Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Movie Monster Madness

My NaNoWriMo story is tripping the Memory Lane circuit. I didn't intend it; it just happened.

See, I got to thinking a little too much about my characters. And what forces shaped them from childhood to who they have become at this moment in my story. For example, my hero's early career aspirations started from watching Monster Movie Matinee on Saturdays.

And I got to thinking...

Does anybody else remember this show besides me? It was on at 1:00 in the afternoon, every Saturday. They played this scary organ/bassoon music while the camera slowly shot over a really lame stage set with a haunted house surrounded by creepy, craggy trees and a steaming moat. Then they'd fade to inside the house where Igor, a scruffy guy with an eyepatch, was talking to Dr. Witty, the mysterious host of the show who sat in a wing chair in front of the fireplace. Dr. Witty talked like Dracula and the only thing you ever saw of him was his hand, long and bony and white, with a big ring on his index finger. I think his nails might have been painted black, but I can't recall.

Anyway, I saw my first scary movie ever on MMM. It was a black & white B-flick called The Screaming Skull. It was about a man who murders his wife in order to marry his girlfriend. Then the wife's skull somehow manages to dig itself out of the grave and starts haunting them. I remember one scene where the skull is in the heroine's bedroom and she throws it out the window. Then, just when all seems to be well and she's drifting off the sleep...

knock, knock, knock...

There's someone at the door. She goes to answer it in her slinky nightgown and satin robe(the preferred getup of monster movie heroines everywhere). She opens the door and---aaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!! IT'S THE SKULL!!!!! Of course she faints dead away, and that pesky little skull rolls into the house and stops right next to her.

In retrospect, it's pretty funny! I'm sitting here laughing, remembering how scary I thought that movie was (hey! I was seven!) and how I had a nightmare that night and my mother told me I couldn't watch MMM any more.

Then we have our intrepid heroine, who is afraid of the dark. Trust me, she's no baby. She just had a nasty troll of a brother who liked to lock her in the back stairwell (the enclosed, windowless, pitch black back stairwell) and jump out of her closet in the middle of the night screaming "Boo!" for kicks.

No, I didn't have a nasty brother, but I definitely had issues with the dark. The beasts that lurked under my bed defied ordinary description; I absolutely would not look out my bedroom window when it was dark out--I still, to this day, look away from the window when I'm closing the drapes at night--and I would get serious, wicked chills down my spine if I had to walk the hall from my bedroom door to the living room door at night. You know what I mean, when the hair on the back of your neck literally lifts and you know if you turn around... The interesting thing about this is that each of my siblings has tales to tell about the house we grew up in, so at least I feel validated about what may or may not have been walking our floors after the lights went out.

Anyway, all this thinking's got me curious. Do you remember your first scary movie? What's the best one you ever saw? The one that kept you awake at night? The one that was beyond lame? Come on, this'll be fun.

First: The Screaming Skull--see above
Best: The Haunting (original version; haven't seen the remake yet) --especially when the lights go on and Eleanor's holding on to nobody! Creepy classic! Psycho is great too.
Scariest: Halloween still rocks. The Exorcist freaks me completely out, too.
Lame: Friday the 13th--of course, the first time I saw this I was an adult. Maybe it would have been scarier as a teen.


Anonymous said...

Psycho made me mentally ill as a teen, home alone for the weekend, who thought, "An old black and white movie will scare me? Gimme a break." Oh, did I learn. If it hadn't been for my dog never leaving my side that weekend, I would have gone batcrap crazy.

Robyn- Snarkling Clean

spyscribbler said...

ROFL ... I remember those terrifying B-horror flicks that would be laughable today.

I remember one that gave me nightmares for WEEKS. I don't know what it was called, but I had nightmares for weeks, about a hand floating around without a body.

I was terrified! And there was one with Birds, I think ...

StarvingWriteNow said...

Hey, that was "The Beast With Five Fingers"! I just saw that a couple of weeks ago! What a trip!