Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hallopalooza Day 4: Confessions of a Scream Queen by Lucienne Diver

I love Halloween—always have. In school, I was the geeky girl who dressed up every year, even when it wasn't cool. No store-bought costumes for me. I'd make my own, my sister's. It was part of the fun.

I met my husband working as an actor at a haunted house. My die-hard Roman Catholic family was tremendously relieved when we didn't get married there—though we did make them wear garb at our medieval wedding.

As a child, I frequently had trouble sleeping, exacerbated by the books I'd read—"True Tales" of this and that: hauntings, living death, unsolved mysteries. You name it. And the movies available on late, late night television: all of the Christopher Lee Dracula films, Locusts Eat Manhattan (okay, I may be misremembering this one), the Godzilla movies. It was a smorgasbord of schlocky and not-so-schlocky horror and science fiction films that scared the bejeebers out of me at the time, causing even more insomnia.

Horror of Dracula, starring Christopher Lee:


I've never lost my taste for dressing up or schlocky horror films. Bring on the cheesy—Halloweentown, Cheerleader Camp, Swamp Thing, whatever. I'm there. In fact, the cornier, the better. As I've gotten older, my empathy has developed to the point that really good horror is upsetting rather than entertaining. I know how horrific reality can be. I want no-holds-barred, schlocky, my-friends-would-be-embarrassed-to-know-me horror.

I'll take my dark fantasy in my books with some leavening humor. There I can take the point of view of a kick-ass hero or heroine who can handle anything that goes bump in the night. I can sit back and watch them kick butt, wincing with the blows and betrayals, but enjoying the heck out of watching them give as good as they get. Rachel Caine's Joanne Baldwin from the Weather Wardens series is fantastic about that, as is Marjorie M. Liu's Maxine Kiss from THE IRON HUNT and Kim Harrison's Rachel Morgan from DEAD WITCH WALKING, etc. I could go on all day.

My favorite novels are those where good can look evil in the eye without flinching. Where evil is intelligent enough that good uses brains as much as brawn to defeat it. And where I feel that we're winning the battle, or at least have a chance at it.

In short, in my fiction, I want it all. On the screen, I'm perfectly happy to bring on the popcorn.

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8 Comments:

Blogger Kristen Painter said...

I'm a sucker for vampire movies. (See what I did there? Sucker? I know, I'm a comic genius.) For some reason, those don't really frighten so much as intrigue me. Any other scary movies are a no go, however.

Thursday, October 30, 2008 at 8:48:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Mel Francis said...

I love cheesy horror flicks as well...but a suspense horror like WHEN A STRANGER CALLS or DISTURBIA those things really freak me out. I can only watch them at home so I can pause them and walk around...

Scary books? Love 'em. Unless they have Pennywise or Danny Glick in them. LOL

Thursday, October 30, 2008 at 9:17:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Lucienne said...

Kristen, of course you're a comic genius!

Mel, I remember being really freaked out by The Man with the X-Ray Eyes when I was a kid and The Hand with Michael Caine, which, of course, I wasn't even supposed to be watching. I couldn't bring myself to watch Disturbia, but was very freaked by Pacific Heights!

Thursday, October 30, 2008 at 12:28:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jasmine Haynes said...

I was terrified by The Outer Limits! I remember the one where there tumbleweeds came to life, and the next day at school, I screamed with a tumbleweed blew across the schoolyard. Yes, I'm a freak, but it's so fun scaring myself silly with horror flicks. Especially at Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008 at 1:32:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Lucienne said...

Jasmine, and what about The Birds by Hitchcock? That one really freaked me out. Birds always gathered on the power lines up and down my street. I kept waiting for them to fly into a frenzy!

Thursday, October 30, 2008 at 1:56:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jazz said...

I saw the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre when I was 17. That night I slept in my parent's room, but I didn't actually sleep. I just laid awake until the sun came up, then slept till noon. Now when I rewatch it I don't find it as scary. What I really want out of horror movies is for death to matter, to affect the plot. I think that wish might be delivered in the form of Joss Whedon's The Cabin in the Woods, which is due out next year.

Thursday, October 30, 2008 at 4:01:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Lucienne said...

I don't watch a lot of subtitled movies, but the original Diabolique is a brilliant psychological film, not to be missed. (Apropos of nothing, but I couldn't resist mentioning it while I'm talking about films I've loved.) I saw it the same night as The Shining, which freaked me out. (We were five students alone on a college campus over the summer on a dig while the rest of our group had gone camping and cliff-diving. The isolation made it all much creepier than it might have been otherwise. That and the news report we'd heard that morning....)

Thursday, October 30, 2008 at 4:23:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jasmine Haynes said...

Ooh, yes, Lucienne, the birds on the wires just looking at you. And I've seen Diabolique, too! Very good even with the subtitles, the remake though, not so good.

Friday, October 31, 2008 at 8:52:00 AM EDT  

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