The Devil Inside wasn’t scary. So here’s a list of things that are.

I like scary movies.

I’m not talking about the crazily gruesome Saw/Human Centipede variety. You couldn’t pay me to watch those.

But genuine horror movies, when done well, are awesome.

A good horror movie doesn’t just make you jump during the film—it does that too, don’t get me wrong—but a REALLY good horror movie will keep you scared LONG after you leave the theater. If you’re not cowering under the covers with the lights on for a week, the movie didn’t do its job.

Stephen King is, of course, the master of horror. The movies of his books didn’t really scare me, but I’m still haunted by some of his creations. I first read The Shining when I was twelve years old, and to this day, I STILL have to turn on the lights when I go to the bathroom in the middle of the night to make sure that the chick from the bathtub in room 217 isn’t in MY bathtub.

Paranormal Activity didn’t scare me THAT much until my calendar fell off the wall about an hour after watching it. But it succeeded because I definitely debated putting baby powder around my bed to see if a demon stepped in it that night, and made Rosie sleep on the outside of the bed, just so the demon would eat her first.

The same thing happened with The Ring. I wasn’t particularly scared at the time. But when I fell asleep with the tv on a week later and woke up that night to snow on the screen, then realized it was EXACTLY seven days after I’d watched the movie, I went diving into my roommate’s room and insisted on sleeping in her bed. Turns out the cable was just out, but I wasn’t taking any chances!

But there’s nothing worse than a failure of a horror movie.

Trust me. I know from experience.

Because I saw The Devil Inside Friday night and it was the second worst movie-going experience of my life. The first being having to watch the anal rape scene in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo sitting between my mother and grandmother on Christmas day. Seriously. It was up there with THAT level of bad.

The problem? There wasn’t a single truly scary moment in the whole movie.

Literally, the scariest thing that happened in it was when the characters walk past a fenced-in yard and a dog jumps out and starts barking from behind the fence.

I’m not kidding.

And considering that the previews looked super-scary, I don’t understand how it can have epic-failed as much as it did.

People in the theater actually booed when it ended. I’ve never seen that happen before.

I could summarize all of the reasons why it completely sucked, but I’m not even going to dignify the movie with that level of description. Instead, I’m going to give you a list of things that scare me MORE than The Devil Inside.

1. Stink bugs—I almost crashed my car on four separate occasions when I noticed stink bugs in my car. MUCH scarier than that movie.

2. ET—That little alien scares the crap out of me. I mean, he appears to me made of brown leather, his heart glows, he hides in your closet and eats all of the Reese’s Pieces. NOT okay.

3. Twilight fans—these tweens are going to be running the world someday. Be afraid.

4. Joan Rivers’ face—do I need to explain this one?

5. Lady Gaga—I like her. I do. But I’m also scared of her.

6. Peeing on the third rail of the Metro—granted, I’m a girl and would have to literally be right on top of it to try this, and I have no intention of ever doing it. But if you really COULD get electrocuted from peeing on it, that’s scary as hell.

7. Cats—pure unadulterated evil. Except the ones that look like Hitler. They’re ok in my book.

8. Walt Disney’s frozen head—okay, say they find a cure for whatever killed him and bring him back. He’s just going to be a semi-defrosted head. I think if you’re dead, you need to stay dead. And if you’re frozen, STAY FROZEN.

9. The MVA—Call me sheltered if you will, but I never realized the scum of humanity that exists until I went to renew my driver’s license. I’d stay in the Overlook all alone for the winter over going back there, ANY day.

10. Those condoms that are advertised as being 40 percent thinner—I don’t know about you, but when it comes to something that’s supposed to be protection against AIDS, less is NOT more. I feel like if you use those, to quote Mean Girls, you WILL get pregnant and die.

11. The old ladies who walk around buck naked in the gym locker room—Like okay, I understand you need to change your clothes in there. But do you need to dry your hair naked? Or try to have a conversation with me? It’s disturbing!

12. The lion and tiger habitats at the zoo—every once in awhile, you hear those stories about the jungle cats just deciding to leap over the wall. And I know they can. So the lesson here is, do NOT taunt the tigers. They CAN eat you if they want to.

