The seventies, that fabulous decade of shag carpet, disco and casual sex; generally regarded as the golden age of American horror films. There are various theories as to why this is, from the socio-political discussions of Vietnam and generalized disillusionment and distrust of authority, to the simple fact that the ratings system had changed and you could actually be explicit with your horror effects, making horror films rather novel adult entertainment.
Being that up until the age of 15 I had to sleep with a night-light to keep the boogieman away, I had missed out on a number of the classics. Since discovering that I actually really like horror movies, I’ve been slowly trying to catch up. I had managed to see The Exorcist when it was re-released recently, but the laughing teeny-boppers sort of ruined the mood. A Nightmare on Elm Street looked too goofy on DVD. I fell asleep during “The Changeling.” Surprisingly, the original Friday the 13th actually really spooked me and I have to admit that I had to turn on the lights half way through the movie since I was home all alone. But, my favorite slasher movie would have to be the Bob Clark directed Black Christmas, which was shown at one of our first Den of Sin nights.
Still, there were two “classy” horror movies from the ‘70’s I’d always wanted to watch: “The Omen” and “The Amityville Horror.” When it was discovered that no one (!) else in the regular Den of Sin crowd had seen them either, we once again had instant programming.
It was another big crowd with 11 people jamming into our little apartment, including our friend Rachael who had recently returned from a trip to the UK and who was busy handing out various trinkets emblazoned with Union Jacks. Sadly, she left before the movies started since she “didn’t want to have nightmares.” Newbie Will wanted to know when we would stop calling him “Newbie.” We told him that he had to bring a friend next time and he commented that it sounded an awful lot like a pyramid scheme. Speaking of which, my husband entertained the waiting crowd by reading from the packet containing “Miracle Spring Water” he had received in the mail from the Reverend Peter Popoff after ordering it off the television while drunk at a bachelor party (long story).
Since it was still pretty light out, we decided to start with “The Amityville Horror.” I was afraid it was more likely to be kind of goofy, and boy was I right. We knew we were in trouble as soon as we saw the American International logo. The presence of James Brolin didn’t help either, but we were impressed with his beard and his hair. Owen even vowed never to shave again. Margot Kidder on the other hand, received multiple cheers and even caused Brendan to recall his crush on Lois Lane.
Since most of you already know the basic plot, or at least have seen the remake with the ab-tastic Ryan Reynolds, I won’t bother to recount it here. Let’s just say that when they do get to the thing in the basement, we were seriously disappointed. The glowing red light led my husband to believe that it was a Mario Bava movie in there, and he really would have rather watched that.
As usual with a big crowd, people were super chatty. The majority of comments were either very dirty, or directed at one Mr. Barbara Streisand. Owen called him a “f*****g p***y.” Others commented that he tended to look a little shifty-eyed, not unlike a certain president of a country to the south of us. Karl was traumatized by Brolin’s tightie-whities. My husband was obsessing over the fact that Margot in one scene appeared to smell Brolin’s musk. This was followed by a comment that Brolin’s a*s “looked like a woman’s in those jeans.” Corinne added that Brolin’s shoulders were pretty feminine looking as well, and that he significantly lacked back hair, which then brought Brolin’s ability to properly build up a manly musk into question.
Brendan pointed out that the priest who comes to bless the house looked kind of like Bill Murray, whereas I thought he was more of a Brian Doyle Murray type. Graeme noted that it wasn’t exactly the fastest paced movie in the world. Will was chanting for Margot to show us some nip. When we called him a sick bastard, he merely noted that now he fit in and I agreed to stop calling him “Newbie.” Then he wanted to know why he had to miss the ‘70’s, to which I responded, “there is a God.” However, Graeme was kind enough to point out that punk happened in the ‘70’s, so I do have to soften my position on that one a bit.
Then Margot showed up in what is best described as a slutty grown up school girl outfit (complete with pigtails) and all hell broke loose. Brendan wanted to know “who the f**k was playing the saw!” Dirty innuendo flew like so much stale popcorn. Graeme wailed at the fact that it took an hour and forty-five minutes of the running time for Brolin to decide to start doing research on the house. My husband cheered when the title card “The Last Night” finally appeared, but most others had stopped caring a long time ago.
By the time it was all over, the Peanut Gallery was deeply unimpressed. In an attempt to wash away the memory of such a silly, un-suspenseful movie, my husband tried to forgo the traditional intermission, but I still needed a break to process what we’d just witnessed.
The evening continues in part two of ENTER THE DEN OF SIN: DEVIL’S DUE>>>