Burt Prelutsky

I have a confession to make. I hate scary movies. It’s not an aesthetic judgment. It has nothing to do with the fact that the writing and acting tend to be awful. It’s quite simply because they scare me. It makes no difference that for years I worked in TV. I understand that it’s just a movie, and that there are grips and gaffers and makeup people lurking around behind the camera. All I know is that as soon as someone or something jumps out of the closet, I jump out of my seat.

I understand that there are people who enjoy the adrenaline rush they get from a good chill. Those are the lunatics you’ll find on roller-coasters -- especially the thrill seekers who take their hands off the safety bar when the coaster goes into its dive. They’re the people who go in for parachuting, bungee-jumping and hang-gliding. Although I used to ride a motorcycle when I was younger, that was mainly because I couldn’t afford a car.

I am simply not one of those guys who goes in for activities whose chief appeal, or so it seems to me, is that, at their conclusion, one gets to say, “Well, I’m still alive.” That happens to be what I like to say every morning when I wake up, and so far, so good.

What puts me in this frame of mind is that the presidential race reminds me of those really dumb scary movies. You know the ones I mean -- the ones in which the innocent victim hears a suspicious noise coming from the cellar. Then, instead of getting up, leaving the house and moving to a different city thousands of miles away, he or she decides to go snooping around downstairs. Never willing to leave bad enough alone, the pinhead has no option but to satisfy his curiosity as to whether the source of that noise was a vampire, an alien life form that derives its sustenance from human flesh or just your standard run of the mill homicidal maniac.

As I see it, we conservatives are the ones in the audience offering good sound advice, such as “Don’t go down there,” “Call the cops,” “It’s not mice, you idiot,” but, still, the silly characters can’t help themselves. Clearly, these people have led very sheltered lives and have never seen a scary movie. They seem completely unaware that most accidents happen in the home -- especially when the house was built by Stephen King -- and accidents that occur in cellars nearly always involve hatchets, fangs and chainsaws.

While the folks in the audience, as I say, the rational, sensible people, are conservatives, the ones blithely traipsing down the stairs are liberals. The creatures in the shadowy cellar, the ones wearing hockey masks, looking a lot like Freddy Krueger and Hannibal Lector, are the likes of McGovern, Carter, Dukakis, Clinton, Gore and Kerry.