Friday, October 19, 2007

Thrills & Chills

I love the changing seasons. The steady patter of rain dripping off my roof. The way my Japanese maple dances in the wind, scarlet leaves flashing against the stormy sky. The carpet of oak leaves that hints of winter’s approach. The sweet scent of autumn already bites at my nose and turns my spoken word into a puffy white cloud.

In front of our local market, pumpkins are displayed. Huge orange globes, as gnarly and misshapen as a boulder transformed by centuries of inclement weather. Within a couple of weeks, the town’s children will march down Main Street in our annual Halloween parade, displaying colorful costumes, waving their fists in triumphant glee. The fervor is upon us! All Hallow’s Eve approaches!

Perhaps it was a nod to the upcoming holiday that urged me to grab Patricia Clapp’s book featuring the story, Jane-Emily. Originally published in 1969 this is a classic ghost story set in the early 20th century. Reading this gem, I remembered how much I loved spooky stories before Fright Night flicks turned into slasher movies. I remember one of the best hair-raising short stories I ever read, The Lottery by Shirley Jackson. Yikes!

Of course, Shirley also penned the definitive ghost story, The Haunting of Hill House from which the movie of the same name sprang. Don’t be fooled, the remake is nothing like the original. Starring Claire Bloom and produced in 1963, the movie, The Haunting of Hill House is a masterpiece. A timeless tale with twists and turns that will fill your mind with questions, while making you leap out of your seat. I've seen it a dozen times or more and still jump. It's that good.

Another delightful ghost story that I adore, portrayed with brilliant simplicity, is the film The Uninvited. Produced in 1944 and starring Ray Milland and Ruth Hussey, this classic has enough chills and suspense to keep you biting your nails. Pop up some corn and grab a blanket!

Tonight, I’ll be starting the second story in Clapp’s book, Witches’ Children. And in the true spirit of October, perhaps I’ll pull out my Shirley Jackson collection after that. *rubs hands together* Keep the lights on, Sweetie! *delicious shiver*

For a special Halloween Treat, the wonderful author, Misty Fanderclai is posting her own ongoing Witchy story free online! A yummy romp of giggles and sweet kisses, check out Chapter Four of Witches Anonymous!

Not yet caught up? The beginning can be found Here.

What’s your preferred style of thrills and chills? Classic shivers like Shelley’s Frankenstein or more modern day shrieks? Do you like the campy parodies like Shaun of the Dead and Scary Movie or the more gruesome fare? Do you prefer psychological suspense or a bloodfest?

Do tell! Just... let me put on the lights first. *wink*

--Chiron O’Keefe

2 comments:

Misty said...

Oooh, there are so many good ones, C! Edgar Allen Poe and Alfred Hitchcock are my favorites for hair-raising psychological thrillers. On the flip side, one of my favorite kids Halloween books is The Candy Witch. My boys and I read it every year on Halloween...it's a sweet, uplifting story about a good-girl witch who goes bad for awhile and decides being good is more fun.:)

Chiron O'Keefe said...

The Candy Witch sounds so sweet! Awww... *smile*

Oh, YEAH, Alfie baby. Both my mom and grandmother subscribed to the Alfred Hitchcock mystery magazines. I read some chilling tales as a young child. Yikes!! And of course, Grandma let me stay up late with her, drinking tea and watching the Alfred Hitchcock hour.

Caffeine and chills, there's a good way to get a young girl to sleep! *heh-heh*

--Chiron O'Keefe