I used to suffer from terrible growing pains in my legs when I was young. My mother’s answer to every ailment was a warm wash rag and some Horse Liniment, an aggressively medicinal-smelling ointment meant for horses (it stiiiiinnnggs). On one particular night I was struggling with terrible pain and my mother was slathering the liniment around my knees. She asked what would make me feel better. I immediately replied, “I wanna watch TV in Joy’s room!”
Joy, my sister, was staying at a friend’s house. Her room was all gauzy and ethereal, and I secretly coveted it. This was the early ’80s, and we had just gotten cable installed for the first time. In those days, the USA Network had a block they called USA Saturday Nightmares, which was a three-hour block that showed a movie from eight to ten, and at ten o’clock they would show two half-hour horror TV series. Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Hour, etc. I watched every single weekend. This night’s film happened to be Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte.
The wind was howling outside, so I opened her windows to let the white, semi-transparent drapes dramatically flutter around me (her bed was situated under two large windows). Then I nestled into her unusually high, puffy bed, covered myself in several layers of blankets and a comforter, and watched my story.
I remember just two things: the white gown with blood on it, and the head rolling down the stairs. I also remember that I was rendered defenseless and afraid after the movie and was too afraid to run to my room (her room was on the opposite side of the house from everyone else’s, and my Dad had a nasty habit of waiting in the darkness for a very long time just to scare the shit out of us). So I fell asleep in her room, realizing I’d completely forgotten about the pain while I was watching the film. That’s a great film!