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As Evening Falls Around Us

1 rating: 5.0
A Fiction Column

As Evening Falls Around Us is a column page which caters to fictionalized material related to true crimes or inhumanities which shock the nation. Many of the crimes which have taken place over the course of the past 50 or so years have dramatized … see full wiki

1 review about As Evening Falls Around Us

As Evening Falls Around Us

  • Jun 27, 2009
  • by

Cast me gently. Into morning. For the night has been unkind.-Sarah McLachlan

It's that time of year where we all feel a bit frosty & find ourselves wanting to spend as little time outside as humanly possible. Or maybe I am just speaking for myself here as I'm not cold-blooded by nature ofcourse. With the exception of a few holidays which I love dearly, I can honestly say I would rather be snuggled up at home in front of the TV watching some great films, catching up on the latest episode of True Blood on HBO and listening to Rozz Williams' music. Hopefully, the gas prices will continue to drop while I stay locked away inside my own dungeon keeping warm & occasionally lifting a finger or two in hopes of sharing my latest findings with all of you.

As I try to adapt to the changing of weather like every other living soul does, my heart cries out when I think of cold-natured humans as reflected in many forms of media today. The whole aspect of human cruelty & downright frostiness disturbs me greatly & has weighed heavily on my mind in recent years. I must admit that the stories we discover, in fact, are unusually appalling & grossly inhuman. Do I believe that a mere column written for a site dedicated to those as passionate about films as I am will do so much to change anything? Probably not. However, it's shameful not to touch upon the dark sides of the human heart while grieving for the faithful departed.

It's been 43 years since Sylvia Likens was literally tortured to death & somehow the story is just as shocking to me now as it was when I first read the fictionalized account "The Girl Next Door" some years ago. Back then, the book left me nearly cold & with a blue complexion of sorts. I still get chills up & down my spine when I think of the horrendous crime that was commited & how no one came to rescue this innocent girl. 

Not since "Flowers in the Attic" have I felt so dumbstruck. Having said that, I cringe even more when I think about all the young children in the world who are currently suffering even more than what we experienced in those novels. Ketchum's mortifying novel was fleshed out for the screen & justice was served in the cinematic sense. 

Nearly 20 years after Jack Ketchum's fictionalized account of Liken's story was published, the film Girl Next Door was finally released to the masses. What could I possibly say after seeing this film? Yes, I was angered. Yes, I probably screamed at the television & cursed the evil-doers in the back of my throat more than a few times. To no avail, all the rantings & ravings in my own living room could not save one child. At the end of the film, I sat motionless watching the credits roll & I felt all the emotions that the film-makers knew I would go through. I felt like a sick-o. I felt dirty. I needed a shower & yet I couldn't move. Suffice to say, TGNP made me feel less than human but the tears must flow nonetheless.

I allowed myself the luxury of crying. I cried for the loss of such an innocent child. I cried for the boy who loved her. I cried for the sister who would surely miss the sibling many years down the road. I cried for every child in the world who had been or would become the target of a sickened human mind. I cried until enough was enough. But those sobs would not stop with TGNP. I would surely cry again once I saw An American Crime. It was only a matter of time until I would get my hands on that  DVD & the time would need be granted again to re-group after such a hideous experience.

As with TGNP, An American Crime left me with similiar feelings although I did have to admit feeling a bit more sorry for the foster mother this time around in the very beginning of the film which slowly
progressed into hatred. Catherine Keener & Ellen Page played very memorable roles which shouldn't have surprise me but I had wished that this film would've been the one Page would be remembered for rather than the chalky but popular Hard Candy. I immediately felt that I understood Sylvia much more although I never understood why she allowed those around her to do these ghastly things which would inevitably result in a slow but painful death. Only Sylvia herself knows the real reason & she took it with her to the grave.

After viewing both TGNP & AAC, I couldn't shake the feeling that this isolated incident is only one of millions which will ever be told. In fact, what disturbed me even more than the films were the horrendous things which take place all the time & there is never a speaker for the dead. No one to reach out a mere hand of comfort in those last moments of misery nor a speaker for the dead to inform others of the inflicted torture which had to be endured before the final passing. Millions of young children have become the sacrificial lambs in the execution of terrbile lives their parents have chosen. Who are these people? Do they live next to you? Would you know one of them if you saw them? If you knew something terrible was happening, would you do anything at all?

How strange that one who loves gratuitous violence or gore should feel so threatened & completely taken out of his comfort zone by two fairly recent movies or the novels that came years before? Would I have felt any different had I never known that both films were based upon actual events? Would the films be any less harrowing or would we simply dismiss them as more examples of extreme, sickening horror? Who can say for sure?

I had to stop & think back to my formative years when I would flinch at the slaps heard from a neighbor's window. I would want to run & hide at first but then I would finally build up enough courage to take myself next door. By the time I would arrive, the damage was already done & the harm couldn't be extracted in any fashion. Weeks went by & these slaps became increasingly more brutal until the day Social Services entervined thanks to one phone call which I encouraged a close family member to make. Unfortunately, not every child is so lucky to have that intervention & not every slap will be circumvented. We live to see this harsh legacy unfold over & over before our eyes more often than any of us care to mention or dwell on.

