“Ooh! Scary stuff, kids…”

July 21, 2007 at 11:39 pm (Waxing Nostalgic)

Instead of cartoons, I spent this Saturday morning watching a documentary about slasher films. Time for a spooky stroll down memory lane…

Remember the first movie that really scared the crap out of you? I do. I’d seen Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolfman as a kid. Meh. Sinister Cinema? Gimme a break. The fist film to really get under my skin was Carrie.

I was fifteen, and living in Sandy, Oregon. The Sandy Cinema cost $.69 for a double feature. I forget the opening film, and may have skipped it. I remember smoking a joint at a construction site before going in. I had to lie about my age, but I was big and ‘mature’, so the theater owner knew me as a regular. (I was, sometimes twice a week if the film was good.) The film was squirm-inducing from the opening frames. That shower scene is some of the steamiest cinema ever produced, IMHO.

I had such a crush on Sissy Spacek, and the film was a wild ride. I related to it, with the religious mother and the other kids taunting, etc… Carrie gets her bloody revenge, and then the film is over, right?

I looked around the theater. Couples recoiling from the horror were relaxing. The soft soothing music played as Amy Irving’s character puts flowers on Carrie’s grave.

Then Carrie’s hand comes up out of the ground, and everyone in the theater jumped three feet into the air. Not easy when sitting down. The shrieks and screams and sudden blast of adrenaline woke everyone up. My nerves were on edge.

Then the real fun began. It was almost one AM, and I had to walk home, part way through a wooded area. I felt eyes on me the whole way, and every crackle and whoosh set my heart beating anew.

Few films have come close to scaring me like that one did. I saw the original The Omen a few months after that, but my fear of the boogeyman had waned. I was growing up. Not even Satan himself could spook me now!

Phineas, Freewheelin’ and myself got loaded on speed, beer and Thai weed and saw The Exorcist. I can see how it would upset the Catholics. Scary? Not if you’re a skeptic.

The next film to creep me out? Aliens. Not the first one, though I liked it. The sequel was a slam-bang balls-out thriller, and once again my walk home through Old Town late at night was a wild one. Every time a rat or a piece of litter blew by, my heart jumped. Sheer adrenaline. I loved it.

Am I a horror film fanatic? Not really. I like a good scary movie, but it has to be relatable. It takes more than blood and guts to draw me in. It has to be smart, or funny, or self-deprecating to the point where the film knows it’s bad. (Monsturd is a good example.)

The documentary I watched was a nice refresher course. I saw a couple of things I would never have watched a whole movie to see, and with some of the interviews it was like seeing old friends. (Always been a fan of John Carpenter, Wes Craven, Brian DePalma.) It was nice to see my new favorite horror director, Rob Zombie. He’s remaking Halloween, and I will pay to sit in a theater and watch it.

If I have to claim a favorite horror film, it would be House of 1,000 Corpses. It’s grisly, spooky, funny, sexy. (I’m in love with both Mother and Baby Firefly…) And Captain Spaulding is about as close to a cinematic alter-ego as I can find. The opening minutes, with the killer clown and his cronies cracking wise around the gas station, reminds me of a slow night at work.

I would be remiss to address this genre without mentioning the hosts of late night spookshows. Sinister Cinema was the first, but I could never quite get into it. Then Elvira came along. I spent many a lonely Saturday night watching and fantasizing about her. (When I found out she was really a redhead, I was even more fascinated.) I have a life-size cutout of her; a promo for Coors Light. I replaced the six-pack on the silver platter she’s holding with the severed head of Alfred E. Neumann.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, Count Floyd wants to buy your mom a drink…

1 Comment

  1. Himself said,

    Not being a fan of horror films, I enjoyed the subtextual homages to SCTV and the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers more than the ostensible topic of this post. Well played, maestro, well played! So, wait a minute… are you Fat Freddy? I always kind of identified with Freewheelin’ Franklin myself.

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