Horror is in the Eye of the Beholder
My day was filled with body horror.
I was taking an online first aid course. I was expecting a review of CPR and how to use an AED machine. But the first aid section was the stuff of horror movies: shockingly graphic and so, so bloody.
The wound care module opened with an arm so lacerated, they could’ve been fighting off Jason Voorhees and a freshly sharpened machete. But the eye module was worse. I now know the proper first aid if you have your eyelid sliced off. Not just cut open, so your eye socket fills with blood and you need stitches. No, I mean fully detached. From your face.
Once I’d stopped shuddering, I found myself remembering some classic eye trauma scenes. They’re viscerally uncomfortable, and nearly too much to read or watch if they move slowly. But oh, that delicious rush when your stomach rolls over.
“The Jaunt,” SKELETON CREW, by Stephen King – A family travels to Mars, but they go further and see more than that, perhaps too much. “Longer than you think!” indeed.
IT, by Stephen King – In the novel, Patrick Hockstetter is a monstrous character and nearly as terrifying as Pennywise. His death from mutant leeches is gruesome, especially when one attaches to his eye and sucks it dry.
THE QUEEN OF THE DAMNED, by Anne Rice – After they were turned, Maharet’s eyes and her twin sister’s tongue were cut out, and they were separated for thousands of years. As a vampire, she steals her victim’s eyes and uses them until they wear out. She eventually reunites with her sister and brings down the power-hungry Akasha like the antediluvian badass she is.
The Evil Dead 2 (1987) – Who doesn’t love a Deadite traumatized eyeball POV? And we have somehow come back around to Eyeball Cake Balls.
It’s not a coincidence that there are a few Stephen King stories mentioned here. He knows our fear well. From his nonfiction book, DANSE MACABRE: “But surely you remember the time-honored Halloween party game Dead Man, where peeled grapes are passed from hand to hand in the dark, to the solemn intonation of “These are the dead man’s eyes”?”
By the way, we need to find that eyelid. I’m sure it’s around here somewhere.