Halloween is almost upon us, the creepiest time of the year and Star Wars fans worldwide are planning on the best way to integrate the galaxy far, far away into their Halloween celebrations.
But what elements of Star Wars would you want to use to inject a touch of space fantasy into your ghoulish evening? What scares you about Star Wars more than anything else? And simply saying ‘Jar Jar Binks’ doesn’t count…
Let’s take a look at the facts. Is it Carrie Fisher singing the Life Day song in the Star Wars Holiday Special? Or perhaps it’s Donnie and Marie’s creepy Star Wars themed TV show?
Maybe you’re freaked out by the fact that Jabba the Hutt’s gloopy sound effects are actually melted cheese? Or that Mark Hamill can talk about a film called The Big Red One with a straight face.
You wouldn’t go far wrong with taking a cautious look at the Galaxy of Fear series by John Whitman which brought an element of creepy mystery to the SWG in the form of 11 classic choose-your-own-adventure style books. Published between 1997 and 1998 they sat behind some 50’s sci-fi influenced covers and were the spiritual precursor to a duo of terrifying tales that landed a dozen years later.
Joe Schrieber’s Death Troopers lurched zombie-like through the door in October of 2009 and immediately became a cult classic, with undead troopers terrifying our heroes. Schrieber had a blast saying that the book was for anyone who “really digs horror in the vein of The Shining and Alien, with a little dose of William Gibson mixed in.” It certainly did that, and we also recommend the audiobook from Random House Audio for a dose of additional aural angst. The prequel story Red Harvest – set during the Old Republic era – arrived in 2010 bringing more gothic horror to the galaxy.
On television and during The Clone Wars second season Legacy of Terror and Brain Invaders probably did more for nose plugs than anything in previous history. Casting Anakin, Obi-Wan and Luminara Unduli deep underground on Geonosis they come up against the mysterious Geonosian queen and her brain worms, which turn their hosts into mindless zombies. Released in November of 2009, this – along with Death Troopers – showed a new, more adult edge to the franchise. Somehow I can’t see Disney bringing out any horror related merch this season.
But terror comes in many forms and what could be more terrifying than arriving home after travelling around the Jundland Wastes all morning with a mysterious elderly stranger and your two troublesome droids and finding your aunt and uncle burned to a crisp on the porch?
Not much, and I imagine Luke preferred his steaks medium rare after that but it would certainly make for a great Halloween costume.
Similarly the dianoga from the trash compactor in Star Wars: A New Hope.
When not looking like Meg Griffin this hidden beast encapsulates every fear we humans (and wookiees) have of what is hidden in the dark, within the shadows or beneath the water, as is the monstrous and terrifying space slug, the poor mistreated rancor from Jabba’s Palace or the ginormous Guba Fish.
Come to think of it, Star Wars is littered with horror. Ravenous wampas, Sando Aqua Monsters, energy-sucking mynocks, rampaging reeks, angry acklays, even giant spiders on Endor in Caravan of Courage.
It shows you what a dangerous place the galaxy is, especially when you realise that the kindly and avuncular senator of your Mid Rim paradise is actually the most evil Sith to have ever lived and the tall fellow in the black armour and shiny helmet is actually your Dad. You can’t trust anybody!
Anyway, enough of my neurosis, have an amazing Halloween and remember to turn your lightsaber setting down to 0.5 when carving out your pumpkin. We don’t want to have any accidents, do we?
What are your favourite scary moments in the Star Wars franchise? Were you terrified by Darth Vader as a child? Let us know in the comments below…