I don’t have much today. Long story short, I had an excellent day and evening planned today, but it fell through. I also didn’t feel good yesterday and was exhausted at the end of the day. The result, I felt existentially lousy (some might call it depressed). Instead of doing anything productive, I drank beer and watched Halloween on AMC, then stayed up later than normal. I’m now scrambling to post something, anything.
Fortunately, I remembered this article I wrote for Busted Halo a few years ago. It’s the spooky time of season, so it’s apt. Enjoy:
America’s Seven Billion Dollar Guilt Trip
by Eric Scheske
If you haven’t heard, Halloween is number two. At almost $7 billion a year in sales, Americans are spending more on Halloween than on any other holiday except Christmas.
Want a 2-foot-tall zombie that pulls off its head? You can get it for $100. A gory severed head? $50. Demented scarecrow, goblin, grim reaper mask? You’re looking at about $60.
Sure, it’s fun. But why has Halloween and its ghoulish fare gotten so popular?
The horror genre and Puritan morality
Maybe it has something to do with the rise of horror in our culture, especially as embodied in all those fright movies: Scream, Friday the 13th, Halloween, and Nightmare Elm Street, to name only the movies with multiple sequels.
And maybe the rise of horror has something to do with the rise of . . . sex.
When sexual freedom rose, horror rose with it. Deep Throat came out in 1973 and Texas Chainsaw Massacre in 1975. Both were low-budget long shots that brought its producers millions of dollars. Maybe it was coincidence.
Maybe it was also coincidence that Blood Feast, a movie that signaled the official birth of the gore … Read the rest