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For my parents, who have indulged, supported ( and financed) every insane whim I’ve ever had. I love you… and you can stop reading right here.
Copyright © Ryan Bradford 2009
Warm colors sharpen as the focus reveals an image of a boy. The boy sits patiently and stares at you – his face is speckledwith acne and his hair is spiked. He giggles and sticks his tongue out at you as the image softens before settling on an appropriate focus. You recognize this boy because he looks a lot like me. A voice from offscreen tells the boy that everything’s ready, that he can begin whenever he feels like it. Boy: What do you want me to say? Offscreen: What’s your favorite scary movie? Boy: Like in Scream?Offscreen: Just answer the question. Boy: What’s this for anyway? Offscreen: Nothing really. Maybe a school project. Boy: Fine. But a favorite scary movie? That’s like picking your favorite child. Offscreen: Well, what are some of the ones you like? Boy: I like ghost movies. Offscreen: How come? Boy: I think the only thing more frightening than opening a closet door and finding a knife-wieldingmaniac, is opening up that closet door and finding nothing. If you take away all the monsters and serial killers, all we have to fear is ourselves. We create ghosts when there isn’t anything else left to scare us. Offscreen: That’s deep. Boy: Fuck you. Are we done yet? Offscreen: Just state your name. You know, for legitimacy. Boy: My name is Brian Nightshade and you’ve just tuned in to What I ThinkAbout Horror Movies. Offscreen: Thanks. The image goes black.
“You remind me of someone I’ve seen once?” The check-out girl, fat and pale, smiles at me and waits for my reaction. It’s not a question, really, but the upward pitch in her last word forces a glaring question mark. The white bands on her braces have turned yellow from neglect and she holds my corn syrup hostage while Itry to respond to her comment. It’s hard to concentrate on anything but her yellow smile. “Maybe it’s my brother. We’re twins.” “Maybe. Or maybe someone famous?” She twists the bottle around in her pudgy hands. It’s disturbing the way she caresses it while she thinks. Her tongue sweeps her broad-set, braced teeth and she twirls her hair. I want to tell her again that it’s probably my brother whoshe’s thinking about, but I know it’s not true. Finally, she frowns and gives up. “I don’t know.” She sighs and hucks my syrup into a plastic bag. “I was thinking that you looked like some famous guitar-player, or something.” “Yeah.” I just want to pay and leave without Yellow Braces talking to me anymore. I pay her the five or so dollars, take my plastic bag and head for the door. Behind me shesays, “It was probably your brother,” and that comment, in addition to another Missing Child poster hanging on the exit doors, sends a small shiver the length of my spine down toward my testicles, despite the cooling-but-still-warm autumn air.
We didn’t fuck around when it came down to business: just like how the original Evil Dead was a better movie than part two. Just likehow the original Halloween was better than Friday the 13th but still not as good as Nightmare On Elm Streets I and III. Just like how The Ring was good but every other remake of a Japanese horror movie sucked. Just like how the Re-Animator might be the best comedy-horror ever made and how there really hasn’t been a good vampire movie since the Lost Boys. Like how Rosemary’s Baby, the Exorcist andthe original Wicker Man weren’t very scary. Like how it’s lame that you now have to say “the original” when talking about a lot of horror movies now. Like how we thought Pinhead was a good villain but Hellraiser was confusing. How 28 Days Later is not a zombie movie, technically. Horror business was our business and we didn’t fuck around.
It’s three AM and you’re in the...