Around the age of 4, I was spending time at my Mamaw and Papaw's house which certainly wasn't anything out of the ordinary. Some of my happiest childhood memories took place inside their home and, usually, on the carpet in front of their RCA TV set or behind their recliners where they kept a handy dandy VHS rewinder so that they could always rewind the tapes before returning them to the video rental store. Yes, fine upstanding citizens, my grandparents. Beverly Sutphin approved! On this day, we were only stopping by for a few minutes and I headed into their wood-paneled TV room to see what they were watching. On screen, I saw a bespeckled man grabbing a late-night snack in a kitchen when his steak started moving across the counter with an icky squishing sound. Before long, the steak had erupted with all kinds of disgusting looking worms and guts and, to make matters worse, the chicken leg he'd dropped after seeing the shock of this spooky steak had maggots crawling all over it.
Thankfully, someone came in and changed the channel before I could see any more, but the damage was done and I was haunted. I figured I'd never be brave enough to watch this entire movie. Who could be? I couldn't even imagine how scary the rest of the movie had to be. It was several years before I got the courage to rent POLTERGEIST and watch it in its entirety and the rest of this scene, where this man rushes into the bathroom and starts pulling off chunks of his face, caused me to run out of the room with a shriek and come get my parents to take the tape out of the VCR for me, because I didn't even want to go back in that room. I was convinced the titular poltergeist had gotten out through the TV during that scene and was about to run amok in our home. Boy, was I glad I didn't see that full scene during my first encounter with the movie! As the years have gone on, I've certainly seen far more graphic films than POLTERGEIST, but I can't say that I don't always gulp and take a deep breath when I'm rewatching it and this scene's about to come on. Some of those early scares have a surprisingly long shelf life.
UNK SEZ: Thanks for the awesome and relatable traumafession, Chris! POLTERGEIST sure offered a plethora of indelible traumas! Folks, make sure you track down our pal Chris Moore’s latest film, the slash-tastic WHEN THE TRASH MAN KNOCKS! It’s currently stalking Amazon Prime and you can check out the menacing trailer HERE!