Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween 2015

Scared the crap out of me first time I saw Him in a movie


Halloween was always my favorite holiday.

When I was a little kid (seven and eight years old), I couldn't wait for the brisk days of autumn to roll around.  The smell of dead leaves in the air, the anticipation of going trick or treating, and getting free candy!  Wow.  

I was lucky because I grew up in the Forties (yes, I am THAT old) before people started to put razor blades into apples.  By the way, I hated it when I went trick or treating and someone gave me fruit.  WTF? Candy man, CANDY!  

Anyway, back to my Halloween narrative:  I lived "in town", which meant I lived on a street (Washington Avenue) in a small town (Downingtown, Pennsylvania - population 5,000). I literally lived in a Norman Rockwell town.  

We were poor, poorer than most of my neighbors on Washington Avenue.  They lived in houses, we (me, my Mom and Pop and two younger brothers) lived in a second floor, roach infested, two bedroom, one bath walk up apartment (rent $22 a month).  Pop was a welder and Mom a Stay-at-home Mom.  So when Halloween came around this was time for FREE CANDY.  And at that age I LOVED candy, especially FREE CANDY. 

A pause here, I started this blog intending to tell what or who scared me the most (the Frankenstein Monster of course) and here I'm going on about candy.  Back to what scared me the most.

In out little town we had a movie theater called the  Roosevelt.  It used to be the Downingtown Opera House but when I was growing up I could go to the movies for 15 cents.  "Adults" (over 12 years old) had to pay 45 cents which, of course, I could never afford.

Anyway, I hear about this Universal movie called "Frankenstein."  I love scary movies so I went with my cousins (and I think my brothers, I'm not sure about that).  I was about eleven years old when I saw the movie.  I remember this because I had to walk down Boot Road to the movie theater and we moved to that apartment on Boot Road when I was eleven years old.  

So I see this movie.  The first time the Monster appears on screen he looks RIGHT AT ME.




 He made EYE CONTACT with me!  And that eerie music was playing.  I froze in my seat.  I was literally scared shitless.  Man oh man.  I was FROZEN.

For the rest of the movie, especially that scene where he pops in on the pristine white bride (Mae Clarke), I was petrified.  All I could think was "How am I going to go home?"  I have to walk all the way down Boot Road in the DARK.  There were no houses on Boot Road, only empty corn fields.  HOW WAS I GOING TO GET HOME?

Well folks, I made it home but let me tell you, I have NEVER and I mean NEVER been as frightened since as I was that night when I was convinced that the Frankenstein Monster was waiting for me in one of those fields and was going to chase me home.

In fact, for months thereafter I used to have dreams that he did indeed chase me home.  I always made it home in time and locked the door behind me but I would then see his face looking through the window at me.  Several times he broke into the house. And I don't know where my parents or my brothers were, in these dreams I was always the only one in the house.  

When I heard "Frankenstein's" loud footsteps clomping up the stairs outside (we lived in another second floor apartment this time, sans cockroaches this time) I retreated to the crawl space attic, carefully lowing the small plywood covering over the opening.  Once in the attic I could hear "Frankenstein" growling (and man didn't he have a scary growl?) and slamming things around.  Then everything went quiet.  

Now this is where it really got scary.  I could hear him opening the bedroom door.  The entrance to the attic was in the bedroom closet.  I hear him moving around in our bedroom (which I shared with my two bothers - WHERE WERE THEY)?  

I hear him grunting.  Then he stops.  Silence.  Then I hear the closet door opening.  More silence.  Then I see the plywood covering moving up.  HE'S FOUND ME!!!!!

I wake up.  

Ask me how many times I had this dream when I was young.  Many time folks, many times.

To this day, I am fascinated by the original Frankenstein's monster portrayed by Boris Karloff.   

Oh sure, there have been other Frankenstein monsters but none like his.  

I was scared to death folks.  Even to this day when I see those dead eyes, it sends a chill through my bones.

Happy Halloween everyone!


16 comments:

  1. Ron - that's hilarious "he made eye contact with me". Funny how we perceived things as kids. I was much the same as you. Loved to see a scary movie - and as I came from humble beginnings and my parents didn't put too much value in going to movies - I only saw 2 or 3 a year. But I remember when they started playing them on TV and I was home alone and on came Abbot and Costello meet Frankenstein. Now I was probably scared of all and any monster - but the worst was Wolfman. And when they showed Lon Chaney Jr trasforming into a werewolf I had to shut my eyes I couldn't believe the body altering into hair and claws and such a frightening look. Dark places suddenly became more unnerving - even passing a room in a hallway which wasn't lit could be intimidating. Great blog - thanks and Happy Halloween.

