Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The power of a scene

Mary Sullivan

Last night before going to bed, I looked up an author's website. Earlier in the evening, a friend had mentioned this woman's name and I thought I would check out her work. I found an excerpt on her site and the writing is really wonderful. I will definitely pick up her books.

HOWEVER...the scene she excerpted was a prologue that started well—and benignly. The characters were likeable and intriguing. By the end of the scene, they were dead, killed by a pair of young people who had not a speck of conscience. The murder was gruesome, but not described so, thank goodness. The author ran through the description fairly quickly, so there was a minimum of blood and gore. There was, though, plenty of understanding of the victims' horror just before death.

During the evening, the storm that had been predicted hit my town. It started as rain and I wondered when it would change to snow.

I went to bed and snuggled under my warm blankets. Very soon afterward, I started to hear noises that kept me awake. Someone was banging on the side of my apartment building and also on the ground below my window. I kept watching my window to see whether shadows appeared against my curtains. I honestly thought that, at any moment, someone was going to break in.

Finally, impatient with my own cowardice, I went to the window and looked outside. I'm on the second floor. I looked down. There was no one there.

The rain had changed to snow, though, and the accumulation of the wet, sloppy stuff was fast and furious.

Very quickly, the bedroom side of my apartment building was covered. The noises I'd been hearing were of sheets of gloopy, wet snow sliding from the side of the building and landing on the ground. Honest to goodness, it was so wet and heavy, it sounded like someone was pelting the building with boulders. It kept me awake all night.

I'm not usually such a scaredy-cat and wondered why the noises had freaked me out so much, then realized it was because of reading that very effective and well-written murder scene before going to bed.

I had to laugh at myself and my fanciful imagination. No one who was trying to break in would ever make that much noise.

I remember years ago seeing Wait Until Dark with Audrey Hepburn. Does anyone who saw it remember that scene in which the murderer jumps out of the darkness at her, totally scaring the daylights out of the viewers? The entire theater audience screamed. Oh my lord, I had nightmares for quite a few days after that!

Are there any scenes from books or movies that left you shaken and scared and almost believing that they could be true? That they could happen to you?

11 comments:

Rogenna Brewer said...

I love books that take me "there" :) There being right in the middle of the action. Which is probably why I don't go for the scary stuff :)

kris said...

Oh heck, I couldn't sleep at all the night I watched Lady Sybil die on Downtown Abbey. Every time I closed my eyes I saw those seizures again ... very silly because it wasn't even a threatening scene, but it was so very well done that it felt terrifying.

linda s said...

I never read scary before bedtime, naw, I don't usually read scary at all. I shared a house with another girl and half way through wait until dark we realized the back door was open and we could hear noises in the basement. My friend started crying, so I had to go down, shaking on every step, to lock the door and make sure there was no one there. Too funny.

mary sullivan said...

Rogenna, I don't usually do 'scary' either. Now I remember why :-)

mary sullivan said...

Kris, the acting on Downton Abbey is superb. No wonder you were affected!

mary sullivan said...

Ooooh, Linda, I'm so glad there was no one there! Terrible movie to be watching when you heard noises in the basement!

Snookie said...

I don't like horror stories, but I do read suspense and sometimes it can get gruesome and scary. The suspense I read has to be romance because I know somewhere there is going to be a happy ending even if the heroine or hero are scared out of their wits getting there!

Mary Preston said...

Years ago at the cinema I watched a movie called WHEN A STRANGER CALLS. The only movie that made me sleep with the lights on - for a week. It still gives me the creeps.

mary sullivan said...

Snookie, I know what you mean about the suspense having to have a happy ending! It makes being scared worthwhile!

mary sullivan said...

Mary, I can so relate to sleeping with the lights on after watching a scary movie!

Kaelee said...

Wait Until Dark was such a well done movie. My fiance and I saw it when it first came out. Even though someone had told us the ending, I still ended up in his lap.

The scene that I and a lot of other girls relived was the shower scene in Psycho. We were working at summer jobs in a restaurant in a tourist area. We lived in a eight bed dorm and the shower was in a hallway which opened onto another hallway and the back door of the restaurant. None of us would shower without a guard in the hallway.

I don't read scary very often and never if I'm going to be alone or I know I need to sleep.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...