Cabrini Green

You know, Candyman’s stomping ground? My elementary school was the Fred Krueger equivalent. Without the bee swarms and groin-to-gullet dismemberment.

A slumber-party viewing of Nightmare on Elm Street proved way too premature, in the form of sleep deprivation for both kids and parents. Freddy was my Night King; that famous laugh ruled from every shadow in my bedroom. I don’t think I spent a night alone for two years. And when I finally got the balls to try and ride one out, surfing late night TV like a geeked-out rehabber, what knives its way through the screen but the NOES series. It didn’t matter that it was terrible. For me it was unadulterated horror.

Our parents hired a makeup artist to show us what was up. He came to school and alchemized 9yrold Tamar into a Savini-inspired demon. A well-intended charity that backfired by casting a Freddy army of elementary monsters in our nightmares. It was a miserable time for all of us. Do you remember what kid fear is like? Not a night-light in this universe can remedy it.

Some chemical imbalance of mine birthed a determination to overcome it. Against parental ordinance I watched and watched and watched it. Always during the day. The time then came to draw the blinds for a practice run-through. I did indeed make it to the end. I was so proud of myself for not escaping into the sun.

What that did was construct a psyche catacomb from where I extract courage and serenity on my most anxious days. Horror–the most antithetical source for peace of mind–does it for me. Gore, gloom, moody scores and death tolls right my upside-downs. I brought Exorcist III to Labor and Delivery, I had Rosemary’s Baby on loop during a marital crash-and-burn.

What’s your favorite scary movie? Who’s your boogeyman?