May Monster Madness Blog Hop. Click the link or the image to visit the master post for the hop, or scroll to the bottom of the post to see the linky list.
When I was much younger, less than eight, I never had a problem with windows looking out into the dark. I didn't like being in the dark, but looking out into it was never a problem. Then I read a children's ghost story in a Mandy annual (probably the one to the left, but I can't remember the year).
It was a simple story about a girl who heard something at her window and thought it must just be a branch or a bird. Then she looked and it was a face and she screamed and screamed. It wasn't graphic, just a little story, but I still can't sleep with the curtains open. Isn't it strange how childhood things still affect us. I used the same idea in my book Face of the Dead, because I remember it freaking me out so much.
Dark places into which we cannot see are the most fantastic spots for monsters.
The best use of this I have seen recently is the Hammer version of The Woman In Black with Daniel Radcliff. They have this arch at the end of a long hallway that is so dark it is almost completely black and, of course, eventually, that's where the woman in black appears. You can see the black alcove I'm talking about over Arthur's shoulder in this picture.
Of course the darkness of space is superb for horror, as the catch phrase goes: "In space, no one can hear you scream."
It's basically another reworking of the Alien genre, but it's well done with an interesting array of characters. The creatures cannot stand light, so, of course, all darkness is dangerous. This is a blatant use of the human fear of the dark and it works very well.
We rely so much on our sense of sight that anything that lurks in the dark can terrify us. My favourite monsters of all don't terrify me (well not usually), but they do lurk in the dark. I am a huge vampire fan and most of them have a big problem with daylight. Bringing this blog full circle, the creepiest vampire I remember gave me another problem with windows.
When I was ten or eleven I think, I remember seeing Salem's Lot (the original mini series) on TV. Now this had a superb scene where Ralphie Glick comes to his brother and floats outside his window (see below). This gave me the heebeegeebees for weeks, especially since, at the time, we were on holiday with relatives and my sister and I were sleeping in a room with the exact same windows. A mist comes up out of the dark, Ralphie floats in and then his brother Danny lets him in, to his doom.
I have to admit, I enjoy the remake, but it doesn't quite manage to be as eerie as that one scene I remember.
What monsters lurk in your dark places? ;)
[Edit: Just thought I'd add, I wrote a drabble (100 word story) inspired by Monster Madness today as well: Cocoon of Safety?]
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