Saturday, May 07, 2011

Nostalgic for the Old Tomb

So I've been thinking a lot about decor lately. As I said in a previous post, I've spent the last several months planning a horror-themed man cave. But there are other things that have been tangentially related to that that have been weighing pretty heavily on me.

The biggest culprit here is my daughter, WolfGirl.

She's fully entered the horrifying stage in her development all young lycanthropes enter around the time they turn ten - namely adolescence and, more specifically, the pre-teens.

When she's not slamming the door and crying and yelling that "we just don't understand her!!!", she's taken to decorating her own room. Of course she initially followed the time honored pre-teen rite of passage that meant cutting up a Tigerbeat magazine (do they even have that magazine anymore?!) and taping pictures of Taylor Swift and Avril Lavigne and the cast of Glee to her walls.

My initial response to this was that it is what kids do. I was of course confused, because she alternates between haranguing me to paint and redecorate her room, and leave her pictures alone because "You just don't understand me!" (This - again - is punctuated with a slammed door).

This was followed a few months later by the hanging of several Harry Potter posters and an inordinate amount of pictures of Daniel Radcliffe. This was preceded with much moping about the house by WolfGirl and wistful sighs of "I wish I was Ginny Weasely. She gets to snog Daniel Radcliffe. Sigh."

I was much cooler with this - as opposed to the endless pictures of the vacuous idiots they parade around as pop stars that previously adorned her wall. I mean Harry Potter's actually pretty fucking awesome and, if I was a teenager, I'd probably want to snog Daniel Radcliffe as well. He does have that sexy English accent, after all. My only misgiving here was a thought that I might need to pay better attention to the websites and TV shows she was watching because, on this side of the pond, 'snog' is not usually found in the vernacular of the peasantry.

Questioning on this subject - however - allayed my fears when it was found she'd been watching episodes of Dr. Who on BBC with her brother, Zombie Boy. Thank goodness for that!

However, she exacerbated the situation when I came home from work one day to find, plastered to her closed door, one of the most horrifying things I've ever seen. It was a life-size poster of the demon spawn that is Justin Bieber.

I actually screamed in terror when I saw it. Fortunately, WolfGirl's radio was blaring some song about girls getting slutted up, getting drunk, and hitting on DJ's -- so she didn't hear my wails of anguish and soul withering fear.

My response to this was - I think - wholly justified. I mean, every time I go up the stairs to take a shit, I'm faced with the airbrushed, oddly hermaphroditic face of Justin Bieber. Every time I head upstairs to spend some quality time with Mrs. Zombie, I've got to endure the Bieber's creepy eyes watching me with their creepy, ardor-cooling, disturbingly vacant look. I have nightmares about the damned poster. It's like he sees all of the evil in my soul and is somehow judging me in his naive, Christian, Canadian way.

So - I told Mrs. Zombie I'd had it. She told me I was overreacting.

She did the same thing when she was a girl, she explained. When she was WolfGirl's age, her room was covered in pictures of Boy George, Prince, and Michael Jackson.

"But that was before Michael Jackson looked like a pallid, corpse-like ghoul!" I protested, "That was before he looked like a creepy child molester!It's bad enough that I've got to endure the soulless fluff they call pop music - nonstop - EVERY TIME we get in the car or walk by WolfGirl's room -- now I've got to have it look at me when I'm on my way to take a shower?!?"

"Doctor Z.!" She admonished, "I'm sure you had pictures and stuff in your rooms just like this. We all did!"

And that was where I realized that - in fact - I wasn't like other people.

I don't mean it was like a thunderbolt from the sky that said, "Crap! You're really fucking weird!"

Hell, I already knew that. It just sort of reinforced things, you know?

I told Mrs. Zombie I had not, in any way, had a normal room growing up. As proof, I mentioned a recent discovery in the basement from a few weeks earlier. She had found a box of some of my stuff and asked what was in a mail tube.

With a 'squee' of delight (especially considering I was still in full on Horror Mancave planning mode) - I gasped and explained that it was MY MOVIE POSTERS.

The kids and Mrs. Zombie looked on in head-shaking amusement as I opened the tube and pulled out some of the things that decorated my room when I was growing up. It was a collection of vintage 80's horror movie posters.

I lovingly unrolled my original Lost Boys poster, my Halloween 2 movie poster, my Serpent and the Rainbow movie poster (signed by Wade Davis!), and my original Return of the Living Dead poster. I also had a Gremlins poster, a Friday the 13th poster, Wes Craven's Nightmare on Elm Street, and the video store ad poster of the entire Charles Band Full Moon Puppetmaster video series.

You see - this is how I decorated growing up.

From as young as I can remember, my room wasn't adorned with teen idols or pop stars -- it was decorated with skulls, Halloween masks, Universal and Hammer monster posters, and pictures of Elvira. (I in fact, had pictures of Elvira in my locker at high school school for all 4 years - despite the repugnance said pictures caused in my girlfriends! Thou shalt not forsake Cassandra Peterson. Period!)

I had Frankenstein mugs, and Dracula fangs, and Wolfman statues. I had Famous Monsters of Hollywood back issues spread about the room and - when I was older - issues of Fangoria.

While most kids where empathizing with more mainstream entertainment icons, I was a fan of Stephen King, and John Carpenter, and Wes Craven. In fact, I remember reading Stephen King's Salem's Lot for the first time when I was about 10 and felt an instant affinity for the character of Mark Petrie. I still - by the way - LOVE Salem's Lot.

I was preoccupied by late night movie hosts (and had the autographed Big Chuck and Little John picture to prove it).

I had dioramas made up of the old Aurora horror models, as well as the Aurora version of the Munster's Koach.

I distinctly remember having an old King Kong movie poster, but don't remember whatever happened to it. I collected Garbage Pail Kid cards and horror movie collectible cards. I spent hours reading all the horror and science-fiction novels I could. I remember laying in bed late on many a Friday night, my life-size black and white Boris Karloff Frankenstein poster flickering eerily in the light of a small black and white television as I watched late night creature features. Whether they were Hammer films, or Universal films, or 50's atomic horror, or the sublime messes that were Ed Wood's films - I loved them all.

I am the monster I am today because of this. So no, Mrs. Zombie, I don't understand the whole teen idol thing. My idols were vampires, zombies, werewolves, ghouls, and giant radiation-mutated lizards that treated Tokyo like a mosh pit at a Misfit's concert.

The Bieber's horrifying -- believe me. He just doesn't hold a candle to REAL monsters!

Or does he?

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