13. Walmart—I’ve never been there and I have no intention of going there. But looking at peopleofwalmart.com means that I know Walmart is scarier than that movie was.

14. The Loch Ness Monster.

15. Pennies–No, they’re not scary. But neither was The Devil Inside.  Then again, my brother swallowed one once.  So next time you’re handing a penny, just remember, someone might have pooped that out before you touched it.  Come to think of it, that’s pretty scary.  And gross.

16. The fact that someone actually green-lit this idiocy of a script and MADE THIS MOVIE. Seriously. Our society has reached an all-time low point now.

All I can say is the The Woman in Black better be actually scary, despite starring Harry Potter. Because I’m planning to see that one, and if it’s even half as bad as The Devil Inside, the creators of those movies are going to have something REALLY scary to fear.

Me.

Because I want a refund on both the money AND the time I wasted watching that crap.

I found my hairbrush in the fridge–was it evil elves, Inception, or insomnia?

Yesterday morning, I couldn’t find my hairbrush.

I looked in all of the places that I could have logically set it down.

No luck.

I looked in all of the places where it could have fallen after I logically set it down.

Nothing.

I looked in Rosie’s crate and under my bed (where she likes to hide anything that interferes with my ability to devote all of my attention to her all of the time. My cell phone winds up in both locations frequently).

Still no hairbrush.

Finally, I gave up because I was running crazily late for school and keep a hairbrush in my car.

And then, of course, once I stopped looking, I found it.

In my refrigerator.

Yeah. That was a proud moment.

Now, your average person would be able to make one of three logical assumptions upon finding her hairbrush in the refrigerator.

Logical Assumption #1: Early onset dementia. Or, as we call it in my family, turning 35. But I’m not close to that age yet. And while I AM precocious in many ways, I still have the ability to work a dvd player, send an email, and drive a car without knocking off my side mirrors, so I think I can–for the time being–rule out that special hereditary gift that I’m eventually bound to inherit.

Logical Assumption #2: The elves that break into my apartment every night to cobble shoes and order pay-per-view movies on my account got drunk Wednesday night and thought it would be hilarious to put my hairbrush in the fridge and my bras in the microwave.

I do know that the elves were on the job Wednesday night, because all of my shoes were freshly cobbled and my cable bill is listing the movies, “Our Bodies, Our Elves,” “Snow White and the Seven Horny Elves,” “Harold and Kumelf go to the Keebler Factory,” “The Wizard of Elf,” and “Pretty Woman.” (Because as everyone knows, elves love elf porn. And Richard Gere movies.)

But none of my bras were missing, so I’m pretty sure the elves just did their normal cobbling/movie watching and then went on their merry way.

Logical Assumption #3: While I was asleep, dream terrorists entered my dream, planted the idea of my hairbrush in my refrigerator, started spinning a top, and made me very confused about whether Leonardo DiCaprio is awake or in limbo at the end of Inception. 

I can neither confirm nor refute this assumption, leaving you to wonder if I’m awake or asleep right now. Or maybe I don’t exist and YOU’RE asleep right now and someone just planted the idea of ME in your mind.

Except I know that Logical Assumption #3 is completely illogical in my case.

How?

Well, it’s actually simple. I know I wasn’t asleep. Because my body hates me and I’m an insomniac.

This isn’t anything new. I’ve been an insomniac since early childhood, when I used to get up in the middle of the night and sneak downstairs to watch tv because I couldn’t sleep (which is also, coincidentally, how I know that elves love elf porn and Richard Gere). Usually it’s just an inconvenience and means that I get less sleep than I’d like to. But sometimes I go a week or more on one or two hours of sleep a night.

Which is what happened this week.

And which is why I wasn’t all that surprised to find my hairbrush in the refrigerator.

Because when you aren’t getting any sleep, your brain basically pulls an alcoholic, snowed-in at a haunted hotel in the Rockies Jack Nicholson.


