Lesson Transcript

Alisha: Hi, everybody. My name is Alisha. Today, I am joined again by…
Michael: Michael. Hello!
Alisha: And today, in a special Halloween episode of English Topics, we're going to be talking about English Scary Stories. So, let's begin. Each of us have prepared a few things. Particularly, things that scared us when we were kids, I think. But, maybe there are some things that still scare us today. I don't know. Before we start, how are you for scary stories? Do they bother you? Do they get to you as an adult now?
Michael: Mm. Not really. But, it's not, trying to be macho like, "Oh, I'm not scared." When I watch scary movies, I get really scared and get really into it. Not "gore" as much. Gore, I don't care about. I grew up with violent video games, that kind of stuff. That doesn't faze me. Internet, you see all sorts of crazy stuff but like when it's psychological, I get into it and it stays with me, then I get scared. But stories, I don't know, it's tough to be scared by story. I think I'm spoiled now. So, a story? I don't know. I mean when's the last time someone told you a story and you got really into it and like—
Alisha: Ah, just hearing the story?
Michael: Yeah, just imagining.
Alisha: Probably get a little bit dark but when someone tells me about something really shocking that happened to them, not so much a ghost story but it's something scary that happened to them in real life. Then I feel shocked. But, when you're watching a scary movie, do you--? I'm really bad with scary movies. I hide or I like to turn off the sound or turn all the lights in my house or I cry sometimes. I can't handle scary at all. Scary movies? Nope.
Michael: Really.
Alisha: They're fun to a point but then I can't watch them. Okay. Well with that in mind maybe…
Michael: Anyways, so—
Alisha: Alright. I'll start off. I went very generic with mine. The first one, again, this is something from childhood. For me, "The Boogieman." The Boogieman is sort of a generic, it's a word that parents would use with kids, I think, just for the bad guy. So, Boogieman--if the child is misbehaving or maybe they're supposed to go to bed, they're off being mischievous or whatever. Maybe mom or dad would say, "The Boogieman will get you." Or "Watch out for the Boogieman." The Boogieman is just a catch-all term for a bad guy or somebody bad, some bad monster creature. So, if there wasn't a specific name for the monster, a specific name for the bad guy or the bad person, you could just call it the Boogieman. And it was adequately scary, I think, for most kids. Did you—?
Michael: Yeah, everybody knows the Boogieman. And I think that's true, it's just kind of a catch-all, archetype monster. But, I think, for most families, at least I never knew anybody who said the Boogieman blah, blah, blah, blah. You see it in movies when people talk about monsters they say, "the Boogieman." It's kind of when you're just trying to think of a name for a person and you're "Joe" or "John." It's just kind of a name. But, for me, as a kid, or if there are monsters, it was, "The blah, blah, blah monster under your bed." It would have a specific the--that forest or the closet ghost or whatever. Something like that. I don't know. Just for an example, it would be a specific monster like this, I think--I never had anybody actually tell me the Boogieman was going to get me. I would just see it movies and you just see it when I'm talking about—
Alisha: Maybe that's true. I don't know. I feel maybe that's true. It's maybe more in movies and it is actual parental child conversations.
Michael: But, at least nowadays, I don't know. Maybe back in the day. This one was an urban myth that was one of the only ones that I was told and it scared me so bad, is "Bloody Mary." So, not the drink, but Bloody Mary, I wasn't sure if it should be capitalized or not. I don't know if it's—
Michael: Oh!
Alisha: Samesies!
Michael: Samesies. Did you do it? So—
Alisha: No! I was too scared. Please explain what is Bloody Mary.
Michael: So, Bloody Mary, I remember this in elementary. There's a vivid memory and I remember most things back in elementary. But, me and my friends are sitting there in the hallway in between the classes and they're like, "If you go in the bathroom, turn off all the lights, look in the mirror and say, 'Bloody Mary,' three times. Then she'll appear and she'll get you." And, I don't remember the backstory. It was just some dead woman. I think this comes from a long time ago like Queen Mary. But, at the time, as a kid, it was just a scary old lady or something and I saw her. And, of course, it's just my own reflection, your eyes are playing tricks on you but I ran out the bathroom. I was so scared, heart-pumping, out of my chest.
Alisha: Yup, yup. Absolutely. That was terrifying for me, too. I never had the guts to do it. You actually did it?
Michael: Yeah.
Alisha: I didn't.
Michael: It was stupid for me to do it. I was so scary. I ran into the class.
