It’s All About Character

witchy watercolorWitchy Watercolor

It’s Halloween, and I’ve been having a ball watching all the little goblins, demons, caped crusaders and princesses come to the door. The event hasn’t changed a whole lot since I was a kid, and that’s just fine with me.

Some things are just too special to try to improve.

My bride got back into the spirit this year with one of her old junior high friends. The two of them attended a “Witches Night Out” charity affair over in the Joliet area of Chicago.

I have it from reliable sources there were 1300 women in attendance, all dressed in their best witches outfits, raising money for United Way Agencies helping women and children.

They had a ball (no pun intended), and it was fun watching the two of them act like kids again for a few hours.

I keep thinking of those things tonight, as I peer into the darkness, waiting for more little monsters to step into the porch light.

We don’t get as many kids as most of the neighborhood. We live at the top of a hill, on a cul-de-sac with only about a dozen houses. The kids don’t like coming up here, because it’s too hard to get to the rest of the neighborhood from here.

I would have avoided this street, too, when I was a kid.

It’s been a slow night and I imagine we’ve seen just about all the traffic we’re going to. On top of the location, it’s raining and only 45 degrees outside. Not the best weather for little kids to be out.

Sad, in a way.

There’s a scary movie playing on TV in the background, Lady in the Water, written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan and, with the slow night outside, it started me thinking of the many ways we’ve tried to scare ourselves with movies over the years.

A lot of folks would probably vote for “Nightmare on Elm Street” as one of the scariest movies, but I thought the character of Freddy Krueger was way too predictable.

My choice for two of the scariest movies of all time would have to be the adaptation of Stephen King’s “The Shining” and William Peter Blatty’s chilling “The Exorcist.”

I know many of you will disagree … and that’s fine. We all get entertained (and scared) by different things. Those choices are just my opinion. I liked “The Shining” for its chilling, often baroque journey into madness. Jack Nicholson made the movie.

“The Exorcist” was shocking and blood-chilling, and it remains for me a modern parable of good and evil, which made it far more than a monster movie.

The characters made both books (and both movies). It’s one of the reasons I enjoy Stephen King so much … he always paints memorable characters. Something as a writer I can only try to emulate.


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2 Responses to “It’s All About Character”

  1. Ann Roemer Harrington Says:

    I agree with you, Ron. some things, like Halloween, need to be unscathed by “progress”. My favorite was The Shining also. a very good adaptation. Another I liked was The Haunting.It was from the Shirley Jackson novel. You never actually see anything, but there is a presence. Detroit’s Julie Harris was in it. Probably wouldn’t even get made today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ron Herron Says:

      Thanks for the comment, Ann. I like “The Shining” so much because it’s a character study in madness, rather than today’s typical zombie/monster/vampire stuff. Today’s movies are perhaps more gory and shocking, but a real scare comes from something subtle that could actually happen.


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