Behind The Mask

Behind The Mask

“To those who abuse: the sin is yours, the crime is yours, and the shame is yours.”

—Flora Jessop, Church of Lies

Each year I write a Halloween blog from a different perspective.  I enjoy writing a comical post but like most of my humor it covers up a harsh reality that torments me.  The child in me shivers with fear as both the teenagers and adults forwardly shine with a protective humor that nothing seems to penetrate.  This year I’ve decided to bring forth the vivid and cold-hearted truth of what some of my early Halloween years that were forced upon me.

The boogey man was not dressed in blue coveralls with steel toed boots.  His mask was not the cast of Captain Kirk’s face and familiar theme song that can have most anyone watching the movie with the lights on.  He did not escape from Smith’s Grove Sanitarium carrying with him a large butcher knife. And Jamie Lee Curtis was not the “queen of scream.” They looked like most anyone living in a neighborhood beside me and you.

The fall time of the year with the smell and feel of wet leaves leftover from the end of summer are present.  A deep inhale is not one of safety but one of fear.  The coolness of early fall has me reaching for a windbreaker and replay of one of the scariest times of the year.  It replays over and over on a reel that never fails in a reality that never wavers with its truth.

DeviantArt

As a 5-year-old child wanting to be a part of the Halloween festivities I was excited and wanted to take part with my older friends.  But the predator would again find its prey.  They were more than twice my age and size.  I trusted them and thought that they were there to protect me.  But Halloween would strike fear in several ways. Leaving the safety of my own house I would go out looking for my friends.  But I saw no one.  Across the street and into our neighbors’ yard was pampas grass that stood where all us neighborhood kids had gotten our own paper cuts. I looked around the yards but saw no one.  And then he appeared.  In a black cape with the mask of an old man’s face I will never forget. No words were spoken just the slow walk towards me like most boogeymen.  But this time the boogeyman was between me and my house of safety.  Both my mind and body were on full alert.  I searched for my safety and a way to get back to it while the figure walked towards me.  As a 5-year-old crying and running was all I knew to do.

I ran back to my house as the figure continued to move closer.  The black cape continued blowing in the wind.  I ran into my house and back to my room where I locked my door and hid in my closet.  Sooner rather than later the figure made its way into our house and down the hall to my locked room where pounding on my door was all that I heard.  He spoke nothing.  I sat quiet as a mouse hoping and praying that the figure wouldn’t again capture me for another touch and feel episode that hurt and was scary.  Nope this time there was a burst of laughter from the big kids that served as their entertainment.  And this time behind the mask was my friends that scared me yet again.

That year I didn’t laugh and each time I have this memory there is no laughter.  I can only remember the fear that shakes inside of me as a child at a level of fear that I can’t describe.  And each year during the fall season, I put on a smiling face.  But I too have a life behind a mask of a little child that has never gotten over knowing the fear of being prey to someone’s seemingly innocent joke that was more than it appeared.

#thispuzzledlife

Everyone’s Entitled To One Good Scare

“Everyone’s Entitled to One Good Scare”

“Was that the Boogeyman?  As a matter of fact….it was.”

John Carpenter’s Halloween, 1978

The last couple of years for Halloween posts I’ve written about the difficulties of the this time of year.  Make no mistake that I’ve loved the holiday since I was a child.  I was a child of the 80s and very distinctly remember the smell of the cheap plastic masks with the rubber band and two staples to hold it on your head. And the one small air whole that didn’t allow enough air to keep a fly alive in the time it would take us kids to get to the next house.  Completely out of breath from lack of oxygen and the plastic mask sliding all over my face from the sweat I would hold out my bag at the next house while saying, “Trick or Treat” in anticipation of another dose of sugar.

As I got older into my teen years the fascination of the holiday and horror films would be my focus for the next 30 years and counting.  Most of us don’t exactly enjoy getting scared but this holiday has always seemed to be the exception to the rule for many of us haunted house, haunted barn, haunted cornfield, haunted hay ride, haunted school and horror movie going individuals.  And it seems that this time of year is when we turn getting scared into a sport.  I know that until recent years since having my own children that I was always first in line to anything creepy scary.  Mel she just patiently waits for me to return and to get my personal rating.

