Horror from a Hospital Bed
It may have become apparent to regular readers of my column that I have been absent for some time. In fact, since November 23rd of 2021, I have been hospitalized. I’ll spare my readers the gory details of my infirmity, and simply say that, as I quickly approach the two-month anniversary of my hospitalization, I’m desperately ready to get out of here and go home. I miss my scale models, and the relaxation I find in quiet hours at my workbench. I miss the comfort of familiar surroundings, of being bounded in by the structures and objects which help define my world. I miss my dog and cats; yes, Lebowski (the dog) can be as dumb as a box of rocks, but he’s also as lovable as can be, and each of our four cats has a personality that is unique and endearing. I miss my sister Cathy, with whom I live, and who readers will remember as my photographer and constant companion at conventions; and my nephews, who share my love of the Cinema Fantastica. One thing I haven’t missed, despite my hospitalization, has been my Horror movies.
Early in my hospitalization my sister brought me my laptop, a plug-&-play DVD drive, and a stack of DVDs from my shelves. Now, despite her attendance at multiple Horror conventions, Cathy has virtually no knowledge of Horror films; I once listened in abject mortification as she told John Russo that she had never seen Night of the Living Dead. So when she brought me movies to watch, I knew that it would be an eclectic, as well as interesting, mix.
There are old favorites included, movies I’ve loved from my childhood. The Wolf-Man Legacy Collection, The Monolith Monsters, Tarantula, even the aforementioned Night of the Living Dead are in the steady stream of movies Cathy brought, and is still bringing to my hospital room. There are also movies that I hadn’t seen in some time, movies that, while entertaining, just never made it into the regular rotation of my Monster viewing—movies such as The Tingler, The Others, Legend of Hell House, Cat People (the original Jacques Tourneur version), and Mimic. And there are movies that I’ve never really cared for, but out of necessity watched again, sometimes for the first time in decades—in the process gaining a newfound appreciation for some of them. There are examples of the European wave of Exploitation Horrors that washed onto these shores in the 1970s, such as El Espanto Surge de la Tumba – aka – Horror Rises from the Tomb, and Amando de Ossorio’s Malenka, released in the US ridiculously retitled as Fangs of the Living Dead. There is Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula, not my favorite version of this story, and Urban Legends: Final Cut, a disappointing sequel to one of my favorite slasher films, Urban Legend. The best part of these semi-weekly movie deliveries is never knowing what is going to show up.
Of course, I have the ability to stream virtually all of these movies on my laptop, but that misses the point of my sister bringing these movies to me. While she might be loathe to admit it, her bringing me a fresh stack of movies every few days is an act of love, of caring and compassion that has helped her brother retain his sanity through the days of fear and pain, and these seemingly endless days of learning to walk again. Those DVDs give me something a movie streamed over the internet never could—a piece of home, a tie to family, and to better times. A physical charm to remind me that there are better things outside of these cream-colored walls, and that I will, hopefully, be back among them soon.
Without these movies, but more importantly without my sister’s constant care and attention, I don’t think I would have made it to this point, the point where I’m once again well enough to type these words, the point where I can expect to go home in the somewhat near future. The movies are just a tangible sign of that care and attention.
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Creature Feature © D. Dyszel 2021
Dick Dyszel - Voice Actor