Halloween lurks just around the corner and its impending arrival is nearly palpable. Dead leaves flow through the streets like a river and the autumn air is crisp and fresh. As you stroll through residential neighborhoods you can feel the lifeless eyes of relentless decorations in their spectral and ghoulish forms watching as you pass. There are ghosts, witches, mummies, pumpkins, spiders, bats and so much more. They adorn trees, windows and lawns like some twisted, demented ornaments that would line the road to hell.
It seems that in recent years people have gotten more creative yet more unhinged in their efforts to produce an utterly evil and hideous atmosphere worthy of ushering in this darkest of holidays. Sightings of severed limbs, corpses and gore are not all that rare; nor are the effigies of infamous psychos and serial murderers as inspired by various films. In addition, the many tools of their trade are often featured in these displays, ranging from simple kitchen knives to immense chainsaws.
It’s truly fascinating how any mundane object can be transformed into an item of dread, or a tool of death. We’ve seen cinema convert simple household items such as a candelabra, a pair of scissors, pillows, shovels and rakes into a brutal murder weapon. In the proper context and with the correct twist, anything commonplace can be altered into something terrible and fearsome; it’s all relative.
Yes, quite shockingly, this even applies to the wonderful and innocent world of decor. It is difficult to fathom any piece of furniture, in any shape or form, truly instilling fear in the eyes of the beholder. However, there is one particular furniture item that time and again appears in some of the most eerie and haunting scenes throughout films. While the item itself poses no threat and presents little cause for dread and alarm; the context in which it is portrayed repeatedly throughout the years, provides ample explanation for the chills that run up and down our spines and causes us to shudder violently. I refer to none other than the infamous rocking chair.
The scene arises from the ashes every few years making numerous encore appearances for lovers of horror and the macabre. Generally, there is a specter, a ghost, that haunts a particular dwelling or room and amongst the ample evidence compiled by the protagonist to prove its presence, is the uncanny sighting of the rocking chair as it rocks back and forth, the seat seemingly unoccupied. This leads the character to deduce that indeed this apparition is lurking about and though invisible, nevertheless wishes to make its presence known.
It creates a sort of irony, as the rocking chair is traditionally associated with innocence (picture grandma rocking back and forth as she knits, or a mother softly rocking her child to sleep). Despite the fact that every time I lay my eyes upon this wondrous chair, I imagine it swaying back and forth beneath the unseen weight of some ghoulish apparition; I nevertheless cannot resist the temptation as it beckons with all its soothing comfort for indeed it is a timeless classic.