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The Beginning Darkness

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Horror is a visceral thing. You first glimpse it from the corner of your eye, in the shadowed darkness from a cozy beds slumber. Imagination breeds terror and nightmares are born. The dark recesses of your closet will never be the same and light no matter how small becomes salvation. It is from these early, basic beginnings that our leanings toward fear are firmly rooted, growing ever more toward curiosity or repulsion.

Literature is the next open window to fear. Fairy tales open a perverse door and the likes of Poe, Bierce, Lovecraft, and King all push the minds eye even further into free forming thoughts of the macabre. So at a very early age one can become quite bewitched by horror. Even cartoonists like Charles Addams or Terry Gilliam can give the child fodder for one hellasious dark dream.

Then enter cinema. It is the ultimate medium for the darkness of the mind. Since most of us sadly do not have the availability of the Grand Guignol stage, it is the small and big screen that will get our blood pumping. The horror hosts on nostalgic Saturday afternoons, the convenience of video rentals, turned our living room into an instant fright factory with just the push of a button. Lights dimmed and curtains drawn. It is there that we discovered the obscure nastiness of 'The Stranglers of Bombay', the pure frightening terror of 'The Fiend Without a Face', and the lovely dark cheesiness of 'Teenagers from Outer Space'. We learned about space travel, communism, and the fate of unrequited love in those first moments of watching horror in the dark. Not to mention all the classics of fear prose come to life ala Dracula, Frankenstein, and even a Grimm tale or too.

At the cinema we found even more lovely shivers. Buy a ticket and walk from the brightness of day into the mysterious darkness of stale atmosphere all just a bike ride away from home. Within this top row dwelling obscurity you find evil entities, blood and guts, and distorted visions of reality. It's no wonder that 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' villain Fred Kruger scares us so. Our dreams are born in that theater darkness and come alive each night back in that cozy bed where it all began.


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