I love Halloween. In my youth it was 1. Christmas 2. Halloween/Thanksgiving. I have certain personal things that I like to do around this time of the year. I watch an old favorite horror movie or read a favorite novel or short story collection. Last year I chose watching "The Haunting" Not the modern remake but the original 1963 version that scared the yell out of me as a kid. The Julie Harris version:
An evil old house, the kind some people call haunted, is like an
undiscovered country waiting to be explored. Hill House had stood for 90
years and might stand for 90 more. Silence lay steadily against the
wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there... walked alone.
There's also a great scene where the "cleaning lady" says "I won't be here after dark." No one will come..after dark" Or something along those lines. Also, a great scene where the female characters are in bed and there is a booming or stomping sound in the hall. The room is dark. "Stop squeezing my hand so hard" Then from the other side of the room you hear "I'm not squeezing your hand." I know corny now but you watch that at 6 or 7 or 8 years old and see how corny it is then. :-)
Anyway, this year it's reading Salem's Lot by Stephen King. I was in high school in 1975. The world was certainly different. I remember picking up this paperback in the Gadsden Mall bookstore back then. It looked interesting and the person behind the counter said that this "Stephen King" guy is becoming really popular as a writer. I bought the book and was transported to a small Maine town. The characters the young writer drew for the younger reader took me inside myself and I was hooked. This "New England" town reminded me so much of small town rural Alabama. I never forgot this book. I have read it at least twice over the years. But, it's been quite a while since I read it. The scene of the young vampire tapping on his brothers window asking him to come out and play. The character that gave up life in an instant so that he could preserve his soul. The character shooting rats at the town dump. The likeable characters getting picked off one by one by the vampires. Scenes that seemed to jump out. There are others but I don't want to give away the whole plot. But, my other question was "Will the story hold up 35 or 37 years later." Although, the writing isn't quite as incredible as it seemed in my youth. You can tell that the future "Master of Horror" was still refining his trade. I find that the story and the book still hold up well. I'm going back to Salem's Lot tonight and the next couple of nights to finish the tale.
If you are looking for classic and yet modern chills this Halloween I can certainly recommend a trip to a small New England town.