Nathan (vovat) wrote,

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Scare and Scare Alike

For today's Halloween-related Oz post, I direct you to the twenty-third book in the series, Jack Pumpkinhead of Oz. Here, Jack (who is rather Halloween-ish himself, and even has his pumpkin head lit up with a candle a few times) and Peter Brown inadvertently visit Scare City, a rocky town of cliff dwellings decorated with heads and goblin lanterns. The inhabitants are bizarre monstrous beings with disturbing features. The spiked gate of the city is maintained by the Chief Scarer, a man with multiple faces who informs newcomers of the rules. The ruler is King Harum Scarum VII, who is described as having "a horn for a nose, a lion's mane, pig eyes, donkey ears and billy goat whiskers." Honestly, Neill's pictures of these two Scares look more comical than frightening, and it's not like Neill couldn't draw creepy stuff when he wanted to (look at the two double-page spreads of witches and sorcerers in Lucky Bucky, for instance). Anyway, anyone who screams at the Scares is turned into a statue, while those who run away are transformed into Fraid Cats, strange felines with heads at both ends so that they can't help but see the Scares surrounding them. At the end of the book, Ozma restores all of the transformed people to their proper forms and homes, but there's no indication that she removed the transformational power from the Scares, so they might have achieved a new collection by now, if Ozma hasn't been keeping a watch on them. The Scares also held Snif the Iffin prisoner until Peter and Jack rescued him.

And on another note, happy belated birthday to sailorptah!
Tags: books, characters, monsters, oz

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