Tuesday, December 13, 2011

SHOCKING CHILLS

Why is it that readers want to have the same experience in reading a book (or listening to it)?  Many complain when a book is different than what they expected, or when a movie doesn't deliver according to Hollywood formula.  I recall going to see Blair Witch Project, and at the end a guy on the front row stands up and yells, "That was the biggest waste of time ever!"  He was so certain, so secure in his assessment that he imagined not one person in the audience could possibly disagree.  Now, true, the movie was not a masterpiece, but it was different and original.  And it also gave me a creepy feeling at the end, when someone supposedly dead is standing there in that cabin in the woods, staring at the corner.  This idiot yelling his opinion wasted some of that effect for me.  Maybe he eats at McDonalds every day too, and (like someone I know) prides himself on what he won't do, including travel outside his home state.  All of us, to some degree or another, think our view of things is the correct one, and nothing new is worth exploring.  So we go to movies or read books that our closest friends tell us are worthy of our time.  Alas, these "friends," while well meaning, are usually chosen by us because they think like we do.  They're also likely to be influenced by Top 10 lists and Entertainment Tonight, and peer pressure to be "cool" (meaning conformist rather than what it should mean--original.)  You need to remind yourself to think outside the box once in a while.  (Even Lady Gaga does that.)  Otherwise Lloyd Blankfein and Coca-Cola will own you.  (Bankrupted by Goldman Sachs CEO and his ilk, and a diabetic also hooked on that "always satisfying" McFat burger.)  Where's the beef?  It's being huddled into dirt pens, fed grain it wasn't meant to eat, and just when the animals are about to die--bloated--they're slaughtered for McPatties.  There's some horror you never see, either.  Okay, now for a couple offbeat horror novels for you.  Chris Patton reads DEEP BLUE by the award winning David Niall Wilson, about a poor musician who stumbles into range of an old blues harmonica player, who teaches him the secret of playing from the soul.  Only there's a price to pay on the road to recovery and redemption, which may include ghosts and demons.  So be careful if you're looking for fame and fortune.  In CREATURES OF THE POOL by Ramsey Campbell a walking tour guide in search of his missing father in Liverpool (Campbell's home town) discovers a race of misfits living among--and below--the "normal" people.  Andy Rowe narrates this atmospheric fictional memoir.  Neither of these books resemble the fast page-turning thrillers of, say, James Patterson, of course.  But they are not meant to do so.  There is no formula here.  There's no buckets of blood being splashed around.  A few drops will do, as less is more.  You don't come away empty handed, either.  If you look close, there might be a drop on the line in your palm known as the "life line."  Do you want chills or shocks?  Sometimes shocks are boring, while chills can be shocking in their rarity, these days.  All you need is a little patience.  Wait for it.  Wait...  


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