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Daily Star Hallowe'en special
A year of trying to scare us all to death
Friday 31 October, 2014
We've had monster mutant cannibal rats, black-eyed child ghosts and green-eyed killer spiders, but today the Daily Star has marked All Hallows Eve with a truly terrifying front-page subject: Roy Keane.
If the paper is to be believed - and who would ever doubt it - the greatest living Irishman is destined to lie in a coffin of worms and eat widgety bugs.
We are even treated to an impression of what Crocodile Keane might look like if he ventures into the jungle with the D-listers.
But is he really going? Over to Keane (via the Star): "I met the jungle people but I thought: ‘Nah, not for me.’”
So that's a no, then?
The Star doesn't give up that easily. It continues: "But he has hinted that following a megabucks offer, he is up for it. He added: “The more you say ‘no’, the more determined they are to get you. So who knows? There’s more to life than football.”
It's a pretty impressive effort for Hallowe'en, but does it match up to the paper's other attempts to scare us over the past year?
This time last year, the Star had arachnaphobia. There had been several alarums and excursions through October, but then a Madeleine McCann story came along to knock the eight-legged terrrors into the sidebar on the 31st. Fortunately, normal service was resumed the following day - and it was a blockbuster: killer spiders living in a man's head.
Maybe the Star thought that such a story couldn't be bettered - or perhaps it was losing interest. Whatever the reason, its attention quickly turned to four-legged fiends:
But to be honest, its heart wasn't in it. There were just too many distractions, what with Celebrity Big Brother, the Nigella trial and the weather...
Every spell of bad weather has to be a storm and every storm has to be a killer (the odds are high that someone will slip over, be swept into a river or have a tree land on their car: cruel but true). The Star didn't break its step for the death of Mandela and made sure that we didn't drop our guard while we were opening presents and eating turkey with a Christmas Eve warning not only of a killer storm, but of Santa's killer storm hell. And there was more on Boxing Day.
Now it's hard to write this, but it has to be said the daily team took their eyes off the ball come the new year. They were just too distracted by immigrants and Big Brother and forgot that the prime purpose of the paper was to scare readers. Thank goodness, the weekend staff were there to maintain standards - although there was a lack of co-ordination as to what we should be particularly worried about. Consistency here was sadly lacking.
There followed a calm period when our lives didn't seem to be at threat from unwelcome house guests, unless you counted those on the one-eyed monster in the corner if you happened to tune into the Big Brother channels. May was quite peaceful and only a few fleas and rats - and Luis Suarez - disturbed our enjoyment of the World Cup in June:
Come September and the end of the silly season, however, those spiders (and some intrusive mosquitoes) started rampaging again:
Green fangs were a new twist, and all very frightening, but they didn't really hold the attention. And by the end of the month there was a far greater terror heading our way, a pheonomenon that was to strike not only ordinary families and haunted pubs, but also reality TV shows and the nurseries of Hollywood A-listers. Dolls in make-up were out to get us and no one was safe:
In the month of Hallowe'en who knows what terrors lurk in the next day's paper? For the past two weeks the Star has kept us guessing, bringing back old favourites for guest appearances - and introducing new attractions such as the giant crab of Whitstable harbour, which attracted the attention not only of the Daily Mail but also the Independent and inspired a front-page T-shirt from the local paper.
But in all this, something is missing. What could it be? The Star's horror, terror coverage has been unequalled, but it has lacked that je ne sais quoi.
Oh yes, that's it. Simon Cowell hasn't put in an appearance.
We'd better put that right. So here he is in the Star a couple of weeks ago - and in a rival rag this morning.
Watch out Dawn, it looks as though the Sun is trying to steal your clothes.