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All Too Suggestible - Laura Wise

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July 7th, 2014


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01:22 pm - All Too Suggestible
As a rule, I avoid horror films and television. They scare me too much.

(I don't mind horror fiction so much, for some reason.)

Well do I remember the experience of watching The X-Files and then putting out my Small Black Dog of Chaos for her last trip before bedtime. I would stand at the backdoor and feel unease creep up my spine, little insect-bites of fear, until I would call her -- or more likely, run outside and scoop her up -- and retreat to a less exposed part of the house. Those would be nights I would lie awake a little longer than usual, listening to the rustle of leaves outside my window and fearing shadows.

So, anyway, last night I watched Endeavour on Masterpiece Mystery!: Series Two, Episode Two, "Nocturne." I am unexpectedly drawn into Endeavour in a way I wasn't for Inspector Morse -- whether it's the unfamiliarity of 60s Oxford or a difference in tone, I don't know. (Also, wee, frail Shaun Evans is compelling.) I loved Lewis for its cosy familiar feel, but Endeavour can make me significantly more tense.

"Nocturne", however, was creepy, full-stop: a huge, half-rotting old house, site of a century-old mass murder; schoolgirls with a bit of ye olde Turn of the Screw uncanniness; a hint of the supernatural in the presentation. (As in this clip, wherein Endeavour is investigating in the barricaded upper storey whilst a supporting player talks about What She's Seen. Gaaah.) I found it gripping and frightening, even as the answers were given, and afterward....

Master Danger had to be taken out into the dark backyard before I put him to bed. With odd reluctance I fastened his leash and led him outside. He did the appropriate business and then froze, alert, at something I couldn't see, just under my bedroom window. I cannot tell you what it was (a cat? a possum? a spectral figure out of nightmare), but I gave the leash a tug, and Master Danger hurtled to the backdoor and barked to be let in.

So, it was nothing really. But I had to go through all my house with all the lights on before I could rest, and I had to take my cellphone with me when I went to bed. And I lay awake for much longer than usual, listening to the rustle of leaves and fearing shadows. I am far, far too easily suggestible.

Can stories or films or television scare you?

May you only have good stories to take you through your Monday. :)

(25 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:tx_cronopio
Date:July 7th, 2014 05:24 pm (UTC)
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Oddly enough, I had a much lower fear threshhold before I watched Buffy. That kind of cured me :)
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From:laurawise
Date:July 7th, 2014 05:31 pm (UTC)
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Weirdly, Buffy and Angel are exceptions -- I almost never was frightened watching them! How odd.

Cheers for your Monday, Cronopio.
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From:freixenet
Date:July 7th, 2014 05:46 pm (UTC)
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What is unseen is always far more terrifying than what IS seen! I have given myself some pretty good scares by just listening to my back garden at night. I'd have checked all the doors and windows too, L.
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From:laurawise
Date:July 7th, 2014 08:13 pm (UTC)
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Yes, the unseen is bad for people with imaginations! Solidarity!

Hugs, too. :)
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From:gwynnega
Date:July 7th, 2014 07:43 pm (UTC)
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In general I avoid the gorier films and TV (and I stayed away from most of The X-Files for that reason). I prefer psychological horror, even though that's the stuff that actually scares me, to the stuff that grosses me out. :-)

:::hugs::
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From:laurawise
Date:July 7th, 2014 08:14 pm (UTC)
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I don't like gore either, although I didn't mind The X-Files. (But no Hannibal for me!) And I am a sucker for a haunted-house story, but gaaaah.

Hugs and a good Monday!
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From:mobile_alh
Date:July 7th, 2014 08:18 pm (UTC)
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Yes, that was a particularly creepy episode and the grouping of the school girls in their various outdoor settings shouted Turn of the Screw reimagined as an ad campaign for Ralph Lauren.

And isn't Shaun Evans just irresistible?
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:July 7th, 2014 09:42 pm (UTC)
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the grouping of the school girls in their various outdoor settings shouted Turn of the Screw reimagined as an ad campaign for Ralph Lauren.

Heeeee. But let's not tell Mr Lauren, because he might withdraw funding from Masterpiece. ;)

Shaun Evans keeps surprising me! And his vulnerability breaks my heart.

Hugs hugs, ALH!
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From:kathyh
Date:July 7th, 2014 09:16 pm (UTC)
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Ah, *that* episode of Endeavour. I had my eyes shut through at least half of it and kept demanding that hubby tell me what was happening. I like Endeavour a lot too, though it makes me a little sad to know what's going to happen to Morse (I've never been able to watch that last episode). Lewis is my comfort blanket :)

I am very easily scared, though Buffy and Angel never did. There's been a new series on here called Hinterland, which is unusual in being in both English and Welsh. We both liked it a lot but it had some creepy moments too. It's always the music that gets me as I think at least 75% of the scare factor is generated by the background music.
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From:laurawise
Date:July 7th, 2014 09:44 pm (UTC)
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I wonder if it's knowing the end of Morse that makes Endeavour so poignant, because yes, the programme has a melancholic edge to it. Or maybe it's Shaun Evans and his vulnerability.

