Y’all Be Safe!

In Texas, when friends depart from each other, it’s common to remind each other to be safe, careful, take care and such, even when the parties are simply going home. The truth is that even in our homes, dangers lurk around every corner.

Besides the accidental falls (like when your demonic toddler runs you down with his tricycle, tossing you off a balcony) or incidents in the kitchen (such as all the knives in the knife block flying across the room at you) or bathroom (a psychotic serial killer dressed in his mother’s clothes who stabs you with a nine-inch blade while you’re in the shower) there are the more subtle dangers.


“In fact, more than half of all injury-related deaths and 75 percent of all disabling injuries are occurring in our homes and communities,” as per a 2007 Article published by the National Safety Council.

How many times have you simply been relaxing, enjoying your favorite late-night TV show, when suddenly the lost souls from a forgotten graveyard suck your youngest child through the door to the netherworld in the back of her closet? If I had a nickel…

I mean, you might expect these types of things if you bought a fixer-upper in Amityville, but in Hometown, USA, it’s just a bit much.

It seems that the most frightening horror films, like The Omen, Carrie, Psycho, Poltergeist, and The Amityville Horror, are the ones that happen in familiar settings. Our homes are the one place where we should feel safe, and when terrible things happen—even the outlandishly unbelievable “movie-only” things—we begin to second-guess our surroundings. Maybe not to the extremes of moving away, but perhaps to the extent of closing all the closet doors before bedtime, or relocating the creepy painting of Aunt Marge to the garage. Better yet, re-gift it to Cousin Fred next Christmas.

Even the classic comedies of home renovation, like The Money Pit or Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, have plenty of nightmarish situations throughout. The simple idea that the very place where we live and love might want to turn on us and cause us harm, shows how much we love our homes. We give them human attributes and they become part of our families.

How wonderful and terrifying. Y’all be safe!

That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema. Thanks for reading.

To view or purchase any of the titles mentioned, just click on the picture and you’ll be linked directly to an amazon.com page.

Fear… The Good Kind

I avoid things that scare me. I don’t go into small spaces for extended periods of time. I don’t go places where I know there will be clowns or spiders. I watch carefully when I walk in the grass to keep clear of snakes. I shake my shoes out before putting them on, because I don’t like to share with spiders or scorpions. If you walk into a room and see me standing on a chair, you can bet I saw a mouse. I’m old-fashioned that way.

So why is it that every year around this time I look for ways to scare myself? I have a theory that a little measure of fear is good for people—especially if it’s absolutely safe.

Now, I’m not brave by any stretch of the imagination. My sons are working a haunted house this month, and I took a quick walk through. All the lights were on, and I got to see all the technical, behind-the-scenes works. Was I scared? YEP! Am I going through it at night, with all the black lights and bloodied characters? NOPE!

I like my frights on the silver screen. I grew up watching Jaws, The Amityville Horror, Halloween, Carrie, and The Omen. I watched the black and white classics like The Wolfman, The Mummy, and Frankenstein. Most of these films have been remade, speaking to their timeless appeal.

One of the first movies ever made was a silent Frankenstein. The motion picture industry was new, but the story of a man’s creation becoming the incarnation of his darkest fear is part of human nature. Watch Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It’s still as frightening as any slasher film out there.

We all enjoy—to one extent or another—the thrill of fear, when we know the consequences of the experience are minimal. Maybe a nightmare follows, but usually an elevated heart rate is the only result of a fright.

This is the time of year when a scary movie is only a click of the remote control away. Enjoy the good ones. Just to be safe, invite your friends to share some popcorn and screams at your side.

That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema. Thanks for reading.