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The Words Scared Right Out Of Me
by Xavier Jones-Barlow

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At First I Was Afraid...

At First I Was Afraid...
With all this talk of Halloween you may have noticed all the other columnists going absolutely horror genre barmy. There is a reason for this. Just over a month ago the powers that be charged us all to theme our columns with musings on the macabre, with a promise of goodies to the best. Woo Hoo! I thought, I am always up for a challenge and a little bit of competition is healthy, or so they say. So we have all had plenty of time to deliver the goods.

A little background; being English Halloween does not register too greatly on the holiday radar. Our stoic and boring nature allows us to bob for apples or maybe if we are really good, watch a scary movie. Since moving to Scotland my personal outlook has altered significantly and I now proudly partake in the festivities of drinking and dressing up with much gusto. However considering my previous tea-addled serene existence I have been fortunate enough to sit through many a fright fest.

So naturally I thought that I would have the armament to produce a piece of writing that was sublime as it could be goody winning. Not so, over the course of the last week I have encountered a number of stumbling blocks, namely all the other columnists.

Not only am I honoured and humbled by the opportunity to write my column every two weeks for Matchflicks, I also take great pleasure from the work of my compatriots. I am of the opinion that the variety and diversity is a credit to the site and most entertaining to boot. Right now however, I am absolutely livid.

At first I was going to be clever and analyse the horror character that has been submitted to celluloid the most. A chronological account of the evolution of DRACULA, from NOSFERATU to CRONOS via Eddie Murphy would be entertaining enough for my five or so readers. Unluckily
...I Almost Succumbed To The Rage Virus.

...I Almost Succumbed To The Rage Virus.
for me, Angela Mac produced a quite superb piece about the other film horror giant; FRANKENSTEIN (or at least his monster), that columns brilliance would have outshone anything I could have done so I canned that idea.

If not a fictional character then why not one of the many actors that have made their name from immersing themselves from films stickiest sub culture. Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing or even Neve Campbell all could have done with a little examination on my part. Hold on a second there, that would simply not work as Zombie Boy had that base covered. I do not think that I could ever compete with Paul's knowledge and passion of screen scariness so I 'filed' that idea as well. ZB has also threatened to eat my flesh in the past and frankly I find that a little chilling.

How about an overview? I have come to the conclusion that I have become desensitised to blood and gore and such things simply do not scare me anymore. A startling and bold rant along these lines would make my point firmly known. It would, that is, if Mr. Thom Parallax had not so eloquently made his spookily similar thoughts known. Thom, I salute you.

I could keep it simple. My top five scary movies/scenes would suffice. Sadly not only have I mentioned them on numerous occasions before now but the likes of Christa and Emma, to name but two have perfectly conveyed such thoughts. Just for good measure I'll list them anyway. THE WARNING, EVIL DEAD, JAWS, COYOTE UGLY and NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. Bizarrely I do feel a little better.

So, with all that covered what is there left? I could have given my run down of cinemas top scary bad guys. Well maybe I should have and not mentioned the fact that over here a TV show just aired. One of those banal 'Top 100' shows featuring, yep, the top scary
But Really, I Have Nothing But Love For My Fellow Columnists

But Really, I Have Nothing But Love For My Fellow Columnists
bad guys. I was looking forward to explaining why Darth Vader is simply terrifying, CARRIE is a lady you really would do well to avoid and SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS is the spawn of the devil. There is also the small matter of Simon's columnistic contribution, which is almost entirely devoted to that very subject. Plainly, it would have been cheap of me.

How about some of that childish cheekiness that I like to pretend is my trademark. Some of the truly horrific aspects of modern cinema would have been tackled here. Such as 'Shocking Spending'. SPIDER-MAN 3 had a special effects budget of $250,000,000 and yet they could not afford a tea-bag (check the early scene where Rosemary Harris serves water from a teapot and then adds milk!). Eeeek.
Or, 'Petrifying Payroll'. The almost offensive amounts of money certain performers get paid to act like mud. Aaarrgh. In addition I could have expressed my abject fear of unnecessary sequels, to tie in nicely the SAW films would have been subjected to a fair battering. All this would have been great, but I have since decided that it would have not been in keeping with the comparative tone.

I then considered trying to be uncharacteristically clever. A serious study of why we make nasty films and why, as humans, we react so profoundly to them. But I did not want to sound like a psychology textbook and ultimately look stupid.

In conclusion, I will just meekly hold my hands in the air, shrug my shoulders, sigh and admit defeat. Of sorts. No great insights here, not even that amusing and nothing to shock. Just me chatting shit.

Now watch while the remaining columnists produce Pulitzer quality writing. No pressure Zara. And have a riotous Halloween.

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Xavier's Book Club
Every other Saturday

Xavier analyses film, literary. A bizarre melding of books and movies.

Other Columns
Other columns by Xavier Jones-Barlow:

My Month As A Teenage Girl

Mr Jones and the Shame of the Spolier Scolls

Fragment: Consider Revising.

Proof Reading The Movies #1

The Cinematic Chicken And The Literary Egg

All Columns

Xavier Jones-Barlow
Xavier lives in Scotland where it is very cold. He spends his time writing about live bands and people dreamt up in his bizarre imagination. Quite huggable .

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Xavier Jones-Barlow by clicking here.

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