The Manchurian Candidate remake is on. In theory a good movie should distract me, but this one is about a manipulative group who'll do anything for political power which brings my thoughts back to the manipulative Ass Hats I was originally trying to forget. I've got to focus on something other than the stupid controversy over Common at the White House or I will give myself a new brain lesion. I'll watch The Ring again. Won't be as scary as the first time, though...
It's 2002 and my friend purchases a really cool building that once housed a two story bar. The business has been closed for over a year, but his intent is to renovate and reopen the bottom floor. No concrete plans for the upstairs yet, and I'm in the mood for a change of scenery so I ask him if he's willing to rent me some space upstairs. Before I know it, the upstairs bar is turned into my kitchen, the infamous weed lounge is my bedroom, part of the pool room is my workspace, and the water closet is turned into a bathroom. Side note: I have never batted my eyelashes to get what I want, but the day the plumber told me the water closet would be too small for anything but a shower, I batted away and got my bathtub. They had to carve into the studs to get it to fit, but I like baths. Every time the building owner came by, he'd stop to look at the tub, baffled by how the fuck they got it in there.
I leave a quaint Chicago neighborhood and move to a foul one. Dangerous El Station, nothing but drug dealers and crack heads, and a drive by shooting outside the building my first week there. But this is what I want - a really cool living space. Even better - until the bar is rehabbed I have half a city block all to myself at night. Except for the crack heads. To the east of the building there's an alley, to the south the street and a 9 to 5 business, to the west an empty parking lot and to the west of the lot a small plot of land, and to the north just some storage spaces and more alley. Eventually the bar will open and be my Rumpus Room, but even then, the building is all mine after it's closed for the night. Score. I know this is NOT tempting to many people, but I like solitude. Precious, precious solitude.
The building has ghost stories based on the murder of a girl whose dismembered body was found in the basement. Doesn't scare me. Not even being in the basement scares me. I love this place. I can play music at full volume and sing at the top of my lungs at any hour of the night, and no one can hear me. Do I see anything weird during the 15 months it takes the bar to open? Yes. I go through three Sage Smudge sticks. But those incidents do not stay with me the way The Night I Watched The Ring stays with me.
The bar opens the following year, and I take a second job downstairs. Teachers just don't make the money Gov. Scott Walker thinks they do. The staff stays behind after close to drink, but on this night, I push them all out of the building by 3AM. I want to watch The Ring in an empty building. I want it to be that much scarier knowing no one can hear me scream. Not long into the film, it dawns on me that my coworkers only agree to leave early so they can call me all night and whisper, "Seven days," into the phone, and if any of them were sober enough to dial, I'm sure they would have.
If you haven't seen it I won't ruin anything by telling you that just before someone's demise, their television turns itself on and just shows black and white snow. Do younger people these days know that before TVs used a blue screen to indicate no signal, it used to be snow? Anyway, we quickly learn about the snow, and not long after we get a glimpse at our first victim. Let me stop here for a moment. I've worked in Film. I not only did makeup, blood, and gore for a movie about the Civil War, I made body parts for it. But the makeup job they did on this first dead girl's face? Scares. The. Fuck. Out. Of. Me. No shit. It isn't gory. It's the look of fear frozen into her face. I have to pause the DVD on her to get a better look and remind myself it's just makeup. Does me no good. I already know the lights will get turned on when I go to bed.
I finish the movie quite happy that I'm freaked out, and like always, I watch the credits. There's a team of people who created this thing, and they deserve my attention. Thirty seconds in, my TV goes to snow. First reaction? Ooh! What a cool feature to add to the DVD! They're gonna show something scary during the credits! Second reaction? How long will they do this before the scary bit and get back to the credits? Third reaction. Why is my TV still on snow?
I know time passes slowly when you're scared, but I do believe I sit there for five minutes, in the dark, watching snow. No puddles of water, no killer little girl with long, black hair, just me, too scared to move, planted in that one spot in the dark with TV snow. A glance at my cat sitting calmly by my side is the indicator that nothing bad is about to happen. Surely she would be hissing and tense if there was danger present. I manage to get up, turn every light in the apartment on, and inspect the TV. It has died. All TVs must go at some point, but mine chooses this moment. 5AM, alone in the dark, less than a minute after a movie about people who are murdered by a little girl that comes to them from TV snow. I thank it for adding to my trauma this evening, but curse it for its particular brand of obnoxious which I find Really Fucked Up. I take pleasure in later dumping it in the alley and giving it a swift kick for being a Fucker.