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More on Description

This was going to be a fascinating, intelligent discussion on the contradiction of the term “objective reality” but I got distracted.

I opened the newest issue of Cemetery Dance and my attention was caught by a prominently displayed book on the inside cover. If a person were to explain the cover in generic terms, they might say a little girl smiling into a camera. Sounds innocent and sweet, yes? It is SO not. This is a horror novel after all, so the little girl is in shadow. Her skin has a creepy, funky pasty color and her chin is down so she’s looking up at you through her lashes. Light reflects off the whites of her eyes and all of the sudden, that smile isn’t cute. It’s sinister. And damn, now I need my nightlight.

Why, you ask? Think about how many horror books and movies have centered around a child or a ghost child. Innocence makes us care. Makes us want to cherish and protect. An evil child just goes against our very instincts — takes away what’s still right in this world. So it’s scary.

Remember the Haunting of Julia? The Changeling? These are classics in my family. My sister brought The Changeling over on Halloween this year and the movie still got me. Too bad so many of today’s scary movies don’t cut it.

This novelist must be dancing over this book cover. It’s a great one. I’ll probably read the book. Yeah, the cover creeped me out enough to take notice, but some of his cover quotes weren’t the stale, generic sort you see so much of these days. Words like mysterious, moody, macabre and then they add emotional wallop… I’m hooked. Now, after reading the warnings on gore, I’m hesitating. Not a huge fan of the icky books… but there’s that cover! Here, look for yourself. Barnes & Noble.com – Berserk – Tim Lebbon – Mass Market Paperback

Can you name some good, creepy books or movies featuring children? Besides Damien. Eck.


  1. December 2, 2005    

    Pet Sematary. Way, way creepy, and for the same reason. Yeah, I know it’s old, but my selection stands. The book was awesome, but I thought the movie should never have been made, for the same reason I loved the book, which I read when I was maybe…12. A re-animated toddler slaughters his mother and various neighbors. Creeeeepy!

    King breaks all the rules. He kills off kids (toddlers, at that), and he kills of cats. Then he brings them back. Then he kills them again. It’s horrible. It’s scary. It’s wonderful.

    Can you guess who one of my favorite authors is?

    Loved this post, by the way. You express yourself very, very well. Even for a writer. And in case this isn’t clear, that’s just about the biggest compliment I give.

    Hope to actually meet you soon!

  2. December 3, 2005    

    I responded to your post last night but must have done something wrong. Not surprising.

    I’m a fellow King fan. In fact, you might already have it, but his book, On Writing, is wonderful. There’s a great chapter on description.

    I’m one of those weird people who took on both versions of The Stand more than once. As far as the movies made from his work, there are a couple that are good like Misery and Dolores Claiborne. One of my all time favorite stories of his was The Running Man. I couldn’t wait for that movie. I ended up walking out since it had nothing to do with the story.

    Pet Sematary was so freaking creepy! Quite a message on love and letting something go, eh? I never read that book because I saw the movie first– didn’t really like the movie.

    Welcome to my blog!

  3. December 4, 2005    

    The kid looks like she’s getting ready to eat the title. 😉

    My list of the scariest, most disturbing books with kids? Pollyanna
    Pippy Longstockings
    Rebecca (of Sunnybrook Farm)

    Oh, I can’t continue – the nightmare images…the gooey sweetness threatening to blow the glycemic index! Aaaaaarrtrrggggghhhh!!!!

  4. December 5, 2005    

    I loved those books when I was a young girl. But then I was into sugary sweet melodrama. I even (looks furtively around) watched every single episode of Little House on the Prairie!

  5. December 5, 2005    

    I only enjoyed Little House once Almonzo got on and Laura started competing with Nellie for his affections. I was so mortified when the apple fell out of her dress!

    I don’t remember liking these books. But I certainly loved Ramona (anything by Beverly Cleary), Narnia, Alice, etc. More edgy stuff I guess.

  6. December 5, 2005    

    I had every Ramona book, Narnia, Alice and I moved into adult books by the time I was eleven. Read my first Harlequin Presents at 12. Also read a Ted Bundy biography at twelve. Pippi and Heidi were books I read in the first grade. heh heh

    I will still sit and watch the episode where Almonzo drives her to that teaching job and realizes she’s all grown up. Oh, it was so romantic! Of course, I was, I think, ten when that came out.–>

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