Yeah, it’s that time of the year. Scary times. Books, movies, Halloween haunted houses, all designed to scare the hell out of us. Do you like being scared? What’s it feel like to you when you get scared?
I vividly remember the first real scary book that haunted me on every page and when I finished it I was still scared. Yes, it was a work of fiction. I love reading fiction. I love writing fiction. But great fiction usually comes from real life.
Let me tell you how the story that scared the crap out of me was born.
Back in the ‘50s we didn’t have the so called 24-hour news cycle. Ted Turner didn’t start the 24-hour Cable News Network (CNN) until 1980. We had the local news and the three networks gave us the “big” stories in the evening.
A murder here or there was always a local thing; unless of course it was gruesome enough to make the network news (If it bleeds it leads)
So, in 1957, when Ed Gein was arrested for the murder of two women in Plainfield, Wisconsin, most of the country didn’t hear about it. As the investigation of Mr. Gein continued the police found silverware, furniture and even clothes made of skin and body parts. Psychiatrists interviewed and examined him and determined Mr. Ed Gein was trying to make a “woman suit” of skin so he could become his dead mother. Now it’s getting good.
But still, there was no Anderson Cooper around asking questions and digging up reports so most of us never knew about that hideous crime. But a writer living in the next little town knew the ghastly story.
He wondered how that true life crime could be twisted into a book. So he did it. The writer, Robert Bloch, published his “fiction” in 1959. Just in time for a 16 year old kid to read it in bed one night and even though this kid was scared half to death he couldn’t put the damn thing down until the end.
Another guy named Alfred read it and got scared too. He made a movie from the book just one year later. Every one of you saw it. At least once. I don’t need to tell you the name of the movie.
Here’s a familiar picture below. The picture alone should send a chill up your spine.
Or does your fright feelings happen to your hair follicles? In your throat? Shaky hands? What happens to you when you get really scared?
What happened to you when you watched the shower scene?