night of the Living Dead on Friday, October 30 at the Figge Art Museum Auditorium

Just think how creepy it will be to watch Night of the Living Dead and then have to walk down the long, chilled stairway of the Figge Art Museum into the shadowy field of hanging bodies of corn?

Corn Zone by Michael Meilahn; currently on display at the Figge Museum in the Orientation Gallery through early February 2010

Corn Zone, 2007 © Michael Meilahn and Nick Nebel; currently on display at the Figge Museum in the Orientation Gallery through early February 2010