i wish everything in life was constantly nightmarish

since i was a kid, i’ve been fascinated by things that disturb me. one of the earliest memories i have of this is catching a few snippets from the movie, dune. there is a scene where a guy has to put his hand in a mysterious box and it seems like something weird and awful is in the box and it’s going to hurt him, and another scene where a person is wearing a weird suit that looks like a cage of plexiglass and a bullet pierces the suit very slowly until it gets in, at which point it resumes normal speed and kills the person. both of those really stuck with me — i mean, here i am 30-odd years later, still yammering on about them.

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the box that basically started it all

those examples (along with a bunch of other stuff that scared the hell out of me) basically set the tone for the rest of my life. as i’ve grown older and developed the means to search out freaky stuff on my own, i’ve found more of it, and in varying forms — music, film, visual art, words, abstract feelings. and at a certain point, i realized that the things i find most intriguing aren’t strictly gory or violent or typical slasher movie fodder. the things that really mesmerize me are things that are nightmarish. that is the key quality i seek.

what qualities make something nightmarish, you ask?

  • sinister overtones in otherwise normal situations
  • twisted, deformed versions of familiar things
  • things that a) don’t make sense and b) inspire fear

i think it was the movie jacob’s ladder that finally illuminated this nightmare fascination thing to me. i saw it several years ago, loved it, and thought about it a lot afterwards. i thought about how it was scary as all hell but wasn’t really a horror movie. there wasn’t a demented killer or a demon or any of the usual horror trappings. it was more that the main character was experiencing weird, scary stuff and it was hard to tell what was real and what wasn’t. while ruminating on this, i had an epiphany where i realized that the film legitimately felt like a nightmare to me — PINGGGG — and then i thought about a lot of my other favourite things in this world, and started seeing the nightmarish qualities in those things too: lost highway, possession (1982), the shining, eyes wide shut, 2001: a space odyssey, antichrist, under the skin. virtually anything by cronenberg. akercocke, voices, faust (1994), too dark park, the process, the exorcist, and bosch, for example.

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perfect example. can’t say why this is disturbing but it is. and i love it.

i’m not sure why i’m drawn to nightmarish stuff. my best guess is that i was a wimp as a kid and things like dune just set off some electrical pathway in my brain that has liked to be stimulated ever since. i think that’s a bland, cop-out explanation and i hope there’s a better reason but i can’t think of one. all i know is that i like the blurred line between what’s real and what isn’t, i like not understanding what’s going on, and i like the fear.

i like it so much, i want it to be present in my life whenever possible — like a shadow that i can sense is near, or catch a fleeting glimpse of. i learned this when jenn and i went on a summer road trip that was lovely fun but tinged with a weird darkness due to the fact i was reading faust by robert nye on the same trip. i only realized long afterward why even the warmest memories of that vacation had a vague portentous tone to them, and why other vacations where i had neglected to bring some good, dark art with me felt more one-dimensional, less compelling. since then, i’ve made a point to bring some kind of satanic literature with me to help spice things up, to help cast a dark cloud over the summer fun, and it’s worked wonderfully.

i can only hope that when i die, i’m plunged into an eternity of hellish experiences, like a scene from hellraiser. only then will i surely have my fill of nightmares.

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unlikely companions

i just had two horrible nightmares.

in the first one, i dreamed that a friend had bought an old house that looked really cool but gave me the worst feeling when i approached it. it’s the same as most of my nightmares, where nothing bad actually happens and instead, i just sense a powerful, negative, evil force. in this case, the house and property were basically haunted by some malevolent force. i went inside the house so my friend could show me around and i was absolutely terrified, like i was putting my spirit in great peril. i can’t remember how but i managed to make an excuse and get out of the house ASAP and felt better once well away from the property but woke up feeling the same terror i did in the dream house. also, i could hear jenn’s cell phone charger making that weird, super high-pitched whine that is barely audible but incredibly annoying, and i wasn’t sure if it was real or i was losing my mind. i unplugged the charger and it stopped so i hadn’t lost my mind. yet.

i eventually went back to sleep and this time i dreamed of an entire landscape that wasn’t quite possessed by evil but had been ravaged by it. everything was grey, sickly, deformed. the horizon was a mix of dead, flat grey and apocalyptic reds, both dead and dying, and the light from it gave everything an awful haze. it was like during the forest fires last summer when smoke choked out the sunlight and gave the world an orange hue. all the houses and fences were dilapidated, falling apart. it looked like all life was slowly eroding. i dreamed i was at my dad’s property and for some unexplained reason, he had been looking after my chickens. i checked on them and they looked like survivors or children of some nuclear fallout. some of them now had extra legs or heads. their plumage was now dull, what was left anyway. they were emaciated. their eyes were cloudy. i was disgusted by them. but their eggs were even worse. my dad had stopped collecting them (probably because they were obviously no good to eat), and the hutch that they laid in was overflowing with pale, translucent, soft-shelled eggs. through said “shells” i could see some had 3, 4, 5 yokes in them. some had dead chicks with multiple heads. i wanted to both barf and die from this cornucopia of sickness, this abundance of rot my hens had birthed in the hutch.

i went inside the house to ask my dad when the hens had become so sick and fucked up but he acted like nothing was up. him and my step mom had just hired a therapist to help them with their hoarding problem, and inside their house actually looked quite nice and organized for the first time ever. i was like, “better late than never i guess, but it looks like we will all be dead very soon anyway.” i don’t remember him or my step mom reacting at all, and that was it. i woke up feeling disturbed, more concerned about the future than usual. sickened. and now those feelings are still lingering like dream-feelings sometimes do.

our brains sure are weird. i wonder what brought all that on. i think the first one comes from a conversation i just had with spencer about him and julia considering moving to vic, and i think the second dream was inspired by the gross, shell-less slime eggs that plucky (one of my dear hens) has been laying for a few months now. i’m hoping it’s just a phase and she starts laying normal eggs again soon but it may never happen. it’s not a big deal because i like her too much to get rid of her but i sure wish she was healthy and able to contribute like the others.

life. dreams. weird.