The last time I watched John Carpenter’s Halloween, six or seven years ago, I laughed most of the way through, even at the Horror Movie Moments that made me shriek. I was amused, even dismissive … until I went to bed. Suddenly I heard phantom creaks everywhere, and was convinced that someone was climbing the stairs, step by step, plodding ever closer to me in the dark, breathing heavily through his mask.
I feel a bit silly admitting that I was so deeply affected by such a trifle, if only for a night. At the time, I attributed my irrational and unassuageable fear that night to other causes: it was shortly after E.’s death, and I was spending a great deal of energy diverting natural grief and anger and (yes) fear into other channels.
Halloween was available at the library today, and I rarely pass up a chance to see a horror classic, so I grabbed it without thinking whether I was really in the mood for a scare tonight. As soon as darkness fell, I checked the locks, pulled tight the blinds on my
maniac’s eye-level ground-level windows, turned on a light in an adjacent room, then popped in the tape.
When the music started, I felt my chest tighten a bit. Silly! As the credits rolled, I decided to set up a brief diversionary task, to keep in touch with the mundane for a few minutes more. I walked to the nearby kitchen counter to prep some things for dinner, and that’s why I noticed…
My second-best chef’s knife is missing.