This is the next entry in a Theatre… a Movie… and a Time, a series that was begun here. Continuing with memories of films tailor-made for Halloween viewing, or just plain nightmare, I’ll look on an inaugural film work by an author that once captured my interest. Morgan looked at it recently. Another noted horror novelist, in fact, had clued me in before ever seeing the results of his directorial debut.
“I have seen the future of horror, his name is Clive Barker.” ~ Stephen King, quoted for the cover of Books of Blood
Images c/o Cinema Treasures site
September 19, 1987: Almost five years. Had it been that long since the time I went to a Halloween movie by myself? Surely not. Life, though, offers up peculiar retorts to whatever going on. To how things used to be, too. Like when I could eat any kind of food without my stomach heaving with rancorous indigestion. The body telling me in unsubtle terms, “You’re not a kid anymore.”
Doctors now expounded on what I could or, more importantly, could not eat. Shining a light on the new chink in the armor. Things would be different from this point forward.
Unbeknownst to moi, I had entered the last of my ‘interesting times’ period. She-whose-name-must-not-be-mentioned and I settled into a new phase. Separate. I spent more time with physicians figuring out why my gut was at war with its possessor than the nurse I’d once lived with. Dorothy Parker phrased it right, “What fresh hell is this?” Each and every day.
Might as well go to a horror movie in a vain attempt to distract myself from current disarray. After discovering I was allergic to a certain antiemetic drug. Compazine. All care of my latest ER visit the night before. The telltale sign, as explained to me by medical professionals in due course, being the hyper-anxious, bouncing-off-the-walls state I found myself in that Saturday.
Went like this in my head, somewhat disjointedly, mind you:
Menso: Spanish, meaning stupid or foolish — used often by my grandmother when she spoke in that irritated tone when I got myself into trouble.
CHECK THE PAPER, MENSO!
CAR…I CAN DRIVE MY LONESOME TO THE MATINEE SHOWING…REALLY!
LOOK…HARDLY ANYONE ELSE IN THE CAVERNOUS MOVIE PALACE WITH ME!
IDEAL…WHO YOU TALKING TO?!?
I’M BARELY MANAGING TO STAY IN MY SEAT…AND YOU’RE COMPLAINING!
START THE MOVIE FOR CHRISSAKES!!!
They did. The experience and the film left lasting marks upon me. I do remember the woman wincing two rows in front of me with her boyfriend, though. She finally uttered an audible shriek near the end of the movie. When Frank offered up his last pain-filled words onscreen: