Wednesday, October 20, 2010


When I was a little girl, my grandfather moved into the apartment upstairs. I couldn’t have been happier. He spoiled me rotten: buying me M and Ms and chocolate-marshmallow ice cream, playing hide-and-go-seek and pretending he didn’t know where I was even though all the dishes from the cupboard were neatly stacked on the floor, letting me crawl up on the back of his big comfy chair and brush his hair (what little there was) while we watched television together.

Grandpa also worked nights which meant that my Mom and I cleaned his apartment on Saturday evenings. I loved it. Oh, not so much the dusting and vacuuming but when we finished, we watched Chiller Theater together. That hand coming out of the ground. Shiver. It looks campy now, but I remember it being spooky and scary. I had to cover my eyes a lot of the time.

I am still a fan of scary movies. Not gory, slasher movies, but truly mess-with-your-mind-scary movies. Psycho really frightens me even though I what’s going to happen when she gets in that shower. I like Pet Cemetery but I am especially careful around my cat after watching it…and I make sure she is asleep when I do watch it, just in case she is as smart as I think she is. I adore The Shining, but always feel a wee bit unsettled after seeing it as I am married to a writer. Night of the Hunter? That movie causes me to lose sleep each and every time I watch it. And the last time I watched it was late at night and I was all alone. Almost as dumb as Janet Leigh…almost.

The last ten episodes of Dark Shadows has a lot of spooky moments. Conniving Angelique decides that she will nurse Barnabas’ ego now that Josette has married Jeremiah. But Barnabas has way too much testosterone to settle for that, so he challenges Jeremiah to a duel. Barnabas wins and Jeremiah is mortally wounded. The family thinks all the strange happenings are being caused by a witch and are determined to find out who it is. They send for a preacher…from Salem. Dum, dum, dum.

The preacher ties Victoria to a tree as a test. If the tree dies overnight, it proves she is a witch. Barnabas finds Victoria and rescues her. Angelique follows them and causes the tree to die. Now the family firmly believes Victoria is the cause of everything: Josette marrying Jeremiah, the strange markings of the devil on Josette and Jeremiah, Joshua being turned into a cat (thankfully, he has no recollection of that event), Barnabas’ strange illness…and they vow to destroy her.

Still not satisfied, Angelique continues her tirade. She secretly makes Sarah violently ill and then promises to heal her with a special tea if Barnabas will marry her afterwards. Barnabas promises. Sarah is healed. Barnabas reneges because he still loves Josette. Oh, when will he learn!

So, Angelique beckons Josette in a dream to find her true love, Jeremiah. She convinces her that Jeremiah isn’t really dead. And when Josette gets to the cemetery and whispers Jeremiah’s name, his hand reaches up through the ground!

Holy smokes! Just like Chiller Theatre!

And, yes, I did have to cover my eyes!

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