Monday, February 29, 2016

Pinocchio was a murderer, the dark origins of a few famous tales

Most Disney stories have wonderful happily ever after endings which is all well and good, but the tales are far from the truth. Tales like Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty and even Snow White have origins that were far more sinister and dark and intended to be read by adults. Here at Staying Scared, where loitering in the shadows listening to the clock toll midnight is the norm, the disturbing and ominous side is much more appealing and thus, the horrific truth of these tales, while unsettling, are far more attractive.

And so fellow ghouls, let’s take a look at the truth, explore the honest origins that were usually filled with debauchery and depravity. But, take heed fiends and consider this your only warning, if your perception of these characters are innocent and delightful and you want to sustain that insight, stop right here, for to continue will surely shatter this.


The tale, which most folks are aware, surrounds a happy go lucky boy child made of wood whose nose grows when he lies and his sidekick is a cricket with a beautiful singing voice. Well, truth be told, derived from an 1881 & 82 newspaper serial written by Carlo Collodi, the only similarity is that the boy was named Pinocchio. Entitled The Adventures of Pinocchio, the boy was, for a lack of a better word, simply an a-hole and that cricket was not named Jiminy. Lacking compassion, at least until the very end, he was a child who frowned upon being corrected and after the cricket offered advice he didn’t didn’t agree with, Pinocchio threw a hammer hitting the cricket in the head, killing him. Although somewhat regretful, he still blamed the cricket for its own demise, telling Gepetto, his father, “it was his own fault, for I didn’t want to kill him.”

Not only did he appear uncompassionate, but he seemed rather stupid too.

While sitting on a stool, wooden legs placed up on a stove to dry, he napped, completely unaware that his legs were slowly blackening and eventually became ashes. Nonetheless, like any loving father would probably do, he whittled new ones. One would think that the boy would be grateful, but he wasn’t and continued on with wicked ways. You see, prior to all this, after Gepetto brought the boy to life, understandably, it took a bit for him to learn to walk. But, becoming confident in ability, Pinocchio proceeded to run off and a distraught Gepetto searched only to find that the boy lied, giving the townsfolk the impression that his father had been abusing him. This landed Gepetto in jail. Now this alone, and for good reason, might just turn a father away. But, on the contrary, Gepetto's love prevailed and he sacrificed, giving up his only coat to buy a book so the boy could attend school. Pinocchio sold the book for theater tickets.

The dead cricket returns as a ghost, again with noble advice, this time recommending that Pinocchio avoid the unsavory who claim planting gold coins will in fact grow a tree of gold. Again Pinocchio fails to listen, finding those same insalubrious ones hanging him by the neck in a tree.

Originally, with Pinocchio dead, Collodi intended to finish the tale there. However, he didn’t and wrote on, which brings the blue fairy that saved the boy’s life into the tale.

Eventually maturing, the boy settled and began taking care of his elderly father, but not before the cricket appears again, reminding Pinocchio of the hammer. Under the impression the cricket was taking the opportunity to exact revenge, the boy pleaded to throw the hammer at him instead and to not harm his father. Well, the cricket didn’t throw a hammer at all, instead reiterating that folks need to be nice, courteous and kind to one another, and Pinocchio never forget.

Sleeping Beauty

This tale has different versions and it is the more gruesome Giambattista Basile adaptation we’ll concentrate on.

Named Talia, it is the kingdom astrologers that predict she will be stricken by a splinter of flax and when this occurs, she is abandoned on a velvet throne by her father in a sealed house.

One day a king happens by and after getting no answer to his knocking, climbs up and through a window to find her, still unconscious. He tries to wake her to no avail and carries her to the bed, where he proceeds to rape her, eventually leaving her lie and taking leave.

Still unconscious (and don’t ask me how) Talia gives birth to twins named Sun and Moon. One of the twins suckled Talia’s finger, essentially removing the dreaded flax, which allows Talia to awaken. Of course, she has no idea what had occurred, but takes to motherhood.