In fact, finding my hairbrush in the fridge was kind of a relief. At least I didn’t write an entire novel using only the sentence “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” chop down my bathroom door with an axe, try to murder my family, then freeze to death in a snowy hedge maze.

This time.

The last two weeks have pretty much sucked sleep-wise, but as my personal bouts of insomnia go, I’ve actually been fairly productive.

At least I think I have.

I keep getting brilliant ideas for my blog/next book/hair style/makeup line that I’m going to start someday/plan to take over the world within the next couple of years at about 3am. And because I know that when I’m in a bad cycle of insomnia, if I don’t write the ideas down, I’ll lose them forever, I keep a pen and notebook next to my bed to record these flashes of genius.

Unfortunately, the pen and notebook are missing and after checking the logical locations AND the refrigerator, I still can’t find them. So I’m forced to record my amazing bursts of insight using whatever tools I can find in the dark at 3am, which sometimes works fairly well and is sometimes rather disastrous.

Last night, for example, I came up with the title for the book I’m planning to put out this spring. I’d been trying for nearly a year to figure out the right title, and inspiration finally hit. So I grabbed my phone and typed the title and my plan for how to work it into the novel appropriately into a memo to myself.

Which was better than the night before, when I wound up scribbling ideas for future blog posts on my mirror in $24 Stila lipgloss. Fail.

It also worked out better than the time I had a sharpie but no paper and wrote my holiday shopping list on my leg. You get some really weird looks at the mall when you have to look down your pants to see what you need to buy.

I was actually really excited to have figured out what to call my book, and after typing it into my phone, I fell asleep for a couple of blissful hours.

The excitement ended this morning, however, when I tried to read what I’d typed and discovered that I apparently speak some language that’s a cross between English, Japanese, ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, and whale mating calls. And I can only speak it between 3:04am and 3:22am. After that, it’s just plain gibberish.

Hopefully the insomnia spell will break soon and I’ll be able to resume my role as a semi-functional member of society. Until then, if you talk to me and I seem a bit odd, try to go easy on me. And if you run into me on the street and start talking about an underground boxing club that I started, don’t be surprised if I get really mad at you.

Because the number one rule of insomnia is that you do NOT talk about Fight Club.

The number one cause of insomnia? Stephen King (but I love him anyway!)

Somehow I missed the memo that Stephen King’s new book came out yesterday until it was too late to go and get it.

Full Dark, No Stars

I have no idea how this happened, because I’ve gotten every one of his books the day they came out since I was 12.

You might be asking yourself why I’m such a huge Stephen King fan, especially when you take into consideration that I refuse to read anything by many other bestselling authors, like John Grisham or James Patterson.

The answer is simple: Grisham and Patterson are hacks.

Okay, granted, my definition of hacks probably varies from the definition that anyone else would give you, because I also consider Charles Dickens to be a hack. His books were only so long because he got paid by the chapter.  And he needed as much money as he could get.  For booze.  Hack.

All three of those authors are/were hugely successful hacks. But in my book, (no pun intended–but go buy it anyway!) anyone who finds something that sells well, then basically writes the same type of thing for the rest of their careers to keep churning out bestsellers that are fundamentally the same as all their other books is a hack.

Which is also why I refuse to read most chick lit, with the ONLY exceptions occurring when the books have truly original concepts and characters. Because if I read one more book about an early 30-something girl who works for a magazine/newspaper/tv station who gets dumped by her boyfriend/fiancé/husband then goes on a self-discovery kick and eventually finds Mr. Right, who SEEMS to be Mr. Wrong until the last two chapters when we find out that he’s been in love with her all along and they live happily ever after, I’m going to stab someone.

Literally. I will stab someone.

And that brings me back to why I love Stephen King: the stabbings.

I’m kidding. Kind of.  But not about the fact that I will stab someone if I need another chick lit book.  I’m 100 percent serious about that part.

You could argue, however, that Stephen King, like many other writers, sticks to a formula that works. For example, in all of his books, someone or something goes crazy and kills people. But it’s always something super creative and different that goes crazy and kills people. And even though I’ve read all of his books (many of them more than once), Stephen King ALWAYS keeps me guessing (usually incorrectly) about what’s coming next.

