learn more about the scary stories podcast
The world premiere retelling of The Hook is written by Bryan Renaud, based on the urban legend. Featuring Shannon Leigh Webber, Aaron Holland, and Bryan Renaud.
The Hook has been told for decades, and the story is thought to date around the mid-1950s. In most versions, a young couple is cuddling in a car when the radio blasts a news bulletin about a serial killer who just escaped a nearby institution. The kids leave quickly, but in the end, they find the disembondied hook stuck in the metal of the car.
According to The Vanishing Hitchhiker: American Urban Legends and Their Meanings, the story had become widespread amongst American teenagers by 1959, and continued to expand into the 1960s. Snopes writer David Mikkelson has speculated that the legend might have roots in real-life lovers' lane murders, such as the 1946 Texarkana Moonlight Murders.
The first known publication of the story occurred on November 8, 1960, when a reader letter telling the story was reprinted in Dear Abby, a popular advice column:
Dear Abby: If you are interested in teenagers, you will print this story. I don't know whether it's true or not, but it doesn't matter because it served its purpose for me: A fellow and his date pulled into their favorite "lovers lane" to listen to the radio and do a little necking. The music was interrupted by an announcer who said there was an escaped convict in the area who had served time for rape and robbery. He was described as having a hook instead of a right hand. The couple become frightened and drove away. When the boy took his girl home, he went around to open the car door for her. Then he saw—a hook on the door handle! I will never park to make out as long as I live. I hope this does the same for other kids. —Jeanette
Folklorists have interpreted the long history of this legend in many ways. Alan Dundes's Freudian interpretation explains the hook as a phallic symbol and its amputation as a symbolic castration. Swedish folklorist Bengt af Klintberg describes the story as an example of "a conflict between representatives of normal people who follow the rules of society and those who are not normal, who deviate and threaten the normal group."
American folklorist Bill Ellis interpreted the maniac in The Hook as a moral custodian who interrupts the sexual experimentation of the young couple. He sees the Hookman's disability as "his own lack of sexuality" and "the threat of the Hookman is not the normal sex drive of teenagers, but the abnormal drive of some adults to keep them apart."
The story was famously adapted by Alvin Schwartz in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. The Hookman has appeared in films such as I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), He Knows You're Alone (1980), Campfire Tales (1997), Meatballs (1979), Shrek the Halls (2007). The legend also serves as inspiration for the Candyman film franchise, and featured in television series such as Supernatural, Freaky Stories, Community, Designing Women, and Spongebob Squarepants - in which Squidward, in an attempt to scare SpongeBob, tells a made-up horror story of the "Hash-Slinging Slasher"-- a dark, faceless figure donning a raincoat who has a rusty, old spatula in place of a hand.
Leave a Reply.