The king, wanting to visit Talia again, finds both her and his children alive and well, and explains what had happened. One would think that she would be disgusted, but she wasn’t and in fact, they bond and he promises to come back for her.

Overhearing him speaking of Talia, Sun and Moon in his sleep, the king’s wife, the queen, becomes furious and threatens the royal secretary until the truth is disclosed. Implying she is the king, she sends word to Talia indicating that the children would like to be seen and Talia sends them off. But, the queen has a more gruesome plan and intends to feed them to her king. The cook is ordered to serve them, but hides them and serves two lambs instead, which the unknowing queen accepts. Afterward, Talia is summoned, the queen intent on burning her alive, but the king finds out and burns the queen instead and they lived happily ever after.

Snow White

Originally titled Sneewittdhen, it was The Brothers Grimm tale number 53 and was completed in 1854.

After pricking her finger and seeing the three blood droplets on the snow covering a windowsill, the Good Queen wishes for a daughter who has skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood and hair ebony black. Well, her wish comes true, but the queen dies during childbirth.

The king, Snow White’s father, eventually takes another wife. However, this wife is wicked to the core, always consulting a magic mirror with “who is the fairest of them all.” The mirror, who never lies, always tells the wicked queen that she is…until Snow White grows into a far more beautiful maiden. It is then that the mirror turns and begins stating That Snow White holds the honor.

Of course, the queen despises this and orders a huntsman to kill Snow White, demanding he return with her liver and lungs as proof the deed is accomplished. Under raised blade, Snow White pleads for her life, promising that if he spares her, the kingdom will never see her again. He indeed pardons her, returning with the innards of a boar instead, which the queen delightfully has for dinner.

Snow White wanders for days and eventually stumbles on a small house with no one home. After taking liberty to food and drink, she falls asleep in one of the seven beds and is eventually awakened by the seven dwarfs who noticed things out of order. Well, after negotiations, in which she will be basically a homemaker for them, she is allowed to stay, but is warned to let no one in while they are away.

Again at the mirror the queen asks who is fairest and the mirror replies that Snow White, beyond the mountains at the home of the seven dwarfs is. Under disguise, the queen travels to the cottage and offers Snow White the most beautiful of the laced bodices she is peddling. Snow White accepts and allows the cloaked queen to tie the laces, which she does so tight that Snow White collapses. Thinking her dead, the queen takes leave, but the seven men come home to find Snow White in the nick of time.

The following morning at the mirror, nothing has changed and the queen is enraged and this is where the apple comes into play. After consulting kingdom magicians, she poisons an apple and disguises herself as a simply farmer’s wife. Hesitant at first, only after the queen cuts the apple in half and takes a bite of the good side does Snow White follow suite and becomes stricken. Unable to help this time, the dwarfs put Snow White in a glass coffin.

A prince finds her and wants to take her away. Of course the dwarfs are doubtful, but agree and while the prince’s servants are carrying the coffin away, they trip on some roots which dislodges the poisoned apple from her throat and Snow White awakens.

A wedding day is set and the queen, yet again after consulting the mirror, finds Snow White is fairer. Although angry, she accepts their invitation, only to find that for retribution for attempting to take Snow White’s life, she will be forced to wear red hot glowing iron shoes and dance to her death.

And so fellow ghoulish ones, you see, wracked with murder, cannibalism and ill intent, not all is pristine in never never land and these tales are more closely suited to Tales From the Crypt rather than Disney. Maybe next time we’ll discuss a few more, for there are plenty to choose from.


Stay Scared.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Zombie Guide to Employment

Whistle while you work, just don’t lose your lips - The Zombie Guide to Employment

By Thomas Scopel

Does constant flesh foraging have you down? Feeling unproductive, alone?

Are you an outcast, shunned at every turn?

Does the urge to remain a society member haunt?

Feeling like there should be something more out of death?