Of course, there’s also one major problem with me reading Stephen King books: I have a massively overactive imagination and am completely convinced that once I’ve read something scary in one of his books, it is then lurking in my house waiting to get me.

Statistically, I know this is unlikely. If there IS an evil force in my house, why would it wait until I was suspicious of it to attack me? Wouldn’t it prefer to have the element of surprise? Although, if I were an evil supernatural creature (shut up, no, I’m not!), I’d probably want to wait until someone was afraid of me to attack because the element of fear would be more fun than the element of surprise.

But because I have a ridiculously overactive imagination, it’s not usually the stuff that you’d expect to scare me that scares me the most. For example, I’m not all that scared of ghosts. But every single time I wake up in the middle of the night and have to go to the bathroom, I HAVE to turn on the bathroom light and make sure that the scary dead bathtub lady from The Shining isn’t in there waiting for me. No, not the one from the movie. She didn’t scare me; I found it pretty funny that Jack Nicholson made out with her. But the dead bathtub chick from the BOOK still scares the hell out of me. Because my mind makes her much scarier than any movie ever could.

The Shining

 
The supernatural stuff isn’t his strongest suit though. Don’t get me wrong, he’s REALLY good at that. But deep down, I DO know that most of that stuff can’t be real, so it tends to only scare me late at night, when I’m alone.

Instead, the best part of Stephen King’s writing is his identification of the fear in situations that we can’t control. I know full well that there probably isn’t going to be a giant dome that drops down randomly from the sky one day and cuts Rockville off from the rest of the world like in Under the Dome. But Stephen King creates such a completely believable world in his books that you feel like YOU are in that town with his characters. And it makes you wonder what you would do if you were in the situation that they were in, even though your rational mind KNOWS that is highly unlikely.

Under the Dome: A Novel


 Because what if our cell phones DO start emitting something that destroys rational thought like in Cell. I almost never actually TALK on my phone. I’m going to be one of the people who has to figure out how to save society if that happens. (Well, okay, probably not. The zombie creatures will most likely kill me within the first few minutes of the crisis, so it probably won’t be ME saving the world. But what if by some random chance it is?)

Cell: A Novel


 And in my mind, his scariest books are the ones that have little or no supernatural elements in them. While The Stand DOES have some supernatural parts, the idea that a super virus could kill off most of the world isn’t actually all that far-fetched at all.

The Stand: Expanded Edition: For the First Time Complete and Uncut (Signet)


I think his scariest book is Cujo, because every single thing that happens in that book COULD happen. Even today with cell phones, it’s an exceptionally plausible story. Because let’s face it, there are definitely still areas with no reception. Like my parents’ house, which resides in the black hole of all cell service. (Which I immediately realized was a good thing when I read Cell, because in case of a cell-phone based apocalypse, I could hide out there long enough to figure out how to save the world.)

Cujo (Signet)


So I’ll be going to Barnes and Noble after school today to pick up the newest Stephen King book. Which also means I’m going to be tired tomorrow, not from staying up too late reading, but from staying up too late because I’ll be afraid to go to sleep.

But I’m still going to love every minute of it. Bring it on Mr. King. I’m ready.

Although I’m probably going to feel differently once I’m reading it.  Oh well.  To quote the late Warren Zevon, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”  Although if the afterlife is anything like a Stephen King story, I’ll actually be roaming the earth and killing people when I’m dead.  But I’m not too worried about that.  I’m more worried about the dead chick in my bathtub, the clown in the sewer, and the Walkin’ Dude.

Horror movies don’t scare me… as long as my closet door is shut!

I love horror movies, but my problem is that I always think I’m brave enough to watch them when I’m home alone.

I’m not.

Yet I never seem to learn my lesson about this.

The most recent one to cause problems was Paranormal Activity. The movie itself didn’t scare me. I watched the whole thing and only had to look away once, at the very end.

No problem.

