Halloween is the season of horror. Goblins, ghoulies and ghosties skulk around the edges of consciousness. Television movie channels pull from their graves the remains of plots that refuse to die ~ Psycho, Vertigo, Rebecca – while Hitchcock’s Birds wheel through the air. The little ones may delight in dressing up as princesses, pirates or warlords, but blood drips and body parts pile up for the vampires, zombies and other assorted creatures of the night who seek to displace chainsaw-wielding psychopaths as the epitome of evil terror.
Everyone understands “there’s gold in them-thar dismemberments”, and across the country everything from neighborhood haunted houses to Universal Studios’ famous Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando is trying to take a bite out of the consumer. We love to be entertained, and we love to be scared when we know it doesn’t count. With its witches’ brew of Dia De Los Muertos skeletons, decorated graves, black cats, and whacked-out pumpkins, Halloween is our perfect holiday. All those sugar highs are lagniappe.
One of the most unlikely purveyors of horror might be the American poet, Carl Sandburg. He’s not much in favor these days. He’s too common, too plain-spoken. He wasn’t considered “literary” in his day and today he’d be left out of most symposia and cocktail parties. But he had vision, and he understood people. Like Whitman before him, he acknowledged his debt to the workers and builders, the families and businesses which knit this country together. (more…)