Our Fascination With The Grotesque

What Is It?

I don't know what it is about us here in the United States that we have a fascination with the Ugly, the Grotesque, and the Evil, especially as it nears Halloween. Not only do the ugliest masks come out for sale in the stores, but the meanest and the most gory movies come out. Frankly, I think it is a mistake to publish gory movies that cause nightmares, because crazy people get evil ideas when they view them. Why can't we just stick to the funny costumes or the cute ones?

All this reminds me about when I was a little girl living in Ft. Worth, Texas, when I was about eight. I remember one Halloween where a man went to all the trouble of wiring his front doorbell to a speaker system with a tape recorder (and in those days it was the large reel to reel type) so when a person rang the front door, a recording would come on immediately, that said, in a very macabre voice (like Boris Karloff) "Welcome, please let yourself in......you will find some treats on the table you see, as soon as you open the door"....(and it was very dark in there; there was only the light of a candle)...and then, .the voice said, ..."Please close the door on your way out.....creeeeek." Of course, we didn't because we were told not to go into anyone's house. It was a very scary and thrilling thing for a young kid to go thru, debating whether to enter the house of Boris, Dracula or a similar vampire. I'm glad I went with my older brother who was then about 13. Well, the guy finally came out from his hiding place behind the door. That guy gave the most candy. He was generous. If he had the money to rig up his front door to answer the doorbell, then he had money to spare when it came to buying the candy, I presume. I guess he must have been rich. That guy was the talk of the neighborhood that month. Yes, it was so memorable that even now, I can remember it, many years later. My brother had on a green dinosaur costume that had an electrical red light on it somewhere....maybe it was the nose. Who knows? The batteries and wires would fit into a little pocket inside the suit. He really wasn't scaring anybody! Today, they wouldn't dream of selling a suit with electrical parts like that, because of safety concerns and lawsuits. Plus, it would be too expensive a suit to buy. But why do we want to scare people with what we have on, with a disguise? (Some of us don't need a disguise to scare people off) Isn't life ugly enough, for us to be trying to scare people and relishing the idea of being scared by someone else? The truth of the matter is that this kind of fun does not happen in other countries, not because they do not want to have fun.....simply because they do not celebrate Halloween. Halloween is intrinsically a North American holiday. What does happen on the day of Halloween is that a lot of ugly witchcraft happens all over the world. People in other countries don't go door to door asking for candy. What they do perform is undercover rituals. Places in the Americas where they practice this black/dark magic are Brazil, Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Mexico and others. They think that the day of Halloween has special, mystical significance for making magic on that day. But don't let me scare you.....

Have a happy Halloween!

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Comments 3 comments

William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

Why are we fascinated by the grotesque? Good question. The answer, I think, is that kids, especially, enjoy being scared because these images create highly emotional responses -- without suffering harm! As a youngster, my friends and I were fascinated by Frankenstein, the Wolf Man and Dracula (in the movies, and sometimes on Halloween.) As we age, we don't need the false fears anymore, we experience enough real-life scary situations than we can handle (you can read about them in the papers or see them on TV newscasts on a daily basis.)


maricarbo profile image

maricarbo 8 years ago Author

You are right, I was fascinated by Dracula, but I couldn't bring myself to view the screen on TV when the wolf man was transforming. I think in part it was the music that went along with it. They picked it well.


einron profile image

einron 8 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

I am a Christian and I do not believe in Halloween. It is unfortunate that Christians would observe this event. How odd that people would go out to ask for "Tricks or Treats" from evil monsters. It is not biblical to ask the devil for anything! Stay away from such evil.

However, I would like to see more of your hubs. I also invite you to see my hubs "Lifting Up Hands in Worship and Prayer" and "Healing of a Mormon Elder". Be my fan!

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