Sunday, October 23, 2011

The horror movie in my mind.

"Hi, guys I'm home."

It was just after 1:00 AM. We always ask our teenager to duck her head into our bedroom door when she comes home, and it never ceases to put my mind at ease and facilitate a far more restful parental slumber.

"Can I go watch some TV for a while? That movie was so scary I don't think I'll be able to sleep."

"Oh, honey." I hadn't realized my wife was awake. "Just go to bed. Remember, it was just a movie and you're safe."

"Okay, Mommy. Goodnight."

I melt a little when she calls us "Mommy" or "Daddy."

She and three friends had just returned from subjecting themselves to "Paranormal Activity 3," a movie whose trailer claims, "The final fifteen minutes will change your life forever."

What's that supposed to mean? That during the last quarter of an hour, Joel Osteen comes out onto the stage and hands out free copies of his new bestseller, How to Become Filthy Rich, Really Good Looking With Awesomely Straight Teeth and Probably Still Go to Heaven?

Nope. And no one from Scientology or Amway was there, either. Believe it or not, that's actually a marketing tool meant to draw people into this scariest of scary films. From cinema's earliest days, even the silent era, audiences have thirsted for horror.

From 1922's "Nosferatu" on through "Psycho," "Rosemary's Baby," "The Exorcist" and "The Shining," our adolescents have yearned to experience handfuls of Junior Mints and Goobers jolted from their sweaty palms.

Back in 1978, a classic entitled "Halloween" hit the bloody screen. It starred nubile hermaphrodite, Jamie Lee Curtis, as a teenager who systematically witnessed each of her friends being slaughtered by a confused killer named Mike Myers. Did Ms/r Curtis's character, Laurie Strode, wise up and run screaming from the house? For whatever reason...no.

Hey, otherwise, there would have been no movie, and therefore no reason for that awesome looking girl next to you to dig her nails into your conveniently flexed bicep and nestle her head so close to yours that you could taste her "Love's Baby Soft" halfway down your esophagus.

Actually, that didn't happen. During "Halloween," I sat next to a thirty-year-old, overweight, bearded man.

After my daughter was safely tucked into bed, I drifted off into a peaceful slumber. For a while, anyway. A few hours later, I awoke, blanketed in a frozen film of sweat, after having dreamed of a crew of sadistic serial killers. The only way they could be vanquished was through the ingenuity of the dream's protagonist, who developed a fool-proof method for killing each of them.

The hero allowed each killer, one at a time, to get close enough that the psychopath's face was within biting distance. The protagonist then methodically ate the killer's face off.

Charming, eh?

I guess I saved the price of admission last night.

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