Thursday, April 05, 2007

Sometimes you have an experience in your life that sticks with you and ruins something for you. A recent visit to Allison's blog had me thinking of "classic" movies that I'd select for a movie day. Now, "The Wizard of Oz" is my all time favorite. I remember the first time I watched it like it was cousin, brother and I all huddled together on the living room floor watching with wide eyes. I loved it, despite the fact that it scared the hell out of me (especially the wicked witch and her evil laugh). To this day, that movie reminds me of being a child and takes me back to a time of carefree innocence.

Another film I'd included, but quickly deleted (as though I could erase it from my mind) was "The Birds". I'm traumatized by that movie and with very good reason.

One night as a teenager, a friend and I were babysitting when we decided to watch it. I'd already seen and been terrified by it - Donna, on the other hand, hadn't. We popped some popcorn and settled in to watch the movie after the kids were in bed. We were about midway through when Donna went up the the kitchen to get us a drink. All of a sudden she came flying back into the room in a flurry, visibly upset. Now understand here, the movie had started to kick into freaky mode and the entire house was dark and quiet. So I just thought she was having a moment. But she frantically whispered, "there's someone at the front door". Normally this wouldn't have been a big problem. But this particular house had just had the front door painted earlier in the day and the wet paint meant we were to keep it slightly ajar. I whispered to Donna, "are you sure? What are they doing?" and she just started to cry, "I don't know". At that point we dialed police and told them about our situation. We were all of 13 so we didn't really know what to do.

Terrified, we decided we had to creep up to the front door together and slam it shut and lock it. Screw the wet paint. We held each other's hand and slowly slinked to the door. We both saw the shadow of a person through the small, mottled yellow window beside the door. It wasn't glass, it was that hard plastic that you can't really see through - everything was distorted and it was dark. But it definitely was the shadow of a person. WTF??

At that point Donna surged forward and booted the door closed and I fumbled to quickly throw the lock on. Whew, we'd done it! We ran back into the family room, where birds were pecking people apart on the TV screen! We sat, huddled together, and cried. It seemed like forever but eventually we heard knocking on the front door...the police must've arrived. We scurried back to the door and said "who is it?" to confirm that it was, in fact, the police. No response? Just more knocking. Again we insisted "WHO IS IT?" and all of a sudden the door handle was being jostled like someone was trying to open it. We pushed our face up to the useless plastic window, but could only make out the shadow of a figure again. Now we were really petrified...obviously it was still the same weirdo out there and what the hell did he want?

Once again, we darted to the family room, this time to have a complete meltdown of "what do we do now?". The Birds was still playing and that only added to the atmosphere of terror. It was then that we saw headlights through the window and went to the living room where we could see out to the street. It was a police car and they had a spotlight on the house! Within a few minutes they were knocking on the door and we collapsed in relief as we opened it for them.

They reported that, as they'd pulled up, a guy bolted from the front door and they were going to drive around the neighbourhood to look for him. And I'll be damned if they didn't return to say they'd found him prowling around other houses in the neighbourhood. They'd spotted him by the marking on his jacket that they'd noticed as he'd fled. They also suggested we keep the door bolted, despite the owners request to keep it open.

So, to this day, "The Birds" invokes feelings of sheer terror in me that go well beyond the movie itself. It immediately connects me to that night and the feelings associated with it. And large gatherings of birds on telephone wires don't leave me feeling too warm and fuzzy either.

Do you have any particular movie that you associate with an incident in your life?


Blogger LaLa said...

Omg, I would have been so scared too! Even just reading that, I was on the edge of my seat.

5:49 AM  
Blogger busterp said...

Being raised on a dairy farm didn't leave time for many family outings (milking cows instead).

When we went out, it was a memorable experience. The occasional carnival or drive in movie.

I remember packing up in the old station wagon (no seat belts, rear windows that went ALL the way down) for a trip to the movies.

Big D, Mumsy, my sister and a couple brothers and maybe another sister? Anyway, the car was full. The movie of choice? Psycho.

I think my parents thought we would all fall asleep. Ha. The shower scene was bad enough but I have memories of my younger, quite wide eyed sister turning around in the front seat to look back at me and shriek at the "mother" reveal at the end.

I can see that in my mind's eye just like it happened yesterday.

One good thing came out of it; I love Hitchcock and suspense movies.

Thanks for the break. I wrote more here than I've posted in a week. Busy yet.

7:04 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

lala...we were terrified. And, to this day, we don't know what the guy was doing out there...we think maybe he was listening at first, to see if he could hear anyone inside before he entered.

busterp...Psycho's another one - although, I confess, I've never made it to the end of that one! Your station wago story brought back memories...we had one too! That's funny that your parents thought you'd fall asleep...probably not for a long time after!

(How lucky to have been raised on a farm...jealous!)

9:12 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

(*I don't think you had a "wago", did you? I hate typos)

9:14 AM  
Blogger Barbara Bruederlin said...

Deb, that story gave me the chills, it did!

I don't have anything nearly as dramatic, but I do recall one particularly sweltering humid summer in London, ON, when Eva was a toddler, and it was too horrid to venture outdoors.

We had only one car, which Jerry took to work, so unless we wanted to take the bus somewhere, we were stuck inside the house, which we had closed up tight, with these horrible noisy old window air conditioners rattling away nonstop.
Eva was hooked on Beauty and the Beast (Disney) at the time and we watched it over and over and I thought I was going to die of claustrophobia and loneliness for adult companionship. The thought of that movie still makes me feel ill.

9:34 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

Barb...Oh, that's painful. I hate those sweltering nights where you can't find relief. Factor in Disney...unbearable. Linds was into all the Disney movies, so I can relate. I knew every single word to every single damn song and, after awhile, they actually make you think you're going crazy, don't they?

10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can only imagine how terrifying that was. I rememebr how scared I was when I saw the Birds for the first time. It was one of those times when my parents went out and my older brother and I babysat our little sisters....yes we sent them to ebd early...haa haa...we watched The birds on TV and it was scary. I had a chance to see it on TV a couple years ago...seemed kinda lame now

2:13 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

The Birds and babysitting seemed to go together. Talk about freaking yourself out.

2:17 PM  
Blogger whitenoise said...

Great story. ;-)

I can't watch horror movies. I get nightmares. Overactive imagination or something, I guess....

7:18 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

As a horror movie junkie in my youth, I avoid them now. Something about being home alone all night every night.

1:41 PM  

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