I am not sure which scares me more, the impending apocalypse or Halloween making a killing at the box office.
Recently the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a frightening report indicating the global temperature will rise 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels within our lifetime, potentially unleashing a cataclysm of drought, wildfires, and floods on hundreds of millions of people.
As dire as this warning appears to be, it doesn’t really make my palms sweat like a good horror movie. Apparently a lot of people agree with me because John Carpenter’s Halloween
has already scared $100 million out of movie goers.
Personally, I would be more frightened if I saw some headlines like:
Climate Scientists Warn of Impending Zombie Apocalypse or Spike in Witch Burning Attributed to Rising Temperatures or Global Study Predicts Storm Drains Overrun with Circus Clowns.
Just imagine sitting around a campfire deep in the woods on a crisp and starless night in late October and hearing a story like this . . .
Late one night, a woman heads her car down a dark and deserted section of highway in rural Kansas, not far from Leavenworth. She has been driving all day and is anxious to find a place where she can rest for the night. In the inky black band of her rear view mirror she notices two pin pricks of light gaining ground behind her. It is the first vehicle she has seen for miles. It appears to be a large semi, probably coming from the truck stop where she got out briefly to ask for directions.
She doesn’t think much of it, until the country music she is listening to on the radio is silenced by a deep voiced announcer.
We interrupt this program to bring you an important announcement. A deranged killer has escaped from Leavenworth prison, slashing the throat of a prison guard with a butcher’s knife. Authorities believe the man may seek transportation and warn motorists to lock their cars and avoid strangers.
The woman grows a little nervous and checks that her doors are locked. And as she scans her rearview again she sees that the large vehicle is much closer behind her now. It flashes its high beams, slowly at first, then more vigorously, before unleashing an ear splitting blast of its air horn. All she sees of the driver behind her is a silhouette bathed in the ominous red glow of panel lights. And the silhouette is motioning violently toward her.
Perhaps the truck only wants to pass, she thinks to herself. With some relief she sees the turn signals flash and the enormous vehicle move into the opposite lane.
As the truck moves along side, the woman lowers her speed. The big sixteen wheeler does the same, staying neck and neck with the woman, who is now feeling the fiery tendrils of panic run up her spine. Up ahead, emerging into the outer limits of her headlights, she spots the turnoff to a motel.
The truck quickly drops back and pulls up once again behind her. The high beams flash again and again, blinding her vision.
In horror, the woman veers off the highway at the exit, hoping to find her way to safety. But the truck swerves violently behind her hanging inches from her tail lights. The desperate maneuver proves too much for the woman and she briefly loses control of her car, which careens off a safety rail and plows into a row of bushes lining the turnoff.
Hunched over the steering column, she sees in the distance the welcoming neon glow of her motel.
She also sees the truck driver looming in her window. He is holding a weapon in his hand, trying to enter her locked car. He raises his arm, smashes the window with a crowbar, reaches inside to unlock the door, and pulls the panic stricken woman from her car.
The last thing she remembers before losing consciousness is the flashing lights of a dozen police cars bearing down on her and the burly man from the truck telling her over and over, “The killer is behind your seat . . . you must get out now!”
It is only later, safe inside a warm patrol car, that she learns the uncomfortable truth.
The man driving the truck was an expert from the IPCC. He could see the entrails of dangerous hydrocarbons escaping from her tail pipe. He flashed his lights trying to warn her. If she didn’t get her car fixed, in 12 years the temperature could rise 1.5 degrees celsius unleashing an apocalyptic nightmare of wildfires, floods and food shortages killing her and hundreds of millions of people.
And the escapee from Leavenworth? The police found him at the motel hiding in the backseat of a car with a butcher’s knife. But that is a different story.
Forgive me, but I think if the IPCC really wants to scare people into action, they really need to find a better PR person.
Maybe John Carpenter or Steven King are available.