Saturday, October 29, 2016

October 29: Carl Kolchak, Kim Addonizio, "Scary Movies"

When I was a kid, my favorite TV show was Kolchak:  The Night Stalker.  It was about a Chicago reporter, played by Darren McGavin (yes, the dad from A Christmas Story), who spent most of his days tracking down and battling vampires and zombies and other things that go bump in the night.  It lasted only one season (1974-1975), but it was the best series ever.  Ever.

I have always been attracted to darker subject matter.  I'm a poet.  What can I say?  Loved The Exorcist and Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street (the originals, not the lame sequels).  Read every Stephen King and John Saul novel that I could get my hands on.  Halloween and Christmas battled in my heart for supremacy.

I think the reason that horror fiction appealed to me is that it touched on subjects that kids aren't normally exposed to.  Big subjects.  Death.  Afterlife.  Violence.  Myth.  Murder.  Monsters.  Sex.  Horror fiction doesn't shy away from crossing boundaries.  That's why the Goosebumps books are so popular.  They acknowledge the fact for kids that there's scary shit out there.

As an adult now, I still watch an occasional horror film (mostly with my teenage daughter).  But I can't remember the last Stephen King novel that I've read from start to finish.  Maybe, as I've gotten older and encountered the real scary shit in the world, I don't feel the need to read about it, as well.  It's not so entertaining any more.

Tonight, however, Saint Marty is going to force his daughter to watch an episode of Kolchak.  It's still a freakin' great show.

Scary Movies

by:  Kim Addonizio

Today the cloud shapes are terrifying,   
and I keep expecting some enormous   
black-and-white B-movie Cyclops   
to appear at the edge of the horizon,

to come striding over the ocean   
and drag me from my kitchen   
to the deep cave that flickered   
into my young brain one Saturday

at the Baronet Theater where I sat helpless   
between my older brothers, pumped up   
on candy and horror—that cave,
the litter of human bones

gnawed on and flung toward the entrance,   
I can smell their stench as clearly
as the bacon fat from breakfast. This   
is how it feels to lose it—

not sanity, I mean, but whatever it is   
that helps you get up in the morning
and actually leave the house
on those days when it seems like death

in his brown uniform
is cruising his panel truck
of packages through your neighborhood.   
I think of a friend’s voice

on her answering machine—
Hi, I’m not here—
the morning of her funeral,   
the calls filling up the tape

and the mail still arriving,
and I feel as afraid as I was
after all those vampire movies   
when I’d come home and lie awake

all night, rigid in my bed,
unable to get up
even to pee because the undead   
were waiting underneath it;

if I so much as stuck a bare
foot out there in the unprotected air   
they’d grab me by the ankle and pull me   
under. And my parents said there was

nothing there, when I was older   
I would know better, and now   
they’re dead, and I’m older,   
and I know better.

1 comment:

  1. Stephen King is giggle fest in comparision with daily life as an adult.