I don’t want to miss out on any warm & fuzzy Halloween feelings this year. Therefore, to help delineate a nostalgic childhood fear, I shall begin with a story. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there’s a certain magic in thinking about the things that scared you the most as a child.
Eight o’clock at night, a thin young man on a motorcycle flashed his headlight when he saw a girl walking down Froxmer Street in Northern England. She was wearing a pale blue coat and white high-heeled shoes; she was on her way to a dance, and I’m sure she looked pretty. At the young man’s signal, a 21-year-old woman with bleached hair slowed down her van and asked the girl in the pale blue coat if she would please come with her to Saddleworth Moor. The girl got in the van, not knowing that the man on the motorcycle was following them. As she was lying on the moor, bleeding to death from her throat, I imagine she wanted more than anything to be at that dance.
I was always told, specifically, not to get in a car with a stranger if he or she asked me to help look for a glove. I didn’t know why, but that’s what I was told. As far as missing items go, “missing glove” has a nice ring to it, especially if the glove is described as “expensive.” The image of an expensive glove evokes a fairytale feeling; the glove must surely be exquisite and feminine, a delicate garment that Cinderella would have worn to the ball. If a girl in a pale blue coat is walking to a dance at 8:00 p.m., asking her to help search for an expensive missing glove on Saddleworth Moor is a nice idea. Something about an expensive missing glove on Saddleworth Moor sounds romantic, but the desire to “commit the perfect murder” is only romantic to the criminal.
The kidnappings, sexual assaults, and brutal murders carried out by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley between 1963 and 1965 were so evil and disturbing that their residence at 16 Wardle Brook Avenue was demolished.
The thought of someone (or someones) watching from a distance, calculating an abduction, is supremely creepy and sinister. Brady and Hindley once searched for a potential victim on a fairground; after spotting a particular little girl, they stood by and waited to see if she was by herself. “Premeditated” is one of the darkest words.
Dangerous women can seem so much spookier than dangerous men. I always felt this way, even though men are usually of a more threatening stature. Dangerous women have more of a poisonous quality about them. Myra Hindley’s very image is considered by some to be “synonymous with the idea of feminine evil,” which I did not know until I read about the Moors Murders when I was fourteen. As a child, my natural fear of eerie women deeply connected me with the 1977 cartoon The Rescuers. The villain is a manic pawnshop owner named Medusa who abducted an orphan girl by luring her into a car. She was an especially frightening villain to me because of how real the situation felt. As a little girl, putting myself in Penny’s shoes was uncomfortably easy, which is why my memory of watching this movie is so vivid. Medusa’s intentions for the little girl were not quite as evil as most kidnappers’; I mean, all she did was force Penny to crawl through a treacherous cave to snatch a diamond for her pawnshop! But still, the thought of being trapped on a riverboat in a place called Devil’s Bayou with a deranged lady who wears fake eyelashes always gave me a grim feeling in my gut.
To conclude, here’s a visual summary of the fabulous Medusa:
The woman was not necessarily a rapist or a murderer, but goddammit she wanted that Devil’s Eye diamond and was a bit of a snappy lunatic bitch about it…
As a girl who has always treasured her teddy bear above all things else, Medusa terrified me with her threats directed at Penny’s teddy…
Medusa’s villainous persona is enhanced by her road rage, and goddammit, she knew how to rock that purple coat…
Medusa cuddles with pet alligators? What the fuck kind of batshit crazy bitch is this?
Oh, and I want that purple couch.