Posts Tagged ‘Psycho’

No Gein: A Second Helping

Chapter Sixteen. Deviant

Hallow-con, New York City, October 2004

“I don’t know, do you!” Franklin hated newbies, and this one was ruining his Orpheus session. The new World of Darkness role playing supplement was right up Franklin’s alley, but the player next to him was wrecking the mood asking stupid questions like “Do you I have a flashlight?” 

Even worse was the game master was some dumb girl. “Cool it pal!” she said to him through her black lipstick laced lips before encouraging the newbie to be even more newbish. “If you want to have a flashlight I’ll let you have one, but next time write it down on your items list.”

“Have you even run a campaign before?” Franklin asked. Now he had the woman’s attention, along with everyone else at the table. 

“Really? You’re gonna question my cred!” Franklin didn’t understand why she got so upset over a simple question. “You’re playing a sleeper, you’re cryogenically frozen and your body ejected your soul,” then pointing to the young teenager Franklin previously berated, she continued, “He is a Hue, which is like a Spirit except while alive he took the drug pigment which kept his spirit from being fulfilled.” 

“Whatever.” Franklin thought to himself. He figured she probably got a cheat sheet from her man or whatever which was probably the only reason she got this gig as a gamemaster, or storyteller as they called it in World of Darkness. He figured this fake fan probably could see the unimpressed look on his face as she just kept running her bitch mouth.

“If that’s not enough, asshole, I can tell you the thirteen clans in Vampire the Masquerade, or the sixteen tribes that serve Gaia in Werewolf the Apocalypse, or I could just save us all the headache and tell you to get the fuck out of here right now!”

Franklin was flabbergasted. How dare she talk to him like that? He traveled a long way to get here and this is what he gets. “You can’t kick me out!” he protested.

“It’s my game and I have the discretion. If you have a problem with it check the convention guidebook. You’ve been a shitty player and I can tell you’re a shitty human and we don’t need that in our community!”

“Fuck you bitch I’m outta here.” Franklin tossed his dice toward the woman as he stormed away. 

“Kick his ass Vicki!” He heard one of the players taunting. Probably some white knight douchebag that was desperately hoping for a shot to nail her. He didn’t need that shit. Her and her jetblack hair and black eye makeup looking all goth and…He could have nailed her, if he wanted to, nail her right against the wall, but whatever.

Franklin was still steaming as he walked the convention floor. “I wonder what that goth bitch’s head would look like on a stick.” he thought to himself. While walking amongst the rest of the convention goers he thought he spotted a familiar face. He couldn’t quite make him out, but whoever it was they were wearing an old hunting cap. Walking down the aisle, whoever this person was, Franklin lost him in the crowd. Franklin now found himself by a booth selling horror movie posters. As luck would have it, the vendor had the poster for last year’s Freddy vs the Devil movie. He snapped that up, along with the only Halloween poster he didn’t have, the cyberthriller Halloween H2K that came out four years back. The Halloween franchise just dropped some news which Franklin was excited about. 

 He soon reasoned to himself that it was probably better off that he left the role playing session early as he scored a spot in line for the Freddy vs the Devil booth. Though early, there was still a big line ahead of him. He wished he could get a chainsaw and mow through all these fucking people that were his way. He couldn’t wait to meet Kane Hodder for the first time. Kane reprised his iconic role as Freddy Krueger in last year’s smash horror crossover Freddy vs the Devil, the long awaited crossover with the Friday the 13th series. Finally, once everyone got out of his fucking way he almost laughed out loud at what he saw. There was Robert fucking Englund of all people, his little body tried to fill the imposing Jersey Devil costume of the Friday the 13th series. For the life of him Franklin couldn’t figure out how Robert got this role. In some parallel universe inside Franklin’s own mind it would have at least went to someone like Ken Kirzinger. Pointing his finger at him, Franklin mocked “Haha, Freddy kicked your ass!” The actor knew not to say shit back as he signed Franklin’s newly bought poster. Franklin even gave a thumbs down during their picture together. 

Finally, Franklin saw the man he travelled across the country to see. “Yeah, there’s the man right there!” Franklin shouted as he shook the hand of Kane Hodder, who was all decked out in his Freddy Kreuger outfit and makeup. Nodding to that little bitch of a Devil, Franklin said “You showed that pussy what’s up huh!” As Kane’s large hands reached towards him, Franklin knew what was coming next. Hodder was known for giving his fans a lovingly squeeze on the throat during photo ops. “Damn, he does squeeze tight,” he thought to himself as the convention staffer took the photo. 

