Things to be aware of in Winter
Halloween will soon be upon us. I know this because going into Home Bargains the other day I was confronted with an aisle wholly devoted to Christmas. The Halloween section had been there since July, of course, and no doubt the Easter aisle will be in place before the end of November.
With Halloween, comes all things spooky and a slew of horror films being released. I was pondering on these the other day and wondering how different some of the classic horror movies would have been had the participants paid more attention to home security. I know, I lead quite the life, don’t I?
Let’s start with The Shining. We all remember the iconic sequence where Jack Torrance, played by Jack Nicholson, crashes an axe through the bathroom door where Shelley Duvall’s Wendy is cowering inside, and snarls “Here’s Johnny”. Now all that unpleasantness could easily have been avoided had the Overlook Hotel invested in reinforced doors. Even UPVC doors would have stood up a lot more valiantly against the axe.
Moving on to Psycho and Janet Leigh’s unfortunate event in the shower. I would give a spoiler alert here but, quite frankly, it’s been nearly 60 years so we’re beyond the statute of limitations here. But one of the most famous scenes in Hollywood history would never have seen the light of day had Janet double locked the bedroom door from the inside, and perhaps insisted on a safety chain too. Norman Bates and his dead mum would have just had to make do with a shared Sudoku to pass the time instead.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre now, and far be it from me to victim blame, but let’s face it, chain saw or no chainsaw, those teenagers would have stood a far better chance against old Leatherface if they’d had a nice secure front door with an anti-snap lock fitted. An exterior security light wouldn’t have hurt either.
And what about those windows flying open and slamming shut in Poltergeist? Window locks are your answer here, my friends. They would have left the ghostly spirits well and truly stumped and the family could have sat down with a nice cup of tea watching the TV in peace instead of seeing their daughter disappear into it.
Another of the most famous sequences of classic horror occurs in Nosferatu, as Count Orlok creeps up the staircase towards Ellen’s bedroom. In a justly praised scene, we see the vampire’s shadow on the wall as he slowly nears his prey. But what none of the 1920s critics seem to have picked up on is the fact that if Ellen had invested in a half decent alarm system, all of the disagreeableness could have been avoided. Admittedly, we’d have missed out on a piece of cinema history, but home security comes first, people!
In fact the only horror film I can think of from the top of my head that attempts to pay lip services to the proper use of locks is Silence of the Lambs. For the majority of the film at least, Hannibal Lecter is kept under lock and key, nice and secure. But inevitably even that goes all pear-shaped in the final third as he’s able to escape his chains and have an old friend for dinner. I’m just saying that if the locks holding him in place had been deadlocks conforming to BS3621 standards we’ve got a very different film on our hands.
So there’s no need to call me Barry Norman quite yet, but I think you’ll agree that films have historically been shockingly lax in their attention to comprehensive home security. Okay, my precautions might spoil the films just a touch, but at least everyone’s still alive and their homes will remain secure all the way through to November 1st.
Happy Halloween everybody!
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