I recently had an amazing opportunity. I got the chance to visit the shop of fellow monster and sci-fi aficionado, Frank Ippolito. During my visit, Frank said he could personally introduce me to one of my favorite movie stars of all time. How could I say no? He walked across the room to a set of drawers, pulled out an object and set it on the table in front of me. And there it was. I came face to face with one of the greatest movie monsters of all time. Now don’t get me wrong; there was a time where coming face to face with this particular countenance that would have caused me to soil myself and pass out. But here it was, modest and without any color to its face, cracked and worn with age. I was humbled to see it up close and in awe.
Before I go any further, I need to explain a few of my personal viewpoints on what makes a truly scary and awe-inspiring shiver inducing antagonist. There are those that would argue that Jason Vorhees and Michael Myers are the penultimate in horror. Nay, I say. While they may be “supernatural” in that they keep coming back and back and back, they are still merely in human form carrying human weapons and they muck about in fairly predictable fashion carrying fairly predictable weapons looking for random teenagers to dispatch in fairly predictable and rapid fashion. And frankly, that makes them fairly boring and annoying. Also, to what end do Misters Vorhees and Myers seek whilst spreading angsty teenager bits about? Exactly. They were once mad about somebody or other not babysitting or something. Bah. Serial killers? Nope. I can touch it, define it, and I know how to kill it. The results may be gross, but rarely terrifying.
You want a real scary nightmare to make you retreat into the furthest reaches of your couch with your buttery popcorn bucket? It should come from a place that you don’t understand and can’t put your finger on, a place that you can barely imagine or, better yet, can’t imagine at all. Beyond death’s door. Hell. These are a good start. Next, said nightmare should have a genuinely fear-inducing motivation. Its entire goal is not just to kill you. It needs to thoroughly scare the living crap out of you, make you suffer, torture you, and then… once the fright has thoroughly penetrated and enveloped your sweaty trembling self, make your final end conducive to whatever your break with morality was. In fact, if your only escape route in this life-threatening situation was to ditch your friends, hop on your motocross bike, and tear down the freeway, this antagonist would take great pleasure in watching you from the dark shadows try to start your bike over and over again, all the while grinning with wickedly pointed teeth and enjoying the futility of watching you suffer while twirling your bike’s chain on its long and twisted finger. It would then, after said drawn-out torture, smear your still-dying face back and forth across the cabin window to demonstrate to your former friends that there was more to come. Rinse, repeat.
This nightmare cannot be stopped. It is motivated by witch’s darkest magic, pure hatred and deepest despair to slowly but surely exact eye-for-an-eye revenge, and it enjoys every moment of it. It is a demon beyond comprehension, and its beginning, middle and twisted end is true horror…no one gets away, and everything that happens is tragic. Everyone pays a price, even the protagonist.
And thus, please allow me to graciously introduce all of you to one of my favorite nightmares.