First of all, please introduce yourself.
Hi. My name is Michaela and I love all things horror and Halloween.
Can you remember the first time you were truly frightened?
I had a fear of dolls that was onset because of the movie, The Puppet Master. The first few times I watched the movie I was fine but one day the fear kicked in. I had dolls in my room that I hid in my closet for a while and then my mother put them in hers. We had the movie on VHS (I’m oldschool) and my brother thought it would be funny to put it in and I started screaming at him not to. He did anyways and I ran into my room, he started to blast the introduction music and I went into my closet to drown out the sound and cry. The music to the movie was enough to scare me and make me think my dolls were alive. Mind you, I had nightmares of my dolls coming after me with red scissors. I still find dolls creepy but I’m not afraid of them anymore.
Fear is a feeling of discomfort and lack of protection from something real or imaginary. It can be something in the shape of evil or it could be death. Fear has no limits. Fear can cause your heart to race, cause you to hide under your blankets for safety, or cover your ears to silence out a scary sound. Not knowing what can and will happen to the individual next or assuming what their fate may be can arise the feeling of fear. Things that realistically could happen like a fatal car accident can cause feelings of fear, it can hinder an individual from learning how to drive in fear that they too could crash and die. Fear causes fight or flight in an individual so when something scares them they choose one or the other. In movies and books you see a little of both from characters. I find true fear to ignite in me when those who stay away from the bad still get attacked anyways. It’s a bit more realistic in my opinion.
What were you afraid of most as a child?
Losing my mother. I had nightmares about her being abducted. One specifically I was in her room and some men came in to take her away. I hid under her bed crying as the bad men took her away. She looked so afraid and it ruined me. I woke up crying, I was maybe three years old at the time.
My mom was the only person I had as a child.
What are your biggest fears now, as an adult?
My child getting hurt or dying seems to be my biggest worry nowadays.
What is the scariest experience you’ve had so far?
The scariest experience I had was near death. My parents live on a road that drives down hill towards a busy main street. One winter I was heading to work and I hit a patch of ice, the road is usually very icy because Northern Maine is pretty bad about taking care of their roads. My breaks didn’t work so I just slid down the road trying to pump them and my car finally stopped at the very bottom edge. The nose of my car was out in the road and a trailer truck was driving by at the same time, it’s tires ripped off my bumper. I was moments from sliding under that truck instead of hitting its tires. I haven’t experienced anything more scary than that.
Is fear a good thing or a bad thing?
I suppose for myself it’s a good thing? It’s a reaction to unsafe situations for myself. I watch something scary and feel jittery because I know I wouldn’t personally do something stupid like most actors do in movies. Hey lets go check out the scary sound in the other room. Nah, I’d rather just not and leave. Fear protects me from danger so long as I can get away.
Why do you think people “escape” with a genre that stimulates fear and anxiety?
While I would do something different from most characters in books/movies, I read it for the thrill. Death is an unknown thing to us all because we don’t experience it until it happens, sometimes these genres show what happens, although in a brutal demise.
What was your most creative or favorite Halloween costume?
I’ve never been that creative on Halloween. I’ve always been into witches so I always settled with being one.
Who is the best horror villain?
Freddy Krueger. Realistically the man has no ending. Wes Craven created the ultimate villain in horror that way. Anytime his name is brought up or seen some how he appears in your dreams and becomes stronger with each appearance until he is strong enough to come into your world and kill you. He may die with those who meet their mortal end because of him but every movie has someone left alive who knows who he is. He can never really die.
Can you remember the first horror film or television series you saw? How about the first horror story or novel?
The first horror film I remember watching was The Leprechaun. I was about four years old, my mom would lay on the couch late at night with me and when I went to sleep she’d watch scary movies. Sometimes I’d wake up and not make a sound and watch the scary movie.
I remember clearly the leprechaun hiding under a vehicle and cutting the girls ankle. I wasn’t scared but very interested in the what and why. My first touch of horror novels were written by RL Stine. I was actually introduced to it by a teacher in fourth grade. The book was called The Girl Who Cried Monster. I didn’t know we were allowed to have been read such books like that in school but after my teacher read to us about Mr. Mortmon and his bugs I began collecting as many RL Stine books as I could, eventually I moved on to the Fear Street series for a bit more of a scare and then moved onto Stephen King.
Which sub-genres of horror speak most to you?
(science fiction, speculative fiction, dark sci-fi, realistic horror, paranormal/supernatural horror, urban fantasy, etc)
I enjoy paranormal/supernatural horror stories but some movies are a bit too cheesy for me. Realistic horror seems to bring me close to vomiting and brings the most fear out of me.
What makes a book or film scary?
A child getting hurt/ being put in danger is one of the many things that scare me since I am a mother. I have a nurturing side that can’t mentally handle that kind of view/thought. I envision my own child being scared and alone in that situation and it breaks me.
But not all scary things include children. In movies I get scared when I hear a loud banging sound or someone appears in front of your face out of no where. I jump like that when it happens to me, not that I’m being chased by anyone trying to kill me but the other day I was working the drive-thru and when the window opened a honey bee was in front of my eyes flying and I jumped from that. I guess you would call that surprise and maybe that I’m just a wuss.
What is the worst horror novel or film you’ve ever read/watched? What made it so terrible?
The Grudge. I went to see it with my friend Logan and we were stuck behind these girls who were screaming the entire movie. Every time the little boy in the movie meowed we laughed uncontrollably. The concept of the movie just was not scary in the slightest. I suppose it’s more of a call towards Japanese horror but I would honestly expect a lot more from that culture than a meowing boy and a girl crawling creepily on the ceiling after me.
Which way would you prefer the end to come:
alien invasion, zombie apocalypse, natural disaster, global war, nuclear fallout, disease, giant solar flare, nanotechnology or robots, or mass insanity
Natural disaster. It seems more realistic to me and I’d rather die that way than have an alien abduct me or have to fight off flesh eating zombies for survival.
Michaela Martell's story "The Dreamer" is featured in When Glints Collide: A Collection of Science Fiction, Horror, and Oddities. Share this post for a chance to win a copy of the anthology plus our other two publications in our Halloween giveaway!