I was a serious player-with-dolls when very small. As a result I had nightmares after seeing the above poster for the movie, “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane” and still cannot imagine seeing the movie. In fact, I’ve always avoided horror and ghost stories as I imagine them so vividly and it takes very little to scare the daylights out of me — still.
However, occasionally I read or hear of something that makes me think I could try to get over my skittishness and attempt to read or view it. This happened with Stanley Kubrick’s film, The Shining. I loved the trailer so much that I decided I wanted to see the movie. To prepare myself I read the book and then spent most of the time in the theater lobby anticipating the final scary moments of the book (which — spoiler — never came, amusing the popcorn seller enormously).
On my to-read shelf I’ve a copy of Joe Hill’s Heart-Shaped Box. I’ve picked it up and put it down many times, still too scared to read. (Perhaps someone could let me know if I’m being overly worried about this.) And now there is another book to add to this pile — Sarah Water’s The Little Stranger described by Laura Miller at Salon as, “astonishing” and a must-read. Admiring Laura as I do I may have to overcome my jitters to actually read this one.