This Halloween, if you want a good, old-fashioned, low-tech scare in between your costume parties and your horror movie viewing, we have this recommendation for you: Turn out the lights, grab your flashlight, place it beneath your chin, and gather round your scare-hungry friends for a spooky reading of “Enoch.” This creepy tale is a short story by Robert Bloch, who also wrote the novel that was the basis of Alfred Hitchcock”s “Psycho,” one of the films in the Top 10 of HitFix”s Ultimate Horror Poll.
Bloch first published “Enoch” in horror fiction pulp magazine “Weird Tales” in 1946. Among other works by Bloch – whose mentor was H.P. Lovecraft – was the screenplay for “The Cabinet of Caligari” (which also made the Top 100 of our horror poll), multiple stories about Jack the Ripper and 10 episodes of “Alfred Hitchcock Presents.”
“Enoch” is about a man named Seth plagued (or protected?) by a little creature named Enoch who resides on his head. Be prepared to cringe as you learn more about just what it is that Enoch does. You are left wondering what you would do if the little thing wriggled its way into your skull – would you obey his gruesome orders, or refuse and be left to a fate far more horrible?
Of course, with its tale about a man who contends that a voice inside his head told him to do horrible things, “Enoch” is also a piece of commentary on our perceptions of mental illness. Even as you”re kept guessing whether you can explain away Enoch, the story – told from Seth”s perspective -keeps your skin crawling, and like Enoch, it will refuse to leave your head.