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Security At Holloween

28th October 2018

Why did the skeleton not want to go to the party?

Because he had no body to go with.

There you go, that’s my Halloween joke, you’re welcome. It could have been far worse, believe me. But yes, it’s that time of year. The shops are full of monster costumes, the pumpkins are on display in the marketplace, and the town centre is occupied by zombies wandering around aimlessly, oblivious to the living. Although in all honesty, I’m not sure that the latter point is totally related to the time of year.

The end of October also sees the release of horror films. In the cinema at the moment we have Jamie Lee Curtis in the new Halloween sequel, there’s Goosebumps 2 for the kids, there’s The Nun and Venom for the, well probably not for the kids; and if you want a truly terrifying experience then I expect some cinemas are still showing Mamma Mia 2: The Sequel. 

With the exception of Mamma Mia 2, there’s nothing like a good old scare in the cinema, but I began thinking the other day about how these films could relate to my job, notably about how different the plots of classic horror films would be if they had included better home security. Now you may think I wasn’t really thinking about that, and that this is all a thinly-veiled excuse to churn out a Halloween-related blog, but that would be highly sceptical of you, so stop it. 

Scream started the revival of the slasher genre back in 1996, with an extended opening sequence that saw Drew Barrymore meeting a grisly end before the opening titles had even appeared. However, the re-invention of the genre wouldn’t have got beyond the opening reel had Drew’s parents put more forethought into their home security. Sturdy doors, alarm systems and anti-snap locks would have stopped the masked invader before he’d even begun and Wes Craven would have had to go back to the drawing board before we’d even been introduced to Neve Campbell or given a thought to the prospective 3 sequels.

Similar attention to security could have saved a lot of kerfuffle in The Shining too. Jack Nicholson poking his head through the door, crying out “Here’s Johnny” may have entered the cinematic lexicon as an all time classic, but imagine if that bathroom door had been of a strong UPVC construction with solid locks. He could have been swinging away with that axe for quite some time to no avail, leaving Shelley Duvall even more time to escape. 

I’m presuming we all know *that* shower scene from Psycho by now. If not, stop reading for the next paragraph as there’s a spoiler from 60 years coming up. Now I know there’s a touch of the victim blaming here, but would one of the most famous scenes in cinema history – the shower attack sequence - have even existed had poor Janet Leigh double locked her motel room and insisted on a safety chain. Norman Bates would have been left even more frustrated and he and his departed mother would have had to resort to far less drastic measures – perhaps a nice game of backgammon instead. 

We’ll skip over the lack of motion-activated security lights that could have prevented Leatherface in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and various incarnations of Michael Myers in the Halloween franchise and instead turn our attention to The Exorcist. Away from all the mother flippings and projectile vomit, there’s also the scene where Burke ”mysteriously” falls to his death through a window whilst baby-sitting the possessed Regan.  Now, whilst accepting that the devil has powers we cannot possibly understand, surely some regulation window locks would at least have stymied his progress just a little, leaving Burke with a more than fighting chance. 

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