Why not consider getting a job? Employment can be an ideal solution, paving the way to a life after death foundation that can be productive, rewarding and fulfilling.

Worried about that slushy, fogged mind? Fearful of that lack of aptitude? Have lost body parts held you back?

Well take heed my fellow undead friend, there are many ideal positions out there just waiting to be filled, even with little or no skill, and with a little confidence, you too can become a productive part of society.

This guide, while offering considerations, directions and pitfalls, only covers so much and should be treated as a mere aid to getting started. Success ultimately lies with you. As for those missing body parts, so what if you’ve lost a couple of fingers or an ear, you have eight more or one ear left, and they work damn well. Follow these guidelines and/or suggestions and before you know it, you’ll be experiencing that first day, a rotted, greenish smile on your face.

One final bit of advice; confidence and determination are allies, use them to your advantage. Regardless whether you can hold it or not, keep the glass half full and you’ll do fine.

Stay within limitations…

Prior to your demise, whether you were a NASA engineer or a part-time cook at Denny’s doesn’t matter. Diminished mental capacity is a natural aspect of death and accepting this fact will greatly improve opportunity, translating into satisfaction. Realize this and you’ll go far.

The number one thing to avoid…

Working alongside the living, having to curtail a constant urge to chomp will probably pose the largest threat. Overcome this adversity. Keep that hunger in check. Build faith with fellow coworkers and show them you can be trusted. Fight the craving, there will be plenty of time for foraging flesh after the shift ends.

Expectations & Job Satisfaction…

Having a limited death span, long-term employment is probably not in best interests. However, don’t let this discourage. Go for the gusto. Be the zombie to look up to. Believe it or not, there are a numerous factors that make you a highly desirable addition. Note: Be sure to use these as selling points during that initial interview.

* Medical benefits – Since you are already dead, this benefit simply does not apply and will save any employer potentially thousands. In the same vein, sick days will not be needed either. Can you really become more ill than you already are?

* Vacation – Being lucky enough to have your death carry you through a full year of gainful employment says something in itself. If you are fortunate enough to do so, most employers will gladly grant a paid week off. A word of advice, Disney World or Land is not a place for zombies.

* Rate of pay – Regardless what you did while alive, death is certain to have impacted knowledge and although there may be sporadic moments of recall, accept the fact that the majority is lost and expect a low starting offer. Through hard work and dedication, over time this will increase. However, and this is going to be blunt, with a necessity revolving around the need for living flesh, does it really matter what you get paid? Where are you going to spend it? It’s not like you can’t just lumber into the nearest Wal-Mart expecting the meat section to be chock full of various arms, legs and brains. Also, as for a place to live, alleys, woods, fields and such do not require rent payments.

* Shift preference or hours – Typically, the third shift (anywhere from dusk until dawn) is probably the best option. Usually it is the hardest shift for an employer to fill and not needing sleep makes you an ideal candidate.

* Taxes – This ranks high on the hard to overcome list. Since the IRS already considers you dead, your previous social security number will be void. As you are already aware, the inevitability of both death and taxes served true and while you can either attempt to utilize your previous social security number (if memory serves well), or apply for another, either will prove to be stumbling blocks. Therefore, seeking employment offering 1099’s or the opportunity to be personally responsible for paying may need to be pursued. In the event you manage to obtain legal documentation, be prepared to fund Social Security too, but don’t expect to reap any retirement rewards.

Prior to starting your search...

*Photo id and proof of residency – any department of motor vehicles offers standard photo identification and every cemetery has an address. Use the one where you were buried. Also, provided you have already indulged, maybe use the caretaker as a personal reference.

*Appearance is everything. Good first impressions are essential and therefore, consider trading in that shredded, horrible suit for something less stained.

Need to finance getting started?

Well, besides plucking from that purse or wallet of your latest victim (which can make many feel less than stellar), keep those rotted body parts that have fallen off and make a beeline to the nearest medical school. They always have a need and usually pay top dollar.

