TERMINATOR is Faltering Without its Horror

Kyle Reese was a rightfully scared man. He had an intensity and urgency that a healthy fear can bring out of someone. The hero of The Terminator, a soldier of the post-apocalypse, he’s prone to nightmares of the cold, brutal future he’s been sent from.

He was battle-tested, brave, resourceful and resilient, but don’t confuse courage and cunning for an absence of fear. Kyle was nakedly afraid of what he had to face in order to save Sarah Connor.

Sarah, understandably, was even more terrified of the T-100 (and Kyle, initially), being a civilian stalked and hunted in the middle of the Los Angeles by something even a station full of policemen can’t protect her from. By the second movie, however, that which (barely) failed to kill her has made her stronger. She becomes a hardened survivalist, more fighter than runner, willing to break bones to secure her future, her son’s future, and by extension humankind’s. She is fearsome and fearless during her escape from the hospital… until she once again sets eyes on the thing that hunted her in the first film. read more

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Confessions of a Fear Junkie: Stephen King’s ‘Night Shift’

Stephen King Night Shift book cover

Stephen King’s first collection of short horror stories might still be his best. Then again, I might be a bit biased, since Night Shift is the first Stephen King book that I read. As a young horror fan I was, of course, already familiar with King’s work through film and television adaptations of his stories. I considered myself a fan of his, but at twelve-years-old I hadn’t actually read any of his books yet.

My folks had a copy of Night Shift sitting on the bookshelf . I had never looked twice at that book until the summer before I entered Junior High. I’m not sure why I had avoided it until then. Given that I was already exceptionally susceptible to nightmares, it’s likely that I feared that reading stories coming straight from King’s brain–as opposed to stories delivered from page to screen by some other party–would be more harrowing than I was ready to endure. That summer, I decided to take the dive. read more

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Confessions of a Fear Junkie: The Golden Arm

This is, to my recollection, my earliest encounter with a ghost story, antedating my ongoing, abusive, unhealthy love affair with horror.  It’s not the clearest memory, I was only five-years-old, but it’s less opaque than other memories from that age.

“Who’s got my Golden Arm?!”

My kindergarten teacher’s name was Mrs. Nina (I can’t believe I remember that) and one day she decided to introduce the class to a classic tale about a chimeric spirit. I’m unsure if this was just a weird southern or Mississippi thing or if other parts of the country also had kindergarten teachers relate introductory tales of terror to their classes. read more

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