John Carpenter and Zuni Spirits
by Michele Christopher
It's just me and you today, guys. Turtle has abandoned me tonight for the world of the working. Nice that he landed a sweet job, sucks that it has to be opposite hours from mine.
So I'm stuck writing a Late Night Typing all by myself, which I hate doing and which makes me grumpy.
But I had a bright idea. Well, actually I had NO ideas. I can't seem to come up with a good LNT topic without bouncing things off of Turtle. Which led me to my bright idea. This week's TAFC poll is about horror movies. So, I should tie the LNT in to that, right? Sweet. Because we've written about horror movies a couple of times already.
Yes, you are getting a repeat. But give me a break, ok? I start a new job (well, new position in old job) tomorrow and I'm anxious as hell. As in, I might puke up my dinner. I'm not going to give you much in the way of entertainment even if I did try to go solo tonight.
So here, from last July, some stuff about horror movies. And Goldie Hawn naked.
Scariest Movie As A Kid.
Turtle is out in the cold:
John Carpenter's "The Thing"
See, when you start to get some recognition, you can start writing titles that have your name in it. It wasn't the cheesy low budget move from the 50's anymore. It was now the cheesy low budget John Carpenter movie from the 80's. Hey. Don't confuse one with the other, ok? This one had Kurt Russell in it. And maybe Scatman Crothers. Maybe Goldie Hawn. And maybe Donkey Kong for all the fuck I cared. This movie scared the living crap out of me. It dragged me down thinking of some poor guys trapped in an ice town just getting knocked off one by one. And also Goldie naked in the bathtub in "Wildcats". And Ernest Borgnine in "Escape from New York." Snake Plisskin. Issac Hayes. Naked Goldie. Cause we thought Snake was dead.
I had some fucked up dreams.
Hm. The Thing.
I think the best part of this movie was just the total loss of hope. That they had to die to kill it. To save all human life. Kinda like "The Day After" except without Russians. Well, maybe not. That movie was kind of lame.
This was something that I had never seen before. I was a kid. Movies like that are everywhere now. But, back then, it was different. It was like "we have to kill ourselves to end this thing." See. That was cool. Take one for the team. Hell, they were researching snow in the middle of nowhere. It's not like you're getting laid. Or maybe they were. Homosexual acts are not uncommon in all male facilties. But that's just what I heard. I think I would put them on the food chain as one above McDonald's employees, two below Office Depot employees. Not a lot going for them, if you get what I mean. So when it came down to it, they mostly just gave up. I could go into all the details of the banana faced dog or the decaptitated head that sprouted legs or the chest that was punched through and all those who held the thing down had to be burned.
But, I think I'll leave you with the last words of the movie. Two people in the freezing snow. Shelter burning. Confused. Looking at one other. Staring hard. Not trusting each other. Nothing was nothing anymore.
"The fire's got the temperature way up all over camp... won't last long though".
"Neither will we."
"Maybe we should try and fix the radio... try and get some help."
"Maybe we shouldn't.
"Then we'll never make it."
"Maybe we shouldn't make it."
"If you're worried about anything, let's take that blood test of yours."
"If we've got any surprises for each other -- we shouldn't be in any condition to do anything about it."
"You play chess?"
"I guess I'll be learning."
Did they live or die? Was the thing dead? Was one of them the thing? Did they learn to play chess?
One of the greatest endings to a horror movie ever. - T
Michele catches the spirit:
Trilogy of Terror
I grew up on horror. I was in maybe first grade when my Mom got me hooked on Dark Shadows and Vincent Price movies. Other kids gathered around the tv with their family on Sunday evenings to watch Wonderful World of Disney. We stayed up late together on Friday nights to watch Chiller Theater. I think watching so much horror from such an early age sort of desensitized me. As I got older I realized that, while I enjoyed scary movies as much as always, I just didn’t get that frightened. I didn’t jump when everyone else did or scream when everyone else did. What I mean is, the movies just didn’t scare me while I was in the theater. It wasn’t until I got home and was by myself in the dark that I turned into a pussy. But I bet a lot of you are the same way. I’m just admitting it.
So, I’ve seen a lot of horror movies in my time. Hundreds. Movies you never heard of. Big budget crapfests. Indie crapfests. Foreign crapfests. Yea, most horror movies end up being crapfests. Just the way it is. The really great ones are far and few between. And lately, even the mediocre ones aren’t that many. The art of making a good horror movie seems to be lost. That's another rant for another day. But - gore, blood, murder, ghosts, vampires, mindfucks, slashers, freaks, voodoo....you name it, I’ve seen it. And out of all of those movies, all of the genres of horror, all of the screams within, the one movie that left such an impression on me that I still freak out when I look at a picture from it was a made for tv movie.
Trilogy of Terror. Written by Richard Matheson. 1975. Three different horror stories, all starring Karen Black. Fuck if I can remember what the other two were about. I just remember the one. The tribal doll. That creepy, evil little doll with the knife and the leer.
For those that never saw this, short premise: Black buys a Zuni fetish doll for her boyfriend. Not for nothing, but if a date ever brought me something that looked like this, I’d think twice about where things were headed. But anyhow, she brings it home and gets ready for her date. Has a fight with her overbearing mother on the phone. Yadda yadda, the doll’s necklace falls off and it’s revealed that’s a big fucking no no. No necklace = live doll.
Let me tell you. What happens in the next ten minutes or so after Black realizes the doll is alive still gives me the chills, just thinking about. When she hears the pitter patter of little feet in the kitchen, you know. You want to say to her, get the hell out of the apartment, woman, that doll is gonna spear you! But the doll says, fuck this spear, I need me a knife. He finds a butcher knife. As he torments Black, he repeatedly stabs the knife into the floor. With that look on his face. Mind you, this thing is only like a foot tall, if that. And he moves real quick. And he has this ugly, snarling face of pure evil.
The light goes out in the living room. You hear a sound. He’s slashing at her. In the dark! He backs her into a closet and she traps him in a suitcase. And then you see the knife cutting a circle in the suitcase and the doll is out and back in action. Finally, Black traps the bastard in the oven, which has been on this whole time. He goes up in flames and stupid, stupid Karen Black, you dumb son of a bitch, she opens the freaking oven. Why? Did she want to stick a toothpick in him to see if he was done yet? Well no amount of my screaming at the tv for her not to do that would help. She opened the gates of hell when she opened the oven and the Zuni Spirit of Random Murder flew out of the oven and into Karen Black’s soul. I thought that was the end. That would have been cool. I could have gone to bed satisfied with that and not had too many bad dream moments because of it.
But no. You hear a phone call. She’s calling her mom. Yea mom, come on over. Sorry I think you’re a fucking controlling whack job, mom. Come on over and we’ll do the hug thing, ok? Ok.
And then the camera moves to her. She’s crouched on the living room floor. She’s got....teeth. Fangs. She’s got a knife. And she’s repeatedly stabbing it into the floor.
Hey, you can buy one of these dolls. I'll be damned if I'm gonna put one of those hideous things in my house. Hell, I still can't say Candyman five times into a mirror.
Michele and Turtle will get their act/times together this week and write something new. Or just spend our few minutes together having wild monkey sex and give you more repeats. We'll see.