Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Strange Comforts

It's odd how things work out.

I knew I was going to be a few days late getting to Hail Horror 4; my business trip to Texas turned out to be a lot more draining than I thought, and every day I was home turned into something that needed to be addressed with the family, whether it was my wife's grandmother's 90th birthday party, my son's first day of nursery school, and a lot of prep work for a job I'm currently pursuing that's far outside the type of work I do now. Nevertheless, I was finally at a place where I was ready to go, I had in fact ditched the first movie I saw (Werner Herzog's remake of NOSFERATU, which I liked but couldn't generate enough of a reaction to write about) and settled on another to kick things off.

When I got the call from my brother, who lives down in Florida a few minutes away from my father, he explained that my father was in the hospital. In the middle of the night he suffered a mild heart attack. He thought nothing of it, and went back to bed. He had his second a few hours later and, rather than do the smart thing and wake his wife, or call 9-1-1, he decided to drive himself to the airport.

Leaving his car he collapsed in the parking lot, his third heart attack in 12 hours. The hospital staff found him and rushed him into the emergency room.

That was Monday. Now it's Wednesday, and things are the same. He flat-lined yesterday, and was resuscitated. Today they're going in to see what's going on. And I've had a little time to come to grips with what's going on, and the weird thing I found myself going to the stack of horror movies sitting on top of the television cabinet.

This isn't the first time I've found horror to be a comfort. When my wife was pregnant with our son, she went into labor eight weeks early, and was forced to stay in the hospital for four weeks. It was early May outside, the sun shining through the growing buds on the trees, but inside it was FRIDAY THE 13TH, HALLOWEEN, and NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET.

Maybe the real draw of horror is that at times we're compelled to wipe away the pain and terror in our lives, and one way to do that is to expose ourselves to something even more gruesome and terrifying. Maybe it's a chance to escape, to see someone handle the unknown and unexplainable so that we can better cope with our own hurdles.

At any rate, it looks like the first entry will be up tonight, with more to come by week's end.

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