Then I got ready to go to bed that night. And as I was turning off all the lights, my calendar fell off the wall in the kitchen. It had never done that before. Now rationally, I know that because it was the beginning of the month and I had just changed the page, I must have done a poor job securing it to the wall. But at 2am, when the calendar fell, I knew it was the work of a demon that was coming to steal my soul.

So as I cowered in bed that night, I made sure that I had taken the necessary precautions. First of all, Rosie, my puppy, had to sleep on the side of the bed closest to the door. I was pretty sure that if anything, human or otherwise, entered my room, she would let me know. Not because she would bark, but because she would want it to pet her. Rosie can’t see anything, adult, child, mailman, dog, cat, tree, fruit fly, etc. without wanting it to pet her. A demon would be no different.

And worst case scenario, the demon would eat her first.

(No, I’m not proud of that.)

Next, I had to make sure that my covers came up over my ears. It’s one of those things from childhood. I can’t explain it. If my ears are covered, the monsters can’t get me. It’s just the way it is. Don’t ask me why I’m safe if my ears are covered, ask the monsters. It’s THEIR rule after all.

And finally, my closet door had to be firmly shut. Of course, my closet door has to be firmly shut EVERY night before I can go to sleep. Because then the boogeyman/monster/serial killer with an axe/evil monkey/clown doll/demon/whatever else is hiding in there can’t get out. It’s a known fact. Psycho killers and paranormal creatures that hide in closets can’t open the closet doors from the inside. Again, you’d have to ask them why it works this way.

I thought about putting baby powder around my bed, like in the movie, to see if anything left footprints. But as I tried in vain to fall asleep, I realized something: if there WAS in fact a demon in my house, it had never bothered me before. And if it wasn’t bothering me, I just didn’t want to know about it. So I said goodnight to the demon and went to sleep.

(I’m lying. I didn’t say goodnight to it. Because if anything said goodnight back to me, I would never sleep again. But I THOUGHT about saying goodnight to it, and it’s the thought that counts. If there IS a demon, I don’t want him to think that I’m rude!)

Sadly, this wasn’t an isolated occurrence. Every time I watch a horror movie, I’m convinced that whatever scary element featured in the movie is waiting for me in my apartment as soon as I turn off the lights. I know this is statistically unlikely. Why would a ghost just HAPPEN to show up the night that I watched a movie about one? Why would Jason be in my closet the same night that I watched Friday the 13th as opposed to any other night? It makes no sense. If something wanted to kill me, why would it wait until I knew about it?

And I know that the fact that I fell asleep with the tv on one week after watching The Ring was a coincidence. So was the cable going out that night, which caused me to wake up to static on the screen. A horrible, horrible coincidence that led to me crying hysterically and sleeping with a canister of pepper spray for a week in case the chick from the movie tried to crawl through my tv and kill me. Not that pepper spray would do much against her. But it made me feel a little better.

There are also some horror movies that I DO know I’m just not brave enough to watch. I have never actually seen the clown doll scene in Poltergeist. I can’t do it. I’ve tried. But I can’t. I’ve gotten to the point where he covers the doll with his jacket, then the jacket is gone, and I’ve made it as far (once or twice) as when the kid looks at the chair and the doll is gone, but I CANNOT get past that part. I know the kid lives, so clearly the clown doll doesn’t win. But I still can’t handle watching whatever DOES happen. And yes, I know that because it’s an ’80s movie, it’s probably something cheesy with horrible special effects. I still can’t do it.

Another one that always gets me is The Shining. I love that movie, but to this day, I can’t look at the bathtub if I wake up in the middle of the night, because I worry that the chick from the Shining will be in there. And everyone knows, that wasn’t the scariest thing in the Shining.

No, I don’t mean the creepy hallway twins either.

I mean the tacky 1970s interiors of that hotel. No wonder Jack Nicholson goes crazy and kills people. Wouldn’t you, if you were stuck in THAT hotel for a winter? I’m pretty sure I’d pick up an axe after ten minutes.

The biggest problem for me though is that the morning after I watch a horror movie, I laugh at myself for being scared. Then I always think I can handle the next one. And I’m always wrong.

But at least I’m safe as long as my closet door is shut.