March 21st, 2009

Happy Trees Bob

Stabby Kittens

I wonder sometimes why some things scare other people so much more than me, and vice versa. Case in point: pictures found by googling "creepy". I assume that people must tag them or label them so because they hold at least some level of fear, but most to me are merely grotesque or pointedly staged, and thus more annoying than creepy. What seems like a better definition of "creepy" to me is a situation wherein every part but one belongs. Isn't that the nagging bit of fear that keeps it with you long after you leave? A photo of a gothed-out girl in a cemetery isn't creepy; it's indulgent. What's creepy is a solemn funeral ceremony with everyone turned toward the coffin except one little girl, who is smiling at you. What is creepy is, later that day or week or year, walking down an otherwise busy street and seeing that same girl reflected in a store window, wearing the same outfit and the same smile. Vampires and werewolves, in themselves, aren't creepy to me. They're too kitsch, too overdone, especially when placed together, which is a horrible misrepresentation of both traditions. The ending of the otherwise only boobs-and-blood Jean Rollin film, La Morte Vivante, caught me as especially creepy. The insatiable title character's lesbian lover, after feeding victims to her one by one, finally gives herself up instead of destroying the woman, presumably knowing that she also would not be enough. What was it? A love so deep that, when she finally realized no amount of victims would bring the woman back to a sensible version of life, she couldn't take it yet couldn't bring herself to end it the right way? Whatever the reason, that was creepy. Mary Poppins was fucking creepy. Aliens wasn't. It takes less than throwing out excrutiating pain and gore or mixing up a hundred discordant symbols to be creepy, not more.

Maybe it's because I've been so close to real, personal death that I've learned that it isn't death itself that should be scary, but rather uncertainty. For most people, I think death means uncertainty in one form or another, but not for me. For me, it's going about daily life and finding something that shouldn't be there or, conversely, being in a horrific situation where there is one particular thing that doesn't belong because it isn't horrific. Let me get personal for a minute. On the night I got shot, my friends and I ran around trying to make mischief in our admittedly amateur way. There was a bank building on Magnolia Ave. that we knew stayed unlocked for about a week because it was being renovated and the doors were yet to be replaced. In my way of thinking, this building, perfectly normal looking from the outside, except for its missing doors, was creepy. Of course, that only encouraged us to run through it roughshod. It was empty of almost everything besides a few pieces of furniture and a large potted iris. Naturally, we stole the iris and hid it elsewhere while we went to our original destination, Mary & John's nightclub. After closing, we went back, and I picked up the iris to carry it to my friend's house, but we got waylaid instead. That part of the story I've told many times before and so need not detail it here. What is out of place, and makes the whole instance truly unusual, is that I set down the iris when the trouble started and was right beside it when I tried to run. The next time I went back to the lot, I noticed that someone had planted it right where I had lain. Perhaps they thought that I had died, but that's beside the point. At the time, shootings and even random murders weren't uncommon and shrines are often placed at the locations, so anyone could have brought a flower and planted it there; but I'm the one who brought it. That's creepy.
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    Gayane Ballet Suite - Khachaturian