I am freezing on the inside during nights like these & I desperately crave the warm weather of Spring. I pray the winter nights are not so long & that the cold winds may have mercy on those who are finding it difficult to warm themselves. I know there are worse fates than freezing to death but we are living in a world full of frost & sometimes we are reluctant to do or say anything about it. The ugliness of our surroundings can be rather haunting when we realize that enough is enough & some form of action must be implemented.

My heart goes out to those who suffer tremendously & have suffered or lived in turbulent shadows. If you know someone who is suffering or has been suffering, do not stand by & allow it. Get them help & get them assistance very quickly. Our lives are meaningless if we cannot bring ourselves to helping another in great times of need such as this. I bid you a good evening & am hoping you will keep warm during this cold winter.

As Evening Falls Around Us As Evening Falls Around Us As Evening Falls Around Us As Evening Falls Around Us

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July 26, 2009
I was rating you'rereviewand I came to the part marked "Fun to Read"--how can I give you credit there? I would hardly call it "fun" or even "amusing" reading this painful outpouring from your soul, and yet I wanted to give you some recognition for the fact that it was well written and in that sense a "good read". So 3 stars from me for "Fun to Read". As a horror fan sometimes I find myself in the strange position of seeing horrible things being presented in the name of "entertainment", and many times it's made me extremely uncomfortable--more so perhaps than watching a true story would. Odd, huh? There's nothing that can be done about something that has happened, it's merely the truth and should serve to make us careful lest we allow something similar to happen around us. But sometimes I find it difficult to cope with horrific things being offered up as entertainment when they go too far beyond the pale. And yet I'm a horror fan.
July 28, 2009
I understand where you are coming from completely. It's never easy to watch or be entertained by the horrors of inhumanity. I can't honestly say that I have the tough skin either that's required to watch such films but somehow I'm drawn to them like a speaker for the dead. I don't quite understand my fascination with it as it's certainly not joyful but I can relate to those who've suffered. I'm a horror fan for life but there are some films I dare not seek out. Well, a few. Thank you for the wonderful comments! Those really made me feel better today Queen.
July 29, 2009
Horror fans are a strange lot, aren't we? Every so often you run into one you wouldn't want to be in Yankee Stadium with, but generally we're pretty sane individuals, although we pretend to take offense at the label.
July 29, 2009
I sometimes wonder if my extreme tastes freak people out. Well, this could explain the strange looks that people will give. Hmm, wonder if they think I'm the next Marquis DeSade. Funny that. Personally, I've found that people with the sickest or weirdest taste in films are often the most genuine people you'd ever want to meet. Having said that, I'd certainly hate to be in a Yankee stadium with some nutbag. LOL
July 29, 2009
I was sharing a small bus ride ride from LAX to the the hotel where the 94 Fangoria convention was going to be with some guys from Texas that I'd met on the Plane who were going too. There was another weird looking guy in an odd fitting suit who was going to the same hotel so we let him share the ride to keep the cost down. He never spoke the whole time we rode into the city, and afterwards we wre all talking about how freaky he was. Turned out he was going to the con too. He looked like he was some sort of tightly wound religious nut though. THAT's the kind that scares me. I would never have picked him out as a fan. Turns out he was there primarily to see Clive Barker too. He's ther kind you'd feel nervous aabout even in a big crowd. He did wind up going all weird while waiting for the elevator on Saturady.  Just started kicking the hell out of this standing ashtray and they had to call security on him.
July 30, 2009
Whew, nothing against organized religion or people who have gone off the deep end with their strong convictions but those types do give me the creeps. I keep thinking of Piper Laurie when she played Sissy Spacek's mom in the thriller Carrie. Yikes!
July 30, 2009
He may not have been that at all, he just looked that way, ya know? Like if you made eye contact he was going to stick a copy of The Watchtower in your hand or start speaking in tongues or something.
July 30, 2009
Yeah, I hear ya. The least lil' thing could've set him off like a timebomb. Yikes! Pretty creepy. Glad you are able to tell us about it though.
June 28, 2009
Truly engaging review! I am utterly speechless, bro. The Girl Next Door is absolutely one stunning piece of writing, and what made it more disturbing is the fact that it really happened. Nice work as always, my man. Can't wait for your next write up. (please make us wait as long as Orlok's been doing) Sorry, Orlok, I had to throw that in there LOL!
June 30, 2009
Thanks!!! Woo, I'm stunned. It's been a long weekend but it's time to get back to work & may very well have another review or column up my sleeve yet. I don't know. There is something about domestic abuse or violence as shown in films which always strikes a nerve with me be it Flowers In The Attic, Girl Next Door, or Martyrs. For some reason, I am unable to turn my eyes away from them & sadder still is the mere fact that things like this take place every day.
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