Halloween is often used to portray supernatural terrors plaguing sweet, innocent families, but that is meant as a distraction from the everyday horrors of living. Compared to even the most mundane of terrors, Freddy, Jason, aliens with inexplicable and impractical second mouths, nor ghosts or Babadooks are as scary or anxiety inducing as every day human frights.
I would rather be plagued by a horde of malicious (and justified) ancient Indian burial ground ghosties than have to encounter, yet again, the dreaded “person I’ve met three times but can’t remember their name yet they know mine like we’re old chums.” Eek! What do I do with such an evil entity? How long can I keep up the, “Hey…you, guy pal person dude,” before that person with the super-memory notices and condescendingly points out, “you don’t remember my name, do you?” Instead of allowing me to fake-introduce a friend to this person in such a way that forces the person to reveal his/her name?
Vampires and zombies are easy enough to dispatch when compared to the horror of body image. How do you fight the overwhelming depression of your own naked visage? Diet and exercise is not the same thing as a stake in the heart, it’s not that easy. Even if diet and exercise were a magic cure-all, then I’d be depressed I couldn’t eat pizza or enjoy a cookie without mentally calculating how many miles on the treadmill that equated to. No matter how yolked I get, there’s always someone with a better body or more confidence or more joy eating that delicious hamburger. Gimme that burger with the white bread bun!
Give me a thousand werewolves scratching my face off or just nibblin on my lil toe so that I turn into a werewolf instead of the strange, slow metamorphosis of my average body. Once a month I sprout a bunch of hair and crave human flesh? Cool. Better than once a week finding hairs of bizarrely random coarseness sprouting up from places I haven’t considered or follicles I enjoy committing ritual suicide. My body is constantly in flux. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the reassurance that it would only be on predictable full moons that my body would completely change.
Pennywise mat prey upon childhood insecurities, but if he doesn’t/didn’t exist, we just have to live with those childhood insecurities that linger into adulthood.
With horror movies, there’s a specific monster, an external threat that can be dealt with. Sadly, real life doesn’t give you the specific threat, no, it gives you a thousand malleable, moveable internal and existential monsters that combatting are all like punching the ocean. Boo, you are haunted by your own brain!
Happy Halloween, the real horrors are conjured by ourselves.