I wanted to add a few new things for my Halloween party this year, but find myself out of time and money. While watching I Walked With A Zombie (Jacques Tourneur, 1943) I was struck with a solution. It’s really a wonderfully spooky film from back when zombies were living humans whose will was controlled by Voodoo rather than being reanimated corpses a la Romero. I saw an interview once where George Romero expressed dismay in having effected that change, saying it was never his intention for that to happen as he loved zombie films. He never called his living dead zombies, the fans dubbed them so. I agree it’s a shame.
Anyway, the sequence in the film where the afflicted woman is lead by her nurse to a Voodoo ceremony is fascinating. It contains the iconic scene with the animal hanging from a tree. But, just as effective are several other settings they pass, including a gourd hanging from a tree, simple wood structures surround by cane stalks and a skull encircled by rocks. How easy to duplicate!
Not surprisingly, my next thought was of the stick people hanging in the trees in The Blair Witch Project. Not a favorite movie of mine, but still those have become such iconic horror symbols and the movie plays an important role in film history; So, I’m fine with paying it homage in my displays. It also contained the bundle of sticks with the missing friends teeth wrapped inside.
What could be easier (and cheaper) to create! I don’t think it matters if people recognize the nods in my displays, as they are in the films because the creators felt they would be creepy. Turns out, this theory works. My 17 year old, who has not seen I Walked With A Zombie, came home yesterday saying she loved the new “skull rock thing” in the flower bed. So, there you go.
Now if I really get industrious, I’ll build a wicker man!
Derivative works also have endless possibilities. While searching for images for this post I ran across these Blair Witch inspired scarecrows on The Haunting Grounds.
Just goes to show how keeping it simple can sometimes be very effective.