Friday, May 21, 2010

Jellicle songs for Jellicle cats

"Stop looking at me you fucking cat!"


I found an old Matthew Sweet CD under my bed last week along with a bottle of CKone and it's made me downright nostalgic.  This time of year, as the weather gets warmer and the days grow longer, has me longing for the simple pleasures of high school!


Picture it:  shaggy hair tucked behind my ear, converse shoes and perfectly weathered khakis.  The first blooms of springtime making it entirely impossible to concentrate on class.  I'd take my sketchbook and charcoals to the graveyard to rub out a quick still-life.  Could it be that I was simply enacting my favorite scenes from Stephen King's much-maligned Sleepwalkers (1992)?  Let's see...


After two years in the public eye, Shelly the waitress has had enough of Twin Peaks.  With all that cherry pie and the incessant rantings and lamps being thrown from Lara Flynn Boyle's trailer, it was no wonder that she fled to rural Indiana as fast as the Greyhound could take her!  She got herself a nice job at the local movie house, cleaning up and making popcorn for the locals.  She moved in with Ferris Bueller's parents. She was wearing lots of flats.  Things were going great.  Unfortunately, Shelly's taste in men didn't change with her zipcode. 


Charlie Brady is the new boy in town.  He is attractive.  He has a cherry 1977 Trans-Am.  Charlie is very close to his mother.  Ostensibly, Charlie is a catch.  It seems everyone in town wants a piece of him. On his very first day of class, his creepy english teacher follows him home and tries to cop a feel!  Can you imagine?  I can.  Suddenly, we can see the cracks in Charlie's porcelain veneer. Charlie hates gay people.  He hates gay people so much that he proceeds to tear his english teacher to bits in the forest with his bare hands!  How rude.


This is where Sleepwalkers gets really delicious!  Charlie's hatred is not delegated exclusively to gay people. He hates cats too!

When the first national tour of Cats came to Boston, I was completely enchanted by the commercials.  I begged my mother to take me night after night.  But my mother hates cats almost as much as she hates interactive musical theatre. My yearning was dismissed with, "You don't want to see that, they come right out at you."  Charlie's mom is a lot like my mom.  She stays in all day, fretting about with candles lit all over the house in nothing but a silk nightgown.  Just like my mom, her moods range from lovingly touching Charlie's face and holding him close, to slashing at him with her razor-sharp talons.  Maybe they sleep with each other, maybe they're monstrous shape-shifters, but who am I to judge the red states?


Shelly needs a little romance, even if she has to will it into being herself.  She packs a lovely picnic lunch for Charlie, complete with those delicious Whole Foods olives and her Nikon camera in tow.  Next thing you know, Charlie is smacking her to the ground and trying to devour her soul!  I'm sensing a pattern here.  What is it about Shelly the waitress that makes everyone want to hit her so much??


All these years later and I have learned a thing or two.  I have my skin care regime down pat.  I know which colors and sizes compliment my figure.  And I know that you shouldn't go on a first date to the cemetary unless you've known the boy for at least a month prior. I can also attest that Sleepwalkers is just as good as it was eighteen years ago.  No other movie offers the Borg Queen acting opposite a sofa in a town run by crime-solving cats.  My mom was right, Cats was a pass - they really do come right out at you. 


I was once at a party with Mick Garris.  Without flinching, I told him how much I adore this movie.  He responded with equal sincerity, "There's no accounting for taste."


(Horror Nerd Alert: Aside from Stephen King, who wrote this mess, keep a look out for cameos from the likes of Luke Skywalker and the undisputed Queen of Horror himself, Clive Barker!)

1 comment:

  1. You are such a good writer and I really like this blaaagh. I appreciate the description of Sleepwalkers as a Mess. It's one of the worst horror films (that isn't an obvious zero-budgeted-Grade-Z-project-right-from-the- get-go) that I've ever (barely) sat through. Sometimes I say to myself, "Stephen KIng, hater of Kubrick's The Shining, creator of Sleepwalkers, director auteur of Maximum Overdrive, why are you routinely called an Absolute Master of Horror? Why? Why?" And I haven't any good answer.

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