It is almost Halloween, right? Right. So last evening I was perusing what the television had to offer and I was in a quandary as to what I should watch because woe is me, CSI was a re-run and nothing else looked appealing besides the scary movies. Kevin retired to the bed room likely to channel surf which makes him most happy but also probably to watch the Red Sox World Series - because are they even playing another team? I am not a fan of the baseball on TV phenomenon. It is boring, grass growing boring, to me to watch baseball on TV and I have tried because I actually rather like baseball. BUT not on TV. I digress.
SO I had the choice between Amityville Horror (circa 1979) or Halloween 4 or was it 5? Hmm, it seems they were doing the whole series so let's just say Halloween #something because if you watch enough of them, they all start to blend together, right?
I choose Amityville Horror. Why? Mostly because it has been a long long time since I last watched it. Like since 1979... Let me back track here. We moved to CA around the beginning of the summer, 1979. I turned 6 that year. We were still relatively happy when we moved to CA -that is we were still a semi functioning sort of happy family who interacted with our neighbors and lead normal lives (you know before the fights, depression, alcoholism and subsequent divorce/children being thrown out for doing too many drugs... Such a typical CA family we became! Sigh...)
SO we got to know the new family who had moved from Mississippi around the same time. A large family of about seven named the Spencer's. The father, Ernie Spencer, was an engineer working for GE at the time like my father and they had a station wagon just like us. Theirs was olive green and ours well ours was wood paneled - I kid you NOT!
One evening, we all piled into the two station wagons and did what was still cool in 1979 - we headed to the local drive-in theatre. Likely it was cheaper to do this than taking 10 kids to the regular theatre. We went to see The Muppet Movie. I was in the back of the family station wagon with my sister who is about 10 years older than I am. The Spencers had - get this- ALL GIRLS. Mary was close in age to my sister and she was there as well Monica who was my age. I was excited to see the Muppet's as they were my absolute fav when I was a kid. Of course, I am sure my 15 yr old sister was not near as excited. She and Mary quickly turned their attention to the other screen which was showing, you guessed it - Amityville Horror. Of course, I was 5 and wanted to be like my big sister so I also watched this movie versus the one we actually had the sound for. It had a profound and lasting effect on me through my childhood.
For one thing, I was deeply fearful of sleeping without a light on after watching the movie. I had many nightmares that lasted for years and I would wake up screaming for my parents. I also would lay in bed stricken with fear in the middle of the night because the trees in our yard made shapes on the walls in my room and to this day I can remember what those looked like - seriously people moving in my room - FLIPPIN' FREAKY! The worst fear of them all was the toilet. In the movie, the toilet burps up blood when it is flushed. I did not - no joke - flush the toilet for years and years. I am sure my family adored this behavior and I remember being too embarrassed to tell them why I did this...
It was also an odd time our lives - obviously we just uprooted from NY to CA. Life was very different from small town upstate NY to the BIG city of San Jose (which was really not so big in 1979... mid sized at best...) I was devastated when we moved. I loved NY and thought 'how could they do this to me?; I was five, what can I say? Plus I was always fairly riddled with fears - when I was even smaller one of my 1st memories had to do with not wanting to go to sleep at night (hmm, like mother, like son???!) because I thought my family took off their human costumes and became Gorillas??? I was so scared but I finally got up the courage to ask my mom if I could check to see if she was wearing a human faced mask... Oh, if you are wondering, she was not a gorilla - as far as I could tell!
Yeah so now that know I am a freak! The irony is once I out grew these fears - I am not even going to tell you how long that took... YES I FLUSH MY TOILET NOW... I love scary movies. I love mystery novels and scary books. I like being scared by Halloween type stuff. It is fun and thrilling. Also, watching Amityville last night made me think 'wow this is really not very scary - it is a bad 1979 movie!' Seriously, Psycho makes me jump more than Amityville. But I also know more now - I can rationalize that these are just movies made in Hollywood and after several visits to Universal Studios over my life time - nothing in movies really ever seems real! It was an interesting step back for me into my childhood, into those memories that bubbled up (ha get it bubbled up - toilet... chirp chirp...) from one bad movie at a drive-in in the back of a station wagon (hmm that we likely drove home in while lying down in the back!? That should be the scary part of this post!)