Inside a movie that you didn’t choose

Do you ever yell at movies?

I’m sure you do, we’ve all done it at one point or another. When was the last time you saw a horror movie in the theater and didn’t hear at least one person yell some variation of “don’t go in there!” during a particularly tense moment?

Sometimes in can spice up a rather boring movie, like when I?was in high school and my friends and I went to see “What Lies Beneath.”

Do you remember the movie? If you don’t consider yourself lucky. Boring. Terribly boring. But the movie became infinitely better when, after Harrison Ford falls off of a toilet during the last act, my friend Matt yells out “1.21 gigawatts!” … aside from my friends and I … the rest of the audience didn’t seem to appreciate his “Back to the Future” reference.

But yelling during a horror movie is a time-honored tradition; as opposed to yelling at a movie such as “The Straight Story” like the girl I took to the movie did.

First date. Last date.

No matter what you chose to yell at the screen (Oh no he didn’t! Who buys a haunted house? THAT is why I don’t trust Ryan Reynolds) everyone is yelling the same thing: That’s not what I would do.

Because life so often mirrors the movies precisely, you, of course, know the exact next step this character needs to take. That’s what you did to get away from that killer ghost, right?

Well … maybe.

You see, even though most of us will go through our lives without having to escape an alien horde or defeat a legion of demons or battle Leatherface we all know danger when we see it, especially if that danger is happening to someone else.

Case in point: Friday the 13th, also known as a few days ago.

We have a police scanner here in the T-R offices. This should not come as a shock to anybody; how else are we supposed to know when the latest horde of deer are crossing Center Street?

Well the scanner was on Friday the 13th, and as always I was dutifully listening to the scanner and in now way, shape or form just listening to it in between playing songs on my headphones.

While listening I hear a police officer make the following call into dispatch.

Note: This is completely paraphrased. I am not listing the officer’s name because I didn’t hear it; consider this “inspired by actual events.”

The officer in question had been responding to a call about some loud music coming from the Riverview area. The officer had been looking around for a while, kept hearing the music but couldn’t find the source.

Officer: I’m going to head into Riverview Cemetery to look for the source of that strange music.

Are you crazy!? That’s the first 10 minutes of any horror movie right there. AND it’s Friday the 13th? Run away! This is a call for Dr. Venkman, not the Marshalltown Police!

Since you didn’t read any stories about a local police officer fighting a local ghost we can all assume that he found the not-supernatural source of the music.

Now I’m sure accidently stumbling into a horror movie was the last thing on the officer’s mind … what with being on the job and everything … but any outside observer (me) would have been downing handfuls of popcorn waiting to see what happened.

Well, what if you thought you were already living a horror movie? What if you were, say, living in off-campus housing at Ohio State University and were convinced your house was haunted?

True story.

You would find cabinet doors and microwaves open, without explanation. Then you and your roommates hear a strange sound coming from a utility closet. You try to open the door and find it locked, but the sound gets louder and louder the closer you get to this door. What do you do?

Find another house? Call a priest?

None of the above! Turns out the OSU guys were right, they had stumbled into a movie, but they picked the wrong movie.

This wasn’t “The Haunting,” this was “Real Genius.”

Yes, in the great tradition of screen legend Lazlo Hollyfield these students had a roommate that no one knew about, that lived in a hidden bedroom in the basement. The article I read did not mention a roller coaster-style secret entrance, but a man can hope.

So maybe life is a little more like the movies than we’d like to think; it’s just never the movie you want it to be. That’s why the police officer didn’t find a musical ghost, that’s why the OSU guys found their own, non-genius Lazlo and that’s why no matter how many times I?get my car up to 88 mph I never seem to go back in time.

Maybe I just need some more gigawatts.