Halloween 2017: Choose Your Spooky Outcome: Chapter 3

                “Let’s go with Terror Camp 4. I’m not big on the idea of maze-like torture chambers, and we kind of already dealt with suburban monsters when we took Annabeth Trick or Treating. Plus, this is more classic horror cinema than pure gore or camp value, best bet for genuine fear.”

                “And old school slasher movies have nudity!” Jim lifts his arm up for a high-five, staring at both of you.

                After a long minute, Victoria sighs and reluctantly presses her hand to his. “You have the internet, you know. I imagine that would be a better font for such things.”

                “It’s like the difference between playing your favorite song or hearing it on the radio, just feels better when it happens organically. Speaking of organic, I’m buying candy!” With the high-five complete, he sprints over to the nearest refreshment counter and begins loading up on chocolate and gummy worms.

                “Be honest, between the example he used and the food he’s purchasing, Jim doesn’t understand what the word organic means, does he?” Victoria asks.

                You give the most honest answer you can, paired with a weary shrug. “Depends what he’s on at the time. He once cooked something up that got him straight A’s for a whole semester, but after he finally came down one day he’d forgotten all of it. The recipe, the weeks, everything. Lucky for him, that was the semester we had to deal with evil teddy bears on Valentine’s Day. What I wouldn’t give to lose those memories.” Even as the words pass your mouth though, you question how true they are. After all, last year you had a chance to leave some truly horrifying stuff behind, but instead you opted to carry the burden with you. Perhaps you wouldn’t be as quick to cast off the past as you might think.

                After Jim has loaded his arms down with snacks, drinks, and a jumbo sized tub of popcorn, the three of you head off to the theater. Somehow (probably Victoria though) you wind up with prime seats right in the center and midway up. The theater has ample people, but it’s hardly packed. Since there are so many screens showing so much at once, it makes sense. Even a big crowd can only be spread out to a certain extent.

                One of the few upsides to seeing a vintage flick at a special event is that the theater mercifully skips the commercials and previews before the start. If you didn’t already know that magic was real, that act alone would likely have you entertaining the possibility. Lights go down, the whispers die away, and for a moment the only sound is Jim’s plastic baggie as he sprinkles something on the popcorn, followed by him loudly trying to eat his way to the bottom of the bucket. Slowly, the projector above begins to hum, and you brace yourself for something strange or mystical.

                Twenty minutes later, and the scariest thing you’ve encountered was Jim’s jaws when you reached over to try and grab a handful of popcorn. If anyone else had dragged you here, you might be second-guessing how accurate their information was. You are still having those doubts, make no mistake, you’re just smart enough not to voice them around Victoria. She’s… not the most receptive to constructive criticism. Not to mention, if she turns out to be right there is no way she would let you live down any questioning comments.

                It’s a good thing you shut your yapper, because only a few scenes later something odd does actually happen. A bladed saw drops down from a ceiling, killing a camp counselor mid-abstinence lecture. While it’s the third murder of the movie, this time the camera pans upward, giving you a good look at Umpire-Mask, the movie’s antagonist, for the first time in this film. Only, he doesn’t look the way he normally does. It’s more like an outline of a character, all white light and washed out. As you stare, the moment lingers on, the light stretching out from the silhouette to take up more and more of the screen, then further, to the walls themselves.

                You’re falling. Not far or fast, but you have definitely left the ground. Sounds, echoes really, linger in your ears. More voices screaming in surprise, or terror. One of them might even be screaming your name. Then there’s a thud, which drowns them out largely because it’s a sound you made. A normal person might lay on the ground, scared and confused, but you’re experienced. You’ve been through weird shit before. So you scramble to your feet in unmasked panic while scared and confused. Okay, not the best improvement, still something though.

                Taking in your surroundings, it is instantly obvious that you’re not in the theater anymore. Soft grass is under your feet, which are clad in white sneakers, topped by khaki pants and a yellow shirt. Shit, you’re not even a werewolf anymore, you’re a… oh fuck. You’re a counselor. Whipping your head around, you see it all there lit by the slowly setting sun. Camp WystEyoPen, Lake Unsettling, the cabins, the mess hall, the tool shed with inexplicably bloody weapons. No question, this is the setting of Terror Camp 4. Which you are now in. Dressed as a counselor, the people picked off first and foremost in these films. Even worse, Jim and Victoria are nowhere to be seen. She’ll be fine, if anything Umpire Mask should be running from her, but Jim isn’t one to always make the safest choices. And with the sun going down, shit is about to get real. After dark is when these movies get cranked all the way up.

                You can’t help them if you’re dead, however, so maybe standing in the open isn’t the best idea. Nearby is the mess hall, the biggest building in the camp and the most likely place where other scared people might try to congregate. Plus, given how many snacks Jim was eating, he’s obviously coping with some munchies. Then again, safety in numbers doesn’t always work out in slashers; maybe it’s better to head to the tool shed for weapons. Assuming you won’t find Umpire Mask waiting to kill you, which is a pretty damn optimistic assumption. Or, if you’re feeling really brave today, you don’t think you’re too far from the woods. If you can find Umpire Mask’s buried heart, you can kill him and maybe end the movie before anyone gets hurt. Sun is slipping though, best not dilly-dally.

                And that’s how to break down choice options Jim, wherever you are. But yeah, it’s a slasher movie, hustle and choose fast!