Some Jobs to Consider…

*Stuffing envelopes at home – usually this is a scam. However, there may be times when you stumble upon a legitimate ad allowing the ability to work at your leisure from your own crypt.

*Special Events Traffic Coordinator – Limited and easy movements, knowledge of directions required. If a car hits you…simply get right back up and drag your broken body back to work.

*Sign Holder – limited movement required; no brain necessary. Simply keep the sign aimed at potential customers.

*Dog Food Taster – this allows companies to justify the “new and improved flavor label.”

*Theatre Ticket Taker – if you can tear tickets in half and drop them in a small slot, this might me a consideration. Best chances for getting hired will be during Halloween or a horror movie run, when customers will appreciate, viewing you as costumed. Your smell will offer realism too, impressing most attendees. Expect photos to be taken. Note: being a horror movie extra might be an option too. Practice that moan ahead of time, you never know when your 30 seconds of fame will appear.

*Poisonous Snake or Spider Handler – anti-venom is a lucrative market and whether or not they bite you doesn’t matter.

*Roach exterminator – eat all you want, they’ll make more.

*Dead Body Crime Scene Cleanup - just don’t let them see you licking up the rancid puddle of blood. Keep cleaning materials nearby for show.

*Zombie Trainer – teach freshly risen zombies the ways of the world. Funeral homes, nursing homes, hospitals and morgues would be good scouting locations.

*Dead Animal Carcass Remover - The smell won’t affect you and dine as you like. Be prepared to beat pecking vultures away.

*Halloween Haunted House – although limited, a bevy of opportunities exist here. Usually the hiring manager will make an offer on the spot, especially since you’ve worn your costume to the interview.

Some Jobs to Avoid…

*Garbage Man – time is everything and with the temptation to snack being too great, chances are you’ll slow things down.

*Hair Dresser – requires dexterity and your idea of beauty will most likely conflict with any standard norm.

*Bricklayer – lugging heavy bricks can rip an arm right off.

*Phlebotomist or Blood Drive Director – again, too many temptations and besides, your thirst will never be quenched.

*Waiter or Waitress – besides the unsanitary fingering of food, your stench will probably curb appetites leaving tiny checks and change as a tip.

Inspired & Hopeful?

As mentioned prior, this article simply offers considerations and potential direction, only touching on a few aspects of this vast area. By all means do not limit yourself to just these few suggestions. Get out there and explore every avenue. There are many suitable opportunities for the confident zombie and sometimes being in the right place at the right time really does matter. Being prepared can greatly increase one’s chances and thus, there’s no time like the present. So, let’s get started by grabbing a pen and paper and practicing that penmanship. You have plenty of applications ahead of you and those filled out properly will always take precedence.

Good Luck and Happy Hunting

She made friends right away

So, Morticia is a reality. Who is Morticia? Well, besides being the matriarch of the Addams Family, she is…wait, let’s start at the beginning.

Besides writing horror I am also a fan and collect it. From posters to life-size figures. Framed zombie puzzles hang and both a few Living Dead Dolls as well as Undead Teds decorate a shelf. An electric chair sits nestled in the corner of my office (a product of a rainy day build) and among the eight loaded bookshelves are various horror novels, a bevy of scary anthologies and collections, more horror dvds than I care to count and various knick knacks all leaning to the macabre. Oh, there’s some dumb stuff too, like a Regan (The Exorcist) action figure, an Ouija board game, a couple of skulls, plenty of Creepy & Eerie issues and a very authentic looking special effect eyeball complete with dangling nerve cluster resting in a tiny jar. While there is much more and we could be here most of the day discussing, I simply wanted to give you an idea of this ghoul’s massive wound of horror to set the tone. And so you see, Morticia fits right in.

A ghoul found a home

While most initially who view find her morbid, after the initial sense, a coolness factor seems to develop, most ending with an understanding chuckle. If I had a dollar for every time I heard you are weird, I’d probably have substantially more horror than I have now.

