What do The Shining, The Exorcist, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Psycho have in common? They were all informed and inspired by real events. Most movie narratives are rooted, to some degree, in real life. Horror is no different. The most effective film scares are those that are tied tightly to what we find familiar.
I consider myself something of a self-educated and mostly skeptical expert on tales of the paranormal, the crypto-zoological, and the extra-terrestrial. I’ve chosen seven of my favorites to share with you, dear reader (and perhaps budding film director?) as I believe these stories have the potential to make for the next great horror film.
7. Black Eyed Kids (BEKs)
In 1996, journalist Brian Bethel posted a personal account on the internet. His story has resonated and spread through the internet ever since.
On that now online-famous evening, Bethel had left to pay his late internet bill. While he was sitting in his car in the business plaza, he was approached by two young boys in hoodies, perhaps between the age of 9-12. Bethel recounts that he was filled with an immediate inexplicable trepidation. He cracked his window and the boys explained that they had hoped to catch a movie, but that they had also forgotten their money and needed a ride home to get it. An increasingly fearful Bethel noted to the boys that the latest showing had already started and explained that they would miss half the movie.
The boys became insistent, ensuring the journalist that they were just kids. They lived rather close. They didn’t have a gun.
It was here that Bethel noticed that his hand was moving uncontrollably to open the door to open it. He pulled it back and looked up at the children again to find that their appearance hand changed. As Bethel puts it:
Both boys stared at me with coal-black eyes. The sort of eyes one sees these days on aliens or bargain-basement vampires on late night television. Soulless orbs like two great swathes of starless night. (Reporternews.com)
As Bethel pulled away in a panic, the boys pleaded to be allowed into to the car, instructing Bethel that they couldn’t come in without his permission.
While on its own, Bethel’s story is spine-tingling, the more dreadful discovery occurs in the comment section of any site hosting his account. There seem to be thousands of people who share Bethel’s experience with Black Eyed Kids and most stories unfold in very similar fashion (spend some time with the phrase on Google). Speculation and description illustrate the BEKs in ways that draw comparison to extra-terrestrials, angels, demons, and vampires. Most upsetting? No one can say for certain what happens when you allow these kids to enter.
Level of Skepticism: I mean… the internet is the internet. There’s probably no reason to leave the door latched when serving Trick or Treaters this year.
Tips for a Potential Director: An origin story ruins the fear. Whether the film uses 2 or 200 BEKs, please don’t tell us where they come from or what they want.