Horror Films With Lock Association
Wow, Hallowe’en comes round earlier and earlier each year these days. Maybe it just feels like that because we seem to be living in a perpetual horror movie in some ways. The country’s a scary enough place at the moment without us putting on frightening masks and spooky costumes. After all if we want to see terrifying clowns, all we really have to do is tune into BBC Parliament. Bit of satire there for you, although by the time you read this, who knows who’ll be in charge. Pennywise the Clown could probably do a more competent job than the current incumbents.
But before I veer too much off subject, back to Hallowe’en. And whilst you won’t find me going round trick and treating or bobbing for apples, you may find me watching a horror film or two at this time of year. Although, having said that, I’m hoping you won’t find me watching one, as it’ll mean you’ve somehow slipped into my house unnoticed. And for a locksmith, that would be quite frankly embarrassing.
So, horror films. I was musing on some of the classics of the genre, how they relate to my profession, and the stories behind them. Although a slight warning – in the same way that Fargo begins with a misleading caption saying the film is based on a true story, I will also be saying the following is based on true facts. Sort of.
Let’s start with Stanley Kubrick’s seminal classic, The Shining. Even if you haven’t seen it all the way through, you must be aware of the famous scene where Jack Nicholson smashes his way through a bathroom door with an axe, before unleashing the immortal line, “Here’s Johnny!” But film history could have been so very different if Kubrick had carried out his original plan. He was in very advanced talks with a security door company in the US, and the above scene, originally intended to be the climax of the film was meant to show off how well the secure doors withheld any attempt at attack. In early drafts, Nicholson’s character has a few bashes at the door, finds he can’t get though, and realises he’s been making a bit of a fuss over nothing. He gives up, lights a few scented candles, finally relaxes, and the family have a lovely time for the rest of their stay at the hotel. This version of the film never saw the light of day because of legal complications between the studio and the security door company. These became acrimonious, and to get his own back, Kubrick rewrote the scene to instead show how flimsy the doors were. The lesson of this is clear – never annoy a mercurial director, they’ll gain their revenge one way or another.
The 1968 film, Night of the Living Dead is a low budget classic which saw the director George A Romero burst onto the scene. If you hang around with film nerds for any length of time, they’ll soon be explaining to you how actually, as well as being a brain-eating Zombie film, it’s also a comment on the social and cultural situation in the USA during the civil rights movement. Now, of course that’s one reading for it, but I have another. Could it be that Romero was slyly questioning who the real zombies are. Are they the flesh-eating monsters, or are they the humans, cowering in their houses, with inadequate security measures. Due to complacence they have left their homes vulnerable, with not an anti-snap lock or burglar alarm in sight. Was Romero suggesting all of us who don’t look after our home security are wandering around like zombies? I guess we’ll never know for sure!
The HG Wells’ story, The Invisible Man has been a rich source material for many films. But what’s not widely known is the theory (invented by me) that Wells wrote the book out of paranoia about being burgled. He was conscious of intruders coming at night to his house and seeming invisible in the darkness. If only he’d lived in the time of motion-activated security lights he could have slept far more soundly. Although we would also have missed out on one of the great stories of science fiction. So swings and roundabouts on that one.
A quick look at another couple of films which would have turned out very differently with a locksmith on set. Firstly Dracula where the addition of a strong padlock on the Count’s coffin would have prevented him from popping out in the night-time to feast on the necks of his innocent victims. The fact that the Prince of Darkness gets out of his box night after night just breaks the heart of any competent locksmith, looking longingly at how they could have secured him safely inside.
Finally, there’s a new version of Halloween in the cinemas right now. Whilst I’ve not yet seen it, I can’t imagine it’ll match the original classic with Jamie Lee Curtis in the lead role. Again, a great film, but imagine if the residents of Haddonfield all had invested in security cameras, window locks and multi point locking systems. The death count from Michael Myers would have been significantly lower, and I imagine the franchise may have come to a halt back in the 1970s rather than still be limping along over 40 years later.
Okay, it’s been a little bit of silliness this month – think we needed a bit of a break from reality. I’ll try to be a bit more sensible next month, But in the meantime, if you need any trustworthy advice on anything lock-related, or to enquire about repairs or replacements, please call 07990573857.