Saturday, January 23, 2010
I was totally sure this would suck because it had all the earmarks of that crashing disappointment "The Blair Witch Project," and one of the stupidest titles in cinema history. "Paranormal Activity"? Give me a break. It reminds me of the days in the late seventies when grocery stores stocked "generic" novels with titles like "romance" and "western" and "action."
But I was pleasantly surprised--or unpleasantly surprised--in a good way. "Paranormal Activity" is like a really good episode of a bad TV show I sometimes enjoy called "A Haunting," but without the cruddy cheap thrills. The premise is entirely ridiculous, because no muthafuckas in they right minds would stay 30 seconds in a house after collecting physical evidence of demonic visitation, and nobody would sleep with the lights off and their fucking bedroom door open either in that situation. But in horror films you automatically suspend disbelief anyhow and accept the rules as they are. I had fun with it, though it brought back bad memories:
When I was 9 years old my mother married my stepfather and we moved from my grandparents' house to his house in Reisterstown. My bedroom was in the basement of the new place. One night I woke with a crushing presure on my chest. I could barely breathe and was trying to scream but nothing would come out. Suddenly I started doing involuntary sit-ups of a ridiculously violent nature, and the entire bed shook like a wildebeast was tramping around. Then as quickly as it arrived the pressure was gone and I screamed bloody murder. My stepdad came downstairs in his saggy tighty whities and put me back to bed and let me sleep with the light on. His kids were by that time all teens and he probably thought "Jesus, what have I gotten myself into with this one?" This experience is of course not uncommon--it's in fact archetypal--and though I'm a skeptic crazy phenomena have happened regularly throughout my life.