    Pat

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    1. Pat,
      You are a good writer! When are you going to have your own blog?
      Ron

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  2. 50 years later that movie still gives me nightmares after watching it on tv this week. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

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    1. Roger,
      "Frankenstein" (the original movie) still has the same effect on me too. Happy Halloween!
      Ron

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  3. Ron,

    Your recurring dream was interesting to me. I had an almost exact recurring dream as a child, except it wasn't the Frankenstein Monster after me, it was sometimes a bull and sometimes a gorilla, but still the same scenario. I would be outside somewhere and suddenly this beast would come after me. I would run home and it would chase. I would go inside and there would be no one there but me and then I would hear it come in. I would dash about, then upstairs and soon it would follow. Now we didn't have the one of those panels, but steps up to the attic and I would go up to the attic, then hear the thing on the second floor, then down the hall and then up the attic stairs and I'd try to hide, but it kept coming and then I would wake up sweating and terrified. I had this dream many times over several years. Then in 1963 when I was working in Philadelphia I had a spell where I had trouble talking with people and I went to a psychologist because it was beginning to be a problem for me. He asked me about any recurring dreams in my life and when I told him that one he said it was my relationship with my father. The gorilla and/or bull represented my fear of my dad. Don't know, but given the similarity between our fathers and our dreams, maybe there was something to his analysis.

    By the way, Frankenstein is the movie on tonight's Svengoolie at 10:00, if you get the ME Channel.



    Lar

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    1. Lar,
      I don't remember you telling me this. This is interesting that we both had similar dreams of being chased by something horrible and retreating to our house, which no one was there. I'm sure there is a psychic explanation there somewhere.
      Ron

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  4. Our greatest fears, our products of our imagination

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    1. Walt,
      You're so right! Another excellent "horror" movie was 'The Haunting" with Julie Harris. I didn't realize until after the movie was over that I actually didn't see any monsters or ghosts at all. Everything was in our imagination which, as you state is the biggest fear of all.
      Ron

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  5. Ron, I've seen that film many times --and read Mary Shelly's book in my teens-- but don't think I could stand to watch it now. The performances were too good. I am a scaredycat now.

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    1. Geo.,
      The original "Frankenstein" movie was the best. It has yet to be surprised. No slasher movie could ever scare me like that "dead eye" look The Monster gave.
      Ron

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  6. What a wonderful blog post, Ron. Halloween has always been my favorite time of year and remembering those special long-ago Halloweens are the best. And they sure don't make scary movies like they used to.. Hollywood, in the golden years, knew how to create atmosphere and allow us to utilize our imaginations. The original "Frankenstein" was a classic.
    I can imagine you running home past those deserted cornfields.

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    1. Jon,
      I am so appreciative of the Halloweens I used to have in my youth. They were the best ever. And back then I really appreciated getting all that free candy! The original "Frankenstein" movie had a lasting effect on me because even years later, when I had a weekend job at the local farmer's market, I had to take a short cut (I didn't have a car even though I was 16 years old) on a road by a cornfield. I got off my job at 11 at night. Those were some mighty scary walks home, I was sure "Frankenstein" was still lurking somewhere in those cornfields. Ah, memories.
      Ron

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  7. Randy in NEB.2:08 AM

    Hi Ron, Happy Halloween! The first time I saw Frankenstein was on TV when I was 12 years old. It was on the local channel's Creature Feature on Saturday night. My Dad saw it in the theatre like you did and thought us boys should see this classic horror movie. It was pretty scary for a film made in 1931. Have you ever seen Mel Brook's movie Young Frankenstein? It's more played for laughs but the lab scenes the equipment is the original from the 1931 movie. Oh and Ron, BOO! Now on to November. Randy in NEB.

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    1. Good to hear from you Randy! For me, nothing has ever surpassed the original "Frankenstein" movie for pure horror. Yes, I did see "Young Frankenstein" by Mel Brooks, very funny. I often use the line "Walk this way" (used by Eyegor) when showing guests to their hotel rooms. Of course I walk with hunch in my back when walking, they never do!
      Yes, on to November. Only two more months and Pat and I will be in LA again, giving Hollywood yet another opportunity to discover us.
      Ron

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  8. In the celtic calendar halloween marks the new year; may the next 12 months be lovely for you and Bill.

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    1. Thank you Dr. Spo. Same wishes right back at you and Someone.

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