Alisha: I never had the guts to. There were a couple times when I thought I would try or I thought I had the guts to do it in a slumber party with my friends. But I'd get to the bathroom and all the lights would be off and I'm like, "Nope, this is not happening." And then I just leave. I just can't handle this stuff. The other one that I thought of, that was similar to this and I think there's a movie made out of it. I don't know. It's an urban legend but it was called "Candyman." It was a similar thing like you say, "Candyman" in the mirror a few times but in this case, it was a man who would appear behind you and then. I don't know. Cut you or something.
I picked a really generic one that's still sort of scary. I just went with "Haunted Houses" and what I mean by haunted houses is in your childhood, at least I imagine in American childhoods, there are often be around Halloween at a school or at a neighborhood house. Someone's house or someone's whole school will be transformed into just this scary, scary place. So, they'll hang up decorations, they'll turn off all the lights, there will be all this sort of scary things to do. The one that always really scared me was they would take a bowl of grapes essentially but they'd peel them and put them in and put them in a dark place so you couldn't see anything. But they'd say, "Put your hand inside." And then maybe the next one would be like cold spaghetti and they'd say, "This is someone's eyeballs." "This is someone's brains." I could never handle that kind of thing or behind curtains, people will jump out. Nope. So, I still can't do that kind of thing. It's still terrifying to me, I won't do it. Really. I'm really not good at scary at all.
Michael: I like haunted houses. I mean there was a couple we'd go to. There was one of those in my neighborhood and I think it was abandoned. I don't think anyone lived there. We called it "the goat house" because everyone said all we'd see is a goat on the area. I didn't live in like a farm area, it was a suburb. So, it was really weird. And it was just once in a blue moon, there would just be a random goat in this plot of land.
Alisha: Okay. Please tell me how you made a goat house scary. How is that scary?
Michael: Yeah, it sounds stupid when I tell you guys but it was so creepy, man.
Well, I'm going to kind of cheat and use this one. This one scared me so much as a kid and I don't know if this is a universal or Western thing like in English movies is the "mannequin" or the "doll that's alive." Right, that scared me so much. I think once you see it, then you think it. Even the "Toy Story" because of the toys. It's a happy movie but even that, it's in my imagination. So, as a kid, I would just stare at my dolls and just kind of give them the skeptical eye. Are you alive? And, I'd close my eyes and I'd do that and I try to catch him. "Chucky."
Alisha: Yeah, there are a few movies. I think they were made at that time. It's like a killer doll or some inanimate object that would come to life and get you. That never got to me. What did get to me though was, I think, I saw that Jim Carrey movie, "The Truman Show." There was that movie where the whole--it wasn't even meant to be a scary movie but just the whole life was not real and there were people watching around everything that you did. That made me paranoid for like a good 20 years.
Michael: Amen, dude. I don't know if we talked about this before but that was the same thing that I would look. I'd be going to the bathroom and I'd be there's a hidden camera somewhere. This is like that movie you know--kid's imaginations are too big. I think you see a movie, reality. And you hear a story, reality.
Alisha: That one's stuck with me for a really long time. I'd like a word with the people who made that movie. I would like several words with them. Anyway, you have one more, I think.
Michael: I do.
Alisha: I can see it.
Michael: Well, this one's kind of lame but "la Chupacabra." So, it's not really English but because at least in America, we're very close to Mexico, we have had a lot of Spanish influence. So, that's basically our story as well so I grew up hearing stories about this. It was a demon monster that would eat goats. Oh, men. Full circle, there we go. This wasn't something that really scared me but this is one of the few urban legends that I still heard and people still believed like Bigfoot or something like that.
Alisha: This is a monster story, right. It could eat small animals, he could eat kids or people, right.
Michael: But, they believed it. There's a lot of monsters that you're like, "That doesn't exist," but--
Alisha: But "Chupacabra" is one that's like, "Well there's some legitimate evidence that there is a Chupacabra."
Michael: Yes, just like Bigfoot.
Alisha: A "Chupacabra" colony. Okay. All right. That was actually a nice little, varied group of things that are scary especially for young American children. Maybe if you have the guts, you can try Bloody Mary in the mirror. See how it goes for you. We're not responsible if anything bad happens to you, by the way. Alright. Great. So, maybe around Halloween you can think of a few of these and maybe try them on your friends, see how they react. That could be kind of fun. Is there anything that you'd like to do to your friends around Halloween?
Michael: Jump out and scare them.
Alisha: Yeah, that's a good one.
Michael: Drawn a blank.
Alisha: Well, if all else fails just jump out and scare your friends this Halloween. Alright. Thank you very much for joining us for this episode of English Topics. We will see you again soon. We have something else fun to talk about. Bye.