Copyright 2011 by Gary L. Pullman
Imagining that one is a location scout or a cameraman while taking a stroll may not put money in the bank, but it does enliven one’s promenade. Things take on a sinister and ominous look as one imagines camera angles, the types of shots to be shot, the characters and objects to be emphasized or deemphasized, the lighting to be used, and the music that would accompany the images upon the film.
One can, quite easily, scare the hell out of oneself.
Perhaps, as a result of such a stroll--a walk that takes place in the imagination as much as it does through any particular landscape--one may even conceive of a story that will set other people’s nerves on edge.
Some landscapes or landscape features are natural symbols of emotional states. Once, while searching for my brother’s place--he and his lovely wife live in a remote canyon in the southern part of California--I somehow entered what was, in effect, a tunnel of trees. They stood thick along either side of the narrow, unpaved, rutted road, their branches interweaved, both side by side, throughout their impenetrable stand, and overhead. It was night, but, by shutting out even the ambient illumination of the stars and the moon, the tunnel of trees made the night darker than it would have been otherwise. My headlights were the only source of light, and all this relatively faint illumination disclosed was the dirt road ahead and the thick green foliage on either side of me and overhead. The emotion that this seemingly unnatural growth of trees and foliage created--or seemed to create, for, obviously, the sentiment was my own, and not the earth’s--was anxiety akin to panic at the sense of being trapped. Claustrophobia produces, I must say, an alarm like no other type of fear, one that is as pervasive as it is evasive and as overwhelming as it is engulfing.
Fortunately, in a mile or so, I exited this tunnel of greenery as abruptly as, having made another in a series of wrong turns, I had entered it. I was even fortunate enough to find my brother’s house. I related the strange experience, and his and his wife’s insistence that neither of them knew of such a road anywhere near their domicile further enhanced the eeriness of the experience. Wouldn’t a story--or a film--that included a scene of a protagonist or a lesser character entering such a corridor as the one I had chanced to enter be a scary tale?
Probably. Certainly, handled with adroitness, it could be.
But this is only one of the many such possibilities that a walk in the park--or, better yet, a walk in the dark--viewed from the perspective of the monster, the serial killer, the madman, or their victim, could inspire.