Friday, October 30, 2009

The Strangers

I don't observe Halloween. I do observe candy. Typically, I buy a lot of it, then turn off the porch light and eat it. I've lived in this neighborhood 15 years (give or take two blocks) and the only "kids" that ever trick-or-treat on this block have clearly driven here (apparently not even leaving themselves enough time to shave).

Baby Sister checked in tonight from the family farmstead where she's visiting for the weekend -- planning a BlairWitch-ish expedition of some sort into the woods for the kids. Then they're going to watch scary movies.

I told her to rent The Strangers. It isn't precisely scary -- nothing supernatural or paranormal happens -- it's just a couple in the woods who answer the door to someone they shouldn't. That's the entire plot. The couple is played by Liv Tyler and the guy from Felicity (I think there were two; this is one of them).  When  Liv Tyler asks their uninvited guests (again: not giving anything away here) "why are you doing this?" the answer is: "Because you were home."

If I celebrated Halloween, this would be my pick for a Halloween movie. It's a movie that allows me to feel a little smug, because the precipitating point that leads to their predicament is: opening the door to the eponymous Strangers. (In fairness, I suspect they would've come in anyway -- but initially, Liv and Felicity's Boyfriend do answer a knock.) I would never open the door to Strangers. I haven't answered a knock at the door in three years. I'm not sure why anyone would. My friends can and do drop in of course -- they just text from the driveway -- it would never even occur to them to ring the bell, because they know I'd never answer.

My parents do it all the time though-- I can hear them do it on the phone, and it makes me crazy. There's the doorbell, followed by the dogs barking (another practice I've never allowed... once I got a Stalker, I then had to teach my dogs to bark at him because they'd been so meticulously trained not to; they weren't allowed to jump on anyone either, though Martha was perfectly capable of removing an unwanted guest's carotid artery flat-footed) -- and then you'll hear either my Mom or my stepdad yell, "Babe!! See who's at the door!!" And you never know who they're talking to, because, while, they address each other as Babe, it is also the dog's name. Meanwhile, I'm still on the other end of the line, nagging, "that's why they're called PUSH-INs and not BREAK-INS; are you two TRYING to get yourselves killed?" 

So, a Holiday that involves strangers coming to your door and begging for candy is not my cup of tea. But if I were going to recommend a movie for Halloween, it would be this one. (It is also maybe the best use of Merle Haggard's "Mama Tried" I have ever seen in a movie. I don't know why it isn't in the trailer.)

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