Nonetheless, Morticia is a silver 1990 Cadillac Brougham Hearse complete with a coffin. Initially, I viewed this coffin as killing two birds with one stone, heh heh, but after realizing that I’ll probably be cremated instead, my intentions are to convert it into a cooler/charcoal grill for tailgate parties at horror conventions and Halloween haunted houses.

Now, I had been toying with owning a hearse for quite some time, especially after the wife gave full blessing (coincidentally, she seems more excited than I) and began exploring. Most were relatively cheap enough, under 5k and some even far less, which beckoned the question why? Only after recognizing that these automobiles have held countless dead people, something most folks find revolting, I finally understood. Of course this prospect didn’t bother me in the least and I gladly welcome any lingering ghosts. Regardless, when the opportunity arose, I took it with no regrets and she became the official Staying Scared mode of transportation, occasionally being seen lurking around the Daytona Beach area.

The eyes light up with the brake lights.

However, her large motor has an appetite similar to zombies and flesh and so trips are limited, except for the occasional restaurant visit. Having the coffin partly visible through the windows, looks and comments are certain and I simply mention that we had to pick up a body and had gotten hungry along the way, always adding that they weren’t in any hurry to get anywhere anyways. It’s our little way of spreading the horror joy. Heh heh.
Halloween this year is going to be a blast.

Maybe I’ll put Mr. Grim on and Uber. Mwhahahahahahaha

And so fellow Creeps, until next time...Stay Scared!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Omg! The Horror of Junk...

Well hello fellow Creepsters and a Happy New Year to ya. If you're wondering where I've been, well, besides that job thing getting in the way, I've been going through the 2nd rewrite of my first novel A Lawnly Existence, penning a few tales, working on the horror dollhouse, and trying to get a short film off the ground. Believe me, It's pretty tough doing all this by yourself. Oh yeah, even wrote a couple humor pieces too. Below is one of them. It's called The Horror of Junk and is a frightful envisioning that takes a funny turn along the way. I was going to send it to Reader's Digest, but figured what the heck and decided to post it here instead. Coincidentally, I just might be writing for too. Nonetheless, keep the fear folks. Just because yours truly is branching a bit, that doesn't mean that horror is on the outs. I've had a number of other genre pieces on my mind for some time now and finally took the opportunity to put then down. While horror flows through this bloody heart and always will, it's okay to laugh too and while these humor pieces may not include blood, guts and gore per se, they will always surround something frightening. Hope you enjoy and chuckle at the read.

The Horror of Junk
by Thomas Scopel

Heading out the front door, the wife looked back with a smile and asked. “Would you be a dear and clean the junk drawer?”

The words were pulverizing, sending a ripple of horror cascading down my spine. Like face cards flashing during a shuffle, images of things I’d rather do flooded my mind; leech bloodletting; doing the backstroke through a school of Amazon piranha; having a root canal. But, because I’m a man of men, willing to make my wife happy, I simply nodded.

Located in a desolate part of the kitchen much like Siberia, at the edge of the recessed lighting shadows, the trek to the virtual treasure trove of jettison junk rivaling that of the city landfill feels like the last mile.

A shaky hand clutches the knob and with a tug the drawer loosens, opening only far enough to barely fit in two fingers. Gritting teeth, knuckles scraping, the culprit is found and I wonder why locks are made of steel when all it takes is a #2 pencil.

Using some small expenditure of strength, the drawer manages to extend fully. Frightening noises come from behind as unknown items are cast into a crevice similar to those lying dormant on Everest. There will be no search party and with a sad shrug, assume all is lost forever.

My gaze falls to the pencil in hand, contemplating a three point shot to the trashcan at the far corner of the room. But, after short reflection to realize it was no fault of the pencil, compassion brings reprieve and it is spared such doom, placed on the counter instead. Exactly two seconds later, the pencil rolls, almost in slow motion, across and off the edge of the counter, hitting the floor lead end first leaving a noticeable black streak on the white tile. There will be no second chances. Nothing but trashcan!

