One night, in the early ’80s, I woke up in the middle of the night. I was 12 or 13 years old and I couldn’t go back to sleep.
I didn’t lie in the dark for very long before turning on the TV. I had an old 13 inch color TV in my bedroom, and it took a couple of seconds to warm up before the picture came into view. The picture faded in from black, and suddenly, I saw these people, deformed and missing limbs, crawling closer to my TV screen. I immediately turned the TV back off and left it off. I lied back down, freaked out by what I just saw.
As time passed, I couldn’t get the image out of my head. I looked at a TV schedule for the title of what I saw, but we were on to the next week, and in the pre-internet days, that meant I was out of luck.
Cut to 12 years later, I was working at a video store, straightening up the horror section, when the thought of that night popped into my head. The memory came to me like an old friend, and as I stared at the colorful VHS boxes that surrounded me, I knew the answer to my mystery was within reach.
I started taking home 5 or 6 horror movies a night, every night. I would say I watched and fast forwarded through 50 or so movies spread over a couple of weeks before finally finding it. That sounds like a lot, but the victorious feeling of solving my 12 year old mystery made it worth every second.
The movie was “The Sentinel” from 1977, as I’m sure many of you already guessed, and towards the end of the movie, those freaky, limbless people came crawling out of the darkness and toward the leading lady, as well as myself.
I couldn’t believe that I found it, and there was a bit of post mystery-solved depression, I must admit. But now, video stores are gone and Kindertrauma is here, and none of my horror movie mysteries will take 12 years to solve again.