Anyone who knows me knows one thing…I love the horror movie series HALLOWEEN with the favored boogeyman Michael Myers directed by John Carpenter.  I am a true fan of this series.  This time of the year usually consists of binge watching these types of movies for the entire month of October.  Whether it be Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, Leather face, Pin Head, Chucky, Jigsaw or whomever might be your favorite “fright guy” there’s one thing we learned growing up is that the boogeyman are all make believe monsters in masks and make-up.

horror line up

Now that I’m an adult, I love to watch for the comedy in some of the earlier films amid the gore.  Here are a few things that I’ve noticed about horror films that seem to always remain constant.

  1. No matter how fast you run the boogeyman can ALWAYS walk faster.
  2. It’s an apparent rule that you must investigate every scary or odd sound.
  3. The cars taken to the future murder scene won’t crank even though you left it running to go check on your friend.
  4. The boogeyman can be burned in a furnace; shot multiple times; decapitated or drowned and still beat you back to your car and wait in the backseat while you frantically try to crank the uncrankable.
  5. It never fails….if you’re in class at school and happen to look out the window the boogeyman will be standing across the street, in plain sight of everyone else, staring at you but no one else can see him.
  6. No one wears bras…..EVER!!!
  7. Rotary phones never work.
  8. Windows are always left open.
  9. Cell phones NEVER have a signal.
  10. Doors always slam shut and jam.
  11. Boogeymen are always experts in the hygiene and mating habits of teenagers because that’s who always dies in the shower.
  12. When you’re in the shower and hear the phone ringing, after sprinting to the phone in a shower cap and towel, no one is EVERon the other end of the line.
  13. If you have a family pet it will be killed and then you’ll be killed.  Apparently, this is a horror film sequence that must happen.
  14. The boogeyman can still find you even when you pull the covers over your head.
  15. “SH-SH-SH-AH-AH-AH” translated means “run deeper into the woods then trip and fall over a big bag of air.”
  16. Every house in horror films from the 80’s has the same butcher knife in the kitchen drawer.
  17. Screaming really loudly while standing still does NOTscare the boogeyman away.  He will continue walking towards you.
  18. The scariest music to hear is whenever the little girl starts singing a nursery rhyme while jumping rope.
  19. After watching a horror movie at a theatre you WILL instinctively look under your car and in your backseat before getting into your car.
  20. Horror movie night regardless at home or in a theatre teaches you that five minutes after turning off the lights you will hear a noise in your room and will ninja grab your cell phone with that horrible little light and attempt to light up the room to see if you have company.
  21. Telling the boogeyman, “Don’t rip my blouse, it’s expensive you idiot!”  will not make him stop trying to kill you.

This year John Carpenter is back in the driver’s seat making the 10th film in this series.  October 19th, 2018 Michael Myers will return to Haddonfield for yet another bloody Halloween.  I might not go see this movie on it’s opening night with the rest of the fans.  But make no mistake that I’ll be there to watch it in the theatre when everyone is gone to school and work.  Another stellar “scream queen” performance by Jamie Lee Curtis I’m sure will happen.

john carpenter

This was sort of a “tongue-in-cheek” way of looking at the boogeyman.  For many of us, though, we have met and had interactions with the real boogeymen and women of society.  They don’t have blank expressions, knives for fingers on gloves, chainsaws, butcher knives or anything considered stereotypical of these scary people.  They are people who call themselves friends, teachers, “safe people”, trusted professionals, clergy and spouses just to name a few.

In the last several years, I have lost the ability to have fun on Halloween.  Horror films serve me a purpose and those reasons are reserved for coach.  I still watch my movies but the term “boogeyman” takes on a whole new meaning.  I face the memories of the boogeymen and women every day and night.  I’ve had enough scares to last me a lifetime.  And, honestly, if you try to scare me once you’ll not do it again.  Just like Jaime Lee Curtis playing the part of Laurie Strode in the Halloween series, I’m watching, waiting and hoping every single day that they don’t find me again.  Because they don’t wear masks, they walk among us.

“The darkest souls are not those which choose to exist within the hell of the abyss, but those which choose to break free from the abyss and move silently among us.”

-Dr. Samuel Loomis, Halloween

#thispuzzledlife