It’s October, finally Fall, so the sun is setting earlier and rising later, and there is a certain mist of impending death in the air as the earth gets ready to shed its skin and go into hibernation for the next 4ish months. To celebrate this we have Halloween! Death! Gloom! Doom! Witches, Bitches, and Slasher Stitches! And the best way to get into the spirit, at least for me, the ritual is to watch horror movies! It’s getting cold outside, I’m going to be trapped inside, and I’m hibernating too, or at least nesting. Which ugh, what shit word for a woman just getting cozy. Like a little bird readying her nest for her flock, but guess what bitches, its not spring, and there are no babies, only vodka and/or whisky, and plenty of birth controlled premarital sex going into this winter, and I am fine with that!
Did I mention that I’m afraid that my neighbor might kill me? Not really, but sort of. Like it’s the shit that all women macabrely fantasize about, right? Like how is some manic man going to actually murder you? For most of us that will luckily never happen, but do you know what I mean? Like you can only watch so many ID shows before imagining your could be future attack, and eventually in one iteration you die, because you can’t make all the right decisions all of the time, and even if you do sometimes you die anyways.
This all started because my bipolar, maybe schizophrenic neighbor really likes my boyfriend for some reason. To clarify I live by myself, but the dude is over often enough so my neighbor sees him. We’ve talked to him a handful of times, each time with varying stages of lucidity on his part. Which brings me to this first movie!
I don’t know if I’m actually qualified to give movie reviews, but as the saying goes if you cant do, critique! This is an Austrian film about two twin boys whose mother comes home after plastic surgery, and she starts acting like a different person. They never know which iteration of Mommy they are going to get, and she becomes less and less like herself which causes them to mistrust that this is the actual mother they know and love. People like to mislabel this film as torture porn, but don’t belive the hype. You can see the after effects, but mostly not the actual violence.
Kind of like my neighbor. You can tell he’s super smart, and after the 4th of July when he freaked out on me for trying to help him and his bf, he apologized like no other. Not to me of course, but to my boyfriend whom he just happened to keep meeting in the hallway. Anyways we’ve talked a few times, and he seems, really sweet, and very lonely... until he gets into a meth induced mania.
A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
This film is so fucking ethereal. It’s an Iranian film both written and directed by the badass Ana Lily Amirpour. This is probably the best film hands down I’ve seen in a year or two, along with being one of the best horror films I’ve seen this season. It’s a gorge, gorge, gorge love story about a man who falls in love with a vampire, or better put, a vampire who falls in love with a man! The man is secondary! Think sort of like Let the Right One In, but on a more transcendent level. Plus the soundtrack is bitchin!
So Tuesday night I was alone, and my buzzer goes off around 10 pm. I being my strong, “I’ve lived in the city for 8 years by myself” self opens the door and it’s Paul, my neighbor, (I figured he should finally have a name, non? ) looking for my boyfriend. At this point I should also tell you that at like 5:30 that morning I heard shit being thrown around, and them him outside blowing a whistle constantly while he was walking around the block for a good 20 min. For some reason in my mind all I can think to say to him after he apologized for bothering me because the bf wasn’t there was “Are you feeling better today?”. There was this shift in his look that registered that I was a friend, or maybe a target, and he suggested that I come into his apartment so he could show me something. Not knowing what else to do, I agreed, and followed behind him down the hallway.
This is the latest M. Night Shyamalan film... and though it’s PG-13, it’s really good! Sort of dull at first, and, for a former film student, obnoxious, as it’s about this 13 year old (whose really obnoxious about explaining film terms) making a documentary about meeting her estranged grandparents for the first time, but it builds suspense by starting out all cheery, sentimental, and comfortable, and then it just escalates bit by bit into terror. I won’t reveal the end, I refuse to, but I’m sure if you have that one asshole friend they can ruin it for you.
I had been to Paul’s apartment once before with my boyfriend and another neighbor he had cornered. It seemed innocuous enough. Shades drawn, and shelves of dead plants lining the walls. He gave us brief tour, and that was it.
That’s what I was expecting when I walked into the apartment wearing my pink fuzzy socks (did I mention is was cold out?) and, upon clearing the landing he immediately doused my feet with water. My brain froze. WHAT? He told me I should put on a pair of his loafers, which I did like a stunned emu. I stepped in to survey what was now the wreckage of the apartment. He was flitting and floating about as I saw a heap of destroyed furniture in the middle of the living room, the closet doors ripped out of their tracking, and the knives sticking out of the wall. He guided me towards the couch and sat me down, meanwhile talking half to me, and half to... someone, no one, over his shoulder. His language was half english, half maybe Swedish, or perhaps a made up version that made sense to him. He jangled his meth pipe in between dirty fingers. I could just sit there as he picked up an IKEA bag, and paced with it, holding the straps between his hands like a potential noose. He then grabbed a towel. “What”, said my mind, “Does he want me to bleed too?” I was frozen in a state of freaking the fuck out, and trying to stay calm as not to rattle him. When he offered me an egg to throw at his already egg stained wall I obliged, and watched as several more cascaded in yellow ooze down the walls and into his air conditioner. He told me he was a unicorn, my boyfriend was genie, and I was a goat (or maybe a duck?). He also spoke of his rapes, and prang, and Avril Levine. In the background played last night’s Loveline, which I don’t usually listen to, but weirdly enough I had because Peaches was on. He brought over a rare book that he had been soaking in tub water, along with his dishes, which was printed in a non spoken, only written form of German that was spliced with images of pornography, that just fell apart in his hands as he was showing it to me.
I was so scared. I needed to get out.
I asked him if he wanted to go outside and have a cigarette. Taken out of his trance he agreed. We left his apartment and I went to mine to grab the smokes, and we went outside. He started yelling at our building manger’s window (He had left a note about the noise the night before), so I convinced him to take a walk around the block. I let him just talk though it was freezing out, and I only had a three quarters length shirt on. At some point his cigarette ran out so I offered him another one. He said it was the first time in a long time he didn’t have to beg for a cigarette. We made our way back to the building, and he started yelling at our building mangers window again. I told him if he was going to yell at the window I was going in. I gave him a hug, and went home, and locked my door, but I couldn’t sleep.
The weird thing about horror is that despite how enthralling it can be, at its core it’s just sad. I kind of feel bad about the “sensationalistic” headline, not because I don’t think it’s true, just because I think it’s just sad. I don’t know what to do about my neighbor, nor apparently do I know how to truly keep myself out of danger. You want to believe the good in somebody, but the truth is you really can’t know how a stranger will flip a switch. Over the last few days I’ve heard him shouting at people in the street, get into a confrontation with the building manager, and run into the middle of Uptown screaming “You fucking Ni***er.” I’m afraid for him and myself. The unknown is the real horror.
So what are your favorite Halloween/Fall rituals? Favorite scary movies? Murder fantasies? Am I being too weird here? Probably? Discuss.