Collins’ Crypt: Bye Bye Baby Horror Movies
As you probably noticed, there was no Collins' Crypt last week (and if you didn't notice, lie for the sake of my ego), due to an unforeseen turn of events. And by unforeseen I mean "early," as my baby boy - who wasn't due until mid-June - opted to arrive fashionably (but safely! 37 weeks to the day) early, throwing us for a loop and really tossing a wrench into any BBQ plans we may have had for the weekend. But it also meant I never had time to even finish the movie I wanted to write about, let alone write the accompanying column.
However, once we found out we were pregnant I had an idea for a Crypt piece, one I meant to write in advance so I WOULDN'T miss a week when life got far too chaotic for a few days (we're starting to get into a routine of sorts - still hard to get anything done of course, but I know when it's safe to at least make an attempt). And early arrival or not, I couldn't be happier to finally write/post it, because it means my little William Robert is here in the world instead of inside of a belly where tickling his toes would require an extremely complicated and invasive maneuver.
Unfortunately, his arrival means priorities and emotions have changed. I've already become a "softie" about certain things, and I've always been a bit overprotective of my loved ones, which has gone into overdrive (just ask the woman who sped up rather than let me merge into the driving lane on our drive home from the hospital - glad newborns can't understand excessive profanities). So now that he's out, there are a couple of horror movies that I fear I won't be able to watch for a very long time without freaking out and rushing to the crib every millisecond. I know horror movies are supposed to generate fear and anxiety, but ultimately I watch them for fun - and I can't imagine I'd be able to watch the films and/or sequences described below (some of which unnerved me to a degree even before we discussed having kids) without a heavy panic attack.
1. Baby Blues
This is probably the most disturbing movie on the list, taking an Andrea Yates-style tragedy and turning it into a slasher film, where the killer is a mom suffering from EXTREME postpartum psychosis. But instead of six to eight horny teens, our victims are her own children, including an infant. It's a really effective movie if you can stomach it, and kudos to writer/director Lars Jacobson for having the balls to attempt what I believe is the first film to combine filicide and traditional slasher motifs (she even offers a one-liner or two!).
Another one that freaked me out long before I knew what lanugo was, Paul Solet's debut is a shockingly underrated film about a mom (Jordan Ladd) who loses her child in a car accident but opts to carry it to term anyway. Except when the baby comes, it's NOT dead, though it does suffer from what I assume (pray?) is a very rare side effect - it won't drink formula or breastmilk, but only human blood. The movie focuses on how far a mother's love for her child will go, and while that's actually sweet or encouraging in some ways, there's a bit where she's attempting to breastfeed (as my wife is) and things go very, very wrong. I'd probably puke if I saw it now, and that's even if my wife weren't trying to do the same thing in the next room.
3. Inside (French: l'interieur)
I actually MIGHT be able to go through this one on my own - but my wife, who once legit got angry at me for trying to watch it with her around (and she ain't going anywhere for a while - for work purposes, moms get months but dads fight for 2 weeks. Lame.) will probably snap the disc in half if she even sees it on the shelf, so I should probably hide it for the foreseeable future. Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury's debut is a fantastic home invasion film, with some Carpenter-influenced scares (that first one, where we slowly realize the stranger is in the room with mom, is A+ work) and one of horror's most truly unsettling kill scenes, not to mention gallons and gallons of (practical!) blood. To top it off, our heroine is on what is probably the last day of her pregnancy before delivering, making every single lunge or attack from our killer all the more upsetting. And when you realize what the scissors featured on the box art are used for... yikes.
For the past nine months I've spent a lot of time wondering about what my little guy was gonna be like (OK, five months, since we didn't know if he'd be a boy until January), filling my head with dreams of playing video games or building Lego kits with him. But for all I know he might be nothing like me and want to play sports all day (which will suck for me as he'll probably be better at throwing a ball than I am by the time he's five), or only want to hang out with his mom. Doesn't matter, as long as he doesn't turn out like Joshua, one of the creepiest killer kid movies in ages. As with Grace, there's an element of "I know something's wrong but he's MY child" that informs some of the parents' (Sam Rockwell and Vera Farmiga, in her first "mom to a killer" role in a filmography that now includes Orphan and Bates Motel) behavior, and that's something I don't want to worry about until he's old enough for me to know he's not gonna push his grandmother down the stairs. Warning: dog owners should steer clear.
5. Pet Sematary
Overall, this one would be fine - but there's one sequence I'd have to skip over entirely forever more. You know the one - it starts with a runaway kite and ends with a tiny toppled coffin at a funeral (somewhere in there is one of the all-time best NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!s in cinema history). As I've been writing I've had the baby monitor with me, and every little twitch sends me running to make sure he's OK (cut me some slack, he's only ten days old). A couple of days ago the doctor was concerned that he wasn't starting to gain weight back yet (babies lose up to 10% of their birth weight in their first few days, then gain it back gradually) and said he might have to admit him to the hospital if he didn't gain at least an ounce in 24 hours, and just the thought that they'd take him from me even for a couple of hours sent me reeling. And he doesn't even DO anything yet; he just sleeps and shits! Having him taken away for any reason once he's big/aware enough to run after a toy... nope. This movie's getting locked up until 2032.
I'm sure someone's wondering why Rosemary's Baby isn't on the list, but if anything I might watch it more than I usually do. See, my buddy Mike shows 16mm films at the Jumpcut Cafe here in LA every month, and I knew he had a print of RB, so I enlisted him to put together a screening when it came time to tell all of our friends the good news, where we'd announce it, pass out pink/blue cupcakes (it was before we knew the sex) and watch the film. My wife was seeing it for the first time, which we worried might upset her, but I shit you not - she went on to have the easiest pregnancy I've ever heard of: no morning sickness, no bloating, no nosebleeds, no (well, the rest are TMI areas - but here's a list of things she didn't get, if you're so inclined). And when we went to the hospital it was just as a precaution (!), because she was having "discomfort" and lower back pain - she planned to go into work once they gave her the okay, hilariously enough. Instead, when they checked her out they found she was pretty much ready to start pushing - the nurse was completely baffled and I had to quickly make some surprising phone calls. And we (well, mostly I) had just watched the awful Rosemary remake to boot, so maybe the movie holds some strange powers that translate to healthy, easy pregnancies. OR maybe my son is actually the spawn of Satan, I dunno. Either way, I ain't got no beef with Adrian Woodhouse, and will hopefully continue to enjoy the story of his conception.
Likewise, Los Angeles has shockingly few cornfields, so I should be okay with the Children of the Corn movies, and by that I mean I have little desire to watch them anyway, so Will hasn't affected me much one way or another when it comes to those. And that's the thing; most killer kid movies are so schlocky or dumb that I can't imagine I'd feel much differently watching them now - the similar titles above are actually effective movies in general (in my opinion), which is why they might cause some issues for me now.
What I'm trying to say is, I will still watch and defend Cathy's Curse as often as I can.
Other parent readers: chime in with your own! I know this will read as a "challenge" of sorts to some readers (with children or not), so why not throw in more options? Plus, there might be a few I missed or forgot about - think of it as an anti-suggestion thread for me!