A few envelopes, crumpled like the front end of cars at intersection traffic accidents, lie in wait on top of the heap. Minimal thought recognizes that no matter how much hand smoothing occurs, restoration is futile, and they are placed on the vast counter.

A couple of haphazardly folded sheets of paper with single line shopping lists probably written with that pencil are next. Obviously one of the six scattered fluorescent yellow Post It Note booklets weren’t handy at the time.

Peering at the tightly packed clutter, using a hand like a steam shovel to excavate crosses mind, but after a vague envisioning of a worse pile of mess requiring a 40 hour work week to clean up, the delicate process of picking through begins instead, starting with expired coupons too numerous to count.

Like belligerent blinking neon lights, three partially used scotch tape cartridges plead for attention. Two come out easy. Why they weren’t used completely before going to the next is probably the ninth wonder of the world. Gathering the third, a lonely rubber band clings desperately to the sticky underside, with a red crayon magically wrapped on the other end. Blessings are counted at being able to clear three things at once, but just as the counter edge crossing occurs, the crayon, in an attempt to escape no less, leaps away, only to plummet down the face of the cabinet, tapping and marking various spots along the way to the floor.  

Bending down, a cluster of stars fill vision, brought on by a drawer face forehead bang causing a rattle that probably measured 6.8 on the Richter scale. Certain to need a plastic surgeon, a gingerly rub of the afflicted location indicates on the contrary and with a single swift swoop, the crayon joins the pencil.

Ink pens of all shapes, sizes and colors are plucked, enough to fill a clutched fist, most of which probably no longer work, and are set beside the growing counter pile. Flattening out they linger, like logs casually floating around a sawmill pond, except for one that has other thoughts and rolls the full six inch distance to tumble and disappear into the sink. Unconcerned, reckoning to retrieve later, the task at hand is continued, unaware that the pen has tumbled directly into the drain and later will consist of playing a homeowner’s version of the operation game using a pair of needle nosed pliers.

Scratched beyond repair, the more the bottom panel comes into view the more the enigma deepens.

Is there a real reason to save so many rubber bands?

Where did this nut and bolt that could probably hold the load beam of the Empire State building come from?

How do matches get moldy?

Why are we keeping a pack of four birthday candles when no one in this household will ever be four again?

Besides flint being a hot commodity when the zombie apocalypse hits, is there another reason why we have three non-working Bic lighters?

The wife comes in the front door, sets a couple brown paper bags on the table and heads for the bathroom. A luscious familiar scent shrouds and while there is no need to look to know what it is, I simply can’t keep my head from turning. Immediately spying the lovely green polka dotted box barely hidden inside the top of one of the bags, like Niagara Falls, my mouth begins to water. Inside are Krispy Kreme doughnuts, the best invention next to the wheel, and suddenly concentration is garbled, complete control lost.

Using a hand resembling a bulldozer blade, a single precise swipe pulls the heap back into the drawer followed by a quick nestling to assure minimal force needed to cram it closed.

There’s always tomorrow.

There's still a little time left to watch the episodes online. CLICK HERE
Did you happen to watch American Horror Story Hotel? They are pushing the censor issues and this is a great thing. Personally, while I can't say I've been a fan, but Lady GaGa did impress and maybe she will become a regular.

Valentines Day will be soon upon us and with it comes the 2nd half of season 6. Watch a sneak peek here.

Remember this flick? Ever wonder what happened to the players prior to reaching the house? Well, you're in luck. Jonathan Maberry and Romero himself are editing an anthology of tales surrounding the 48 hours of the landmark film. Tentatively titled Horror of the Living Dead, these all original tales feature names like Thor, Keene, McKinney, Lansdale, Russo and more, with the Godfather of zombies himself penning too.
Read More Here

And so monsters, until next time, seek out the dark corners, play in the shadows, and stay scared!