(For over ten years, Ellen de Vries and I have run Not for the Faint-Hearted, a workshop where people have three minutes to write a story prompted by a picture. This is a story I wrote in a recent session, lightly edited)
One of the most notorious video nasties was 1983’s The Conductor. Much of the film is dull – tedious shots of the conductor going about his business. Serious gorehounds often left the cinema before the shocking end sequence. Nobody ever quite agrees on what they see: like Psycho’s shower scene, frame-by-frame analysis reveals none of the supposed mayhem. But that last shot – the worn hand clipping a ticket – became the source of many bleak nightmares. Nobody ever watches the film a second time.