Embrace The Darkness


In recent columns I’ve become a bit fixated on how the world in 2017 is a very, very scary place.

Perhaps that’s why October is my favorite month of the year, since the arrival of Halloween gives me an opportunity to push aside thoughts of global conflicts, potential skin cancer, and how in the hell I’m going to pay rent, to instead focus on things that are truly—and timelessly—terrifying.

After all, what could be more bloodcurdling than All Hallow’s Eve, when ghosts, goblins, and ghouls run amok?

Where one can put aside the numbing impotence of modern living to instead embrace the unfettered depravity of the dark side? Global leaders putting our lives at risk in an international dick-measuring contest might seem terrifying in the light of day, but when night falls it’s all about vampires, Frankensteins, and creatures crawling in search of blood to terrorize y’all’s neighbourhood.

Concerned that Peterborough Utilities are going to shut off your power, leaving you and your kids to freeze to death? Instead, let your blood run cold as you stare into the face of a butchered orange gourd with unnerving triangular eyes, misshapen teeth, and a candle (or, alternatively, a ghastly tea-light) perilously perched inside its mouth! Still thinking about that steadily rising electricity bill? Well, what about this shoddily cut-out cardboard witch? Can’t you just hear her spine-tingling cackle? Anxious about the look in your children’s eyes when you tell them Santa won’t be visiting this year? Well, uh, how about these tissue paper ghosts with crudely markered eyes! Eerie.

Turn off the TV, throw your phone in the garbage, and burn every magazine you see (except this one); it’s time to embrace the supernatural. Sure, unchecked, ever-escalating gun violence on a near-daily basis is pretty spooky, but have you ever heard a dish fall off your counter at 4AM? Sure, it could be your cat, but I choose to believe it’s a spooky ghost! I’m as worried about bees dying off at an alarming rate as anyone, but doesn’t that seem inconsequential compared to that odd dripping noise I sometimes hear in my attic? Is it a burst pipe, or ectoplasm? I’m too scared to check!

It’s scarily simple to push aside real-world concerns to instead slip into the fanciful fantasy frights of Halloween, where bloodthirsty behemoths hide patiently under your bed, and there’s no WebMD to remind you that your physical and mental health is in an unstoppable freefall.

With the real world gone mad, it’s time to let the monsters take the wheel for a while, so turn out the lights, turn on a creepy old movie, and wrap yourself in your favorite blanket. Distract yourself from your regular cycle of anxieties for an hour or two, and try not to think about climate change, school shootings, or the growing popularity of fascism.

I said don’t think about it. Now, have a happy Halloween.

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Doug Tilley

Doug Tilley


Doug Tilley is a lifelong geek, and an occasional pop-culture writer and podcaster. You can find his work on DailyGrindhouse.com, where he regularly writes about microbudget movies and film-makers in his No-Budget Nightmares column. In 2011 he began the popular No-Budget Nightmares podcast with Moe Porne, with a second ludicrous podcast - Eric Roberts is the Fucking Man - following in 2015. According to friends, he's a pretty cool guy.