Saturday, October 30, 2010

I'm scared

I'm scared
Originally uploaded by The original SimonB
Why do we so like to scare ourselves for entertainment? Not just the obvious (well, obvious this weekend anyway) horror films/books imagery etc but also stuff like rollercoasters or murder mysteries that get the pulse racing and leave you with a great sense of still being alive/relief that it didn't happen to you at the end. Hmm, probably just answered the question there anyway.

I started wondering this at the beginning of the week when we were watching the last episode of Whitechapel. Partly I was debating whether I should enjoy a tale of murder and violence, especially with the emphasis on gangs (the Krays etc) and what is generally the nastier side of life. But I do - and also enjoy lots of other crime series too. Maybe it is because my real life is so far removed from most of that sort of thing - after all, where would the entertainment be in a six part drama about someone driving round beautiful villages deciding where to put bus stops and then doing a bit of paperwork back in the office?

But as the night of ghosts and ghouls and trick or treaters got closer it has developed into a more general curiosity about why scares are often craved. I know most of what happens on Halloween these days isn't exactly scary in the true sense but once upon a time these witches, bats etc had the power to frighten.

I'm therefore, over the next few weeks, going to have a stab at some scary stories that have been lying around the house unread and see whether I actually like them or not. Both in the ghost and the "crime so horrific ut counts as horror" areas. Which brings me neatly on to books (you knew it would be in here somewhere!).

The rather wonderful writer Neil Gaiman has had the rather wonderful idea of starting a new Halloween tradition. All Hallows Read is the name, and giving people scary books for Halloween presents is the game. So I have given MrsB a copy of Haunted Ipswich by Pete Jennings - which is a look at all the supposed ghosts of our county town. Maybe not as scary as actual tales but a good start I thought. And I also treated myself to Gaiman's The Graveyard Book which I have just not got round to buying until now.

So, off you go and give someone a paper-based scare yourself (and I don't mean show them a bank statement or credit card bill) and see how it goes.

1 comment:

Ishouldbeworking said...

If you have a minute (well, thirty of 'em), tun in on Radio 4 'Listen Again' and find the team from the League of Gentlemen, scaring themselves witless as they spend a night in the 'Most Haunted House in Britain'. So, so funny. And a bit genuinely scary.

It's available for just two more days...then it will be spirited away forever....