Lewis is just plain comforting. :)

Hinterland sounds cool but too scary for me!

[hugs hugs]
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From:janus_74
Date:July 7th, 2014 09:44 pm (UTC)
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Only happy stories, films and television for me. Sad or scary stay with me way too long.
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From:laurawise
Date:July 7th, 2014 09:45 pm (UTC)
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I absolutely prefer happy stories as well! But somehow I often write ones with scary edges. ;)

Cheers and a good Monday night to you, T!
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From:stateless82
Date:July 7th, 2014 10:28 pm (UTC)
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I am a total coward. I don't like blood, or innards- I even watched most of House with my hands over my eyes. Zombies (and mummies) freak me the hell out. The Gentlemen on Buffy still scare me to death. Can't watch The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock or previews for horror movies. Harry Connick Jr can still make the hair on the back of my neck stand up and it's been years since I saw him in Copycat. When I was in high school reading Shirley Jackson gave me nightmares and I hid my mothers copy of We Have Always Lived in the Castle in the winter coat closet just to be safe.

So, yes.

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From:laurawise
Date:July 7th, 2014 10:50 pm (UTC)
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I'm funny about blood in TV or film -- I don't like gore, but a quick shot in a normal detective-series episode doesn't bother me. However, I am RIGHT WITH YOU in terms of trailers for horror films! Gaah.

I love the idea of hiding the evil horror books, but.... no, I won't say what I was going to say. Anyhoo.

[hugs hugs]
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From:heron_pose
Date:July 8th, 2014 01:05 am (UTC)
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Oh, my, I completely understand -- some nights I think I'd like something a bit creepy, but living alone, it's just too easy to imagine what's in the dark, or attribute Knowledge to dogs who occasionally become Alert in unexpected ways.

Pleasant dreams!
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From:laurawise
Date:July 8th, 2014 11:53 am (UTC)
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Imagination can be a curse sometimes.

And dogs can give the Alert when the wind blows, a lizard scuttles across the screen door, someone two doors down comes home.... Or maybe that's just Master Danger. ;)

Hugs! More hugs, H_P!
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From:anne_d
Date:July 8th, 2014 04:42 am (UTC)
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There are some themes I avoid, like anything involving child molestation or abuse. I hide my eyes if it's gross or ooky or bloody.

But what scares me the most are things that skirt the borders of reality. The film Brazil gave me nightmares for a week. So did Mira Grant's Newsflesh Trilogy.

Then there was the time a group of us went to see Peter Weir's The Last Wave - we wandered out into the balmy So Cal evening, chatting about how good it was... and there were puddles on the ground. Paul and I still joke about it, but at the time, the group of us were all a bit taken aback.
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From:laurawise
Date:July 8th, 2014 11:55 am (UTC)
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I loved early Elizabeth George, but (aside from Other Things) it bothered me how very often the murder of a child was used for the main plot. :(

How interesting about "skirting the borders of reality" being your scare! Your examples are all dystopian, and I tend to react very very badly to dystopian fiction, although it's not fear as such.

Hugs and no uncanniness in your Tuesday.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:July 9th, 2014 12:25 am (UTC)
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Yes, animal reactions to the unseen make everything more terrifying. The Small Black Dog of Chaos used to stare intently at one corner of the living room until I was ready to jump out of my skin. ;)

Gore is not interesting to me. [nods]

Hugs and a good evening!
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From:winding_path
Date:July 9th, 2014 11:52 am (UTC)
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Yes. I pretty much avoid anything too far into the horror genre. I do all right with some TV shows (Buffy never bothered me, Supernatural only rarely), but most of my good friends have at some point or another told me about a movie they've enjoyed and added the caveat, "Of course, you'd never be able to watch it." On a good day, the trailer for a horror movie can leave me on edge.

I guess the price of a good imagination is, well, a good imagination.

Hugs to you and Master Danger, L.
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From:laurawise
Date:July 9th, 2014 03:13 pm (UTC)
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It's so interesting that Buffy didn't scare most of us even if we are easily scared. (Except for the Gentlemen in "Hush," which, gaah.)

I have perfected my own lunge for the remote when it looks like a horror trailer is coming on. ;)

[hugs hugs!]
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From:roguedemon
Date:July 11th, 2014 01:53 am (UTC)
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I mainly find pure horror films boring. They don't scare me, they just kind of gross me out at times. At this point, I am much more scared of real life than fiction. I mean, I worry about things happening to people I love. I worry about my health. So I can't say that I've never been creeped out by anything fictional, but I seem to be much less suggestible now.

I like anything with dark emotional themes. I find catharsis through watching fictional characters be put through the wringer (figuratively). But I need to have some attachment to the characters, or the story falls flat for me.
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From:laurawise
Date:July 11th, 2014 06:45 pm (UTC)
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I admire you in finding catharsis in dark emotional themes. You are properly Aristotelian!

And I understand the horrors of real life taking precedence, yes.

[sends masses of hugs]
[User Picture]
From:roguedemon
Date:July 12th, 2014 12:31 am (UTC)
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That's funny. I remember being really into Aristotle in college. I guess it stayed there in my subconscious. ((Hugs))

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