Fear is one of the strongest emotions humans feel. Fear makes us pause and take every second of our lives into account. Fear makes us realize what is and what is not important. Fear makes us realize the limits of our mortality.
Fear is the ultimate emotion, which clings to us. Any event that is tied to this emotion is forever burned in our brains; an emotion that cannot be forgotten.
We, as humans, give into this the emotion, allowing it to shape our lives. It defines who we are and who we become.
I attribute my obsession to the macabre to a fright that I had as a child. A fright that haunted most of my childhood years and sadly lends to my paranoia with mirrors.
I will never forget the Saturday afternoon special of Alice in Wonderland (Part 2), directed by Harry Harris, which I saw in 1986. It was a normal weekend afternoon, I sat on the floor, curled up in a blanket and eating a PB and Mayo sandwich. Earlier shows of the series were bright, fun, and comical. I was excited about how much fun Alice was having in Wonderland. It never occurred to me that such a nightmare would be awaiting us that afternoon…
It begins to dawn on me that something is amok when she is on the opposite side of the looking glass from her parents. No matter how loud she screams or how hard she pounds at the glass, she is unable to gain their attention.
Just as the electricity goes out, a shuffling sound emanates from the parlor. From what light filters through the window, I watch in terror as it comes toward us, each footstep resonating in my ears. An ominous feel overtakes the room. Lightning flashes and for a split second I cannot see anything, but I can still hear the monster coming, even above the din of thunder.
I look at Alice and see her eyes go wide as the creature nears her from behind. My breath stills. From the old floral print wing-backed chair she slams the antique book shut, jumps from the seat, and turns toward the parlor. The words she recited from the ancient text unleashed the monster from where it was once locked away.
She lets out a high-pitched scream as she steps backwards from the advancing menace. Her eyes look locking onto the monster as her blonde hair shimmers in the darkness.
I cannot look away. Its red eyes blaze as it screeches in her direction. Maw wide open, glistening needle-like teeth protruding from is black jaws. A thick purple tongue forks out and curls at the end of its cry. I yearn to run and hide, but I am frozen in fear.
Alice continues to scream, backing away from the monster.
“Please don’t hurt me,” Alice says, crying. “Please, please.”
It screams again at her and stretches out its horrid, battered wings. Like the wings of a bat that escaped from the depths of hell. Then it looks in my direction where I sit, cowering on the floor with a blanket held up to my neck. If I stay motionless, will it not see me?
As she continues to retreat, Alice stumbles over a chessboard that is sitting on the end table. She tries to quickly turn and catch the board before it falls, but it is too late. All the game pieces clatter to the floor and the monster quickens its pace towards her.
Taking the blanket and leaving my sandwich, I get up and run behind a chair, peeking out to watch the monster move in on her.
“You are not real, you are not real,” Alice says with her face in her hands and back to the creature that looms closer.
I hold my breath as I watch from my sanctuary behind the old orange recliner. My hands tremble as I continue to clutch the blanket to my throat. I echo Alice’s voice in my mind, You are not real, you are not real.
And then the lights come back on. Silence fills the room. Alice stands and turns around, the Jabberwocky has disappeared.
Still cowering behind the chair, I worry about Alice. Is she safe?
She sighs with relief, but deep down I know that it will be back. Once you unlock a daemon, it is impossible to escape from it.
For the next hour, I continue to covertly hide and spy on Alice from behind my father’s recliner; preparing for the horrors that await Alice in Wonderland.
And from that TV movie, my fear-driven fascination with monsters and the macabre is born.
Here is the link to the original terror: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7dxhbHAGRE
And just to pile on more Jabberwocky: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DV7ASH_BHR0
“Go back – he’ll kill you… He really will!!”
©2013, Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivative – visit Amanda Headlee — It is Always Darkest Before the Dawn for the original source of this content.