You all had lots to say about horror movie villains in yesterday’s poll but I was pleased to note that I was at least in the right ballpark with the actual guys listed. That’s a good thing, because I pulled those names from memory – not actual viewing. You couldn’t pay me to watch one of those terrifying films that deal with the maiming and dismemberment of attractive young people by forgotten/wronged/deranged drifters & neighbors – be they in a waking state or during dreams. However, I have seen – firsthand — any number of actual items from those movies. See, many years ago, I was hired during Halloween to work in a theme park in New York City; only in this case it was actually called a Scream Park. And because it was New York City it wasn’t just any Scream Park it was Madison Scare Garden (not a bad place to hold your event when you need tens of thousands of square feet). Over the course of several weeks nearly a hundred-thousand people came through the front doors of the Scream Park; each guest beyond eager to get scared silly. The thing is, we went from about two o’clock in the afternoon til after one o’clock in the morning – and sometimes the crowds mirrored these hours. By the time the young people barged in for their tour in the wee small hours, you can imagine they’d gotten pretty rowdy. Madison Scare Garden was massive and there were genuinely terrifying attractions: the Rikers Island Prison Maze, The House of Seven Deadly Sins, a super cool occult-style theater (featuring a young but already charismatic Criss Angel), and others. There were about 75 actors working and we all spent anywhere from one to three hours in makeup every day to become the ghouls, goblins and monsters who would pop out of nowhere and scare people. It was really fun, and I’ve never seen a scarier Halloween show. My particular job, however, was most unusual: I was the Witch of Madison Scare Garden, specifically in charge of a very special part of the Scream Park called Scarewood Forest. Because every day we had thousands of people arriving who then had to wait in a ticket maze for sometimes an hour to get in, and by the time they were ready to be admitted, many of the youngest children were exhausted and truly terrified by the creepy actor/monsters milling around. However, the park was expensive and parents didn’t want to disappoint their older children who’d been waiting a long time to go inside. So, it was my job to take the small, scared children into Scarewood Forest, which was essentially a safe nursery area where they could relax and look at books and color and play with toys we provided while their families proceeded on through the park. I was essentially a babysitter – which was fine by me. One feature of my area however, was a mini-exhibit behind glass, featuring several of the original costume pieces from those horror movie villains. I was charged with showing the kids Freddy Krueger’s knife-finger things, Jason’s original hockey mask, Leatherface’s leather face, Freddy’s torn striped sweater, some of Hellraiser’s pins, and various other pieces of original memorabilia (I guess they had more than one of each piece if they’re still making the movies). The exhibit was not very large, but the little kids would clutch my hand and stare for what seemed like hours at each creepy item. Now I wasn’t a particularly good – or convincing – witch, but there are certainly any number of witches from movies who are good and scary and funny and unforgettable. So let’s look at them now. Voice your choice in today’s featured poll and tell us which of these witch-y movies is your favorite:
1) The Wizard of Oz
2) The Craft
3) Practical Magic
4) The Witches of Eastwick
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