Humor by Jen Lancaster
I don't see many scary movies, largely because I don't like to be scared, particularly when the privilege runs about 11 dollars. And that's before popcorn, parking, Junior Mints and bucket of soda that, ounce for ounce, cost more than a gallon of gas.
I'm more of an "Isn't Sandra Bullock sassy?" filmgoer, with an occasional side of "Will Smith saves the world from aliens (again!) while tossing out one-liners sure to become part of the cultural zeitgeist."
("Welcome to earth!")
But in light of everything terrifying happening in the world that Will Smith has so bravely served - suicide bombers, Solyndra, drum circles, debates, etc. - suddenly the idea of voluntarily viewing an old-school horror movie doesn't seem so daunting.
As I thumb through the pay-per-view guide, I brief my husband Fletch on contenders. "Let's see . . ooh, 'The Omen' from 1976 . . . 'The Exorcist' . . . 'The Shining' . . . and, although technically not appropriate for a Halloween weekend viewing, but still a classic, 'Jaws.' What sounds good to you?"
Fletch shrugs. "Your call. I've never seen any of them."
The man with an encyclopedic memory of every zombie movie ever made hasn't seen any classic horror films? From "
"How'd you miss these? Did you grow up Amish and not tell me?"
"We didn't have HBO as a kid."
"But you've had 35 years to catch up! And you quote 'Jaws' all the time! Do you even know what you're referring to when you say you 'think we need a bigger boat'?"
He shrugs again.
After forbidding him to quote anything he hasn't viewed, I decide his education should begin with "The Omen," which is more psychological thriller than bloodbath. I haven't watched the film since the early '80s but I clearly recall being petrified. When it was released, all my aunts saw it on the first night of our extended family vacation and for the rest of the week they slept with the lights on.
The movie starts and not five minutes into it, Fletch begins to mock it. "How did they not know the kid's evil? I mean, he's 5 years old, yet he's wearing a leisure suit."
"This film grossed sixty million bucks in 1976 dollars and it was nominated for an Oscar," I counter.
"For best film?"
I mumble into my sleeve. "For best score."
After Damien knocks his mother Lee Remick off the balcony, killing his unborn sibling and breaking her arm, Fletch quips, "And that's why we ride our tricycles outdoors."
The longer we watch, the less Fletch can contain himself. After Gregory Peck wrestles evil Rottweilers and drags his demon spawn down the stairs by the arm, Fletch notes, "I'm not sure filmmakers monitored child and animal safety as stringently back then."
Finally, when the photographer is decapitated in a graphic manner - almost unheard of in 1976 cinema - Fletch has to stifle a yawn before asking, "You want to watch 'The Walking Dead' after this?"
But all is not lost because "The Omen's" final image is absolutely chilling. When we see that Damien has survived to fulfill his biblical prophecy of doom, I can practically hear the collective gasp of the audience from 1976.
As the credits roll, I turn to Fletch for his final assessment.
"What'd you think?"
He looks thoughtful for a moment. "I think that our next dog should be a Rottweiler."
The rest of our weekend is booked with other classic film viewing and now what scares me is that the movies will likely inspire him to cook split pea soup and perhaps write a book.
On the plus side, maybe we'll get a bigger boat.
Jen Lancaster is author of Such a Pretty Fat, Pretty in Plaid, Bitter is the New Black and My Fair Lazy: One Reality Television Addict's Attempt to Discover If Not Being A Dumb Ass Is t he New Black; Or, A Culture-Up Manifesto.
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