Now he was really getting his money’s worth as the actor gave him a bit of a violent shake as the camera flashed. “Calm the fuck down.” He heard Hodder whisper as the polaroid emerged from the camera. Franklin quickly wiped his eyes as he took the photo and staggered away. Looking back at the graphic hanging above the booth, he was thrilled to see that Freddy vs the Devil was not only getting a sequel, but it would add another horror icon into the mix. “Freddy vs the Devil vs Ash! That is so cool!” he said while Kane gave a polite nod as another convention staffer led Franklin away from the booth. 

“You alright?” the convention staffer asked. Wiping his eyes again, Franklin thought this bitch needed to mind her own business. Ash from the Evil Dead films was going to be in a movie crossover with the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street Series, of course he was going to be alright.

Walking through the convention floor again, he heard someone say. “Sick shirt.” A man dressed up as Marvel Comics’ Blade commented on Franklin’s Jeffrey Dahmer T-shirt. 

“I know it is.” Franklin replied, presuming that was a compliment. Franklin thought this fan’s Blade outfit was pretty cool too. Blade III was coming out this December, and Franklin wondered if comic book movies would ever cross over like the horror characters now were. One of the big bits of news from this convention was that, due to the success of Freddy vs The Devil, a crossover film would be made with the Hellraiser series. Franklin was so stoked for who Pinhead from Hellraiser would be fighting. For the first time in over 20 years, Michael Meyers from the first two Halloween movies would return to film, and would be facing off against Pinhead. If Marvel or DC could ever start making movies where their comic book superheroes cross with each other, that would do some big business.

Regardless, the early aughts were turning out to be a great time to be a horror fan, and one of the reasons was the man he was going to see next. George Kohler directed the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake which was a smash success, and as a result every studio was going through their vaults to see what old scary titles they could dust off and repackage. Prom Night, Maniac Cop, Stepfather, My Bloody Valentine, When a Stranger Calls, The Hills Have Eyes, Last House on the Left, Black Christmas, Pumpkinhead, Silent Night Deadly Night, and countless more were greenlit for a remake.

He went into the ballroom where George Kohler would be speaking. Coming into the large room, he spotted that hunter’s cap again. Whoever wore it was sitting down in the middle section. Franklin walked over thinking he’d join him, but he soon became lost among the flood of fans, who all cheered when George took the stage.

Kohler wasn’t here to talk about Psycho II, his third feature film which as usual had controversy. Franklin remembered when he was a teenager seeing the first Psycho in the theaters. It was so awesome, with a twist that completely blew his mind. Psycho II did the same, where the end reveals Norman Bates was killed by a hitchhiker from the first act, and the identity of the movie’s main killer Franklin never would have guessed. Near the end of filming Psycho II Kohler had to leave the set due to a personal tragedy and a friend of his directed the final remaining scenes.

Today Kolhler wasn’t here to talk about movies, but his new book, Deviant. Franklin was super stoked about it. He boisterously cheered along with everyone else in the audience while George took the stage. George waved politely. “Thank you for coming. I really appreciate it. My father wasn’t a fan of this scene,” 

As soon as Franklin heard this he let out a loud “boo!” The best part was he could tell it registered on George’s face. Still, the director continued. 

“but he was really proud of me.”  All the sheep then cheered at this sentimental shit. Some old red headed hag in the front row was even crying. What the fuck was she crying for? It didn’t matter. George went on to explain the topic of his book, which was how some bizarre events intersected with the lives of several members of his family, including an incident with a murderer who went undiscovered for 50 years along with another unrelated incident with a family of psychopaths that were mixed up with the mob. “I know a lot of you want to go out to Plainfield and see this stuff for yourself, but there’s nothing there to see, and the townspeople don’t like the attention. There’s a lot of good people there, as well as the rest of the great state of Wisconsin. I should know, my family is from there.” George then elaborated how the authorities wanted to keep a lid on things at first, but, given everything that happened, including what happened to George’s father, George decided to, after talking it over with his sister and the authorities, publish this book and put it all out there in the open. 

  After his talk he took a few questions from his fans. Some people asked him about Psycho II and why he made the decision to kill off Norman Bates. “I think Robert Bloch would have wanted that.” George then explained that the author, who wrote the novel Psycho just before he died in 1994, may have been a horror fan, but he wasn’t a fan of some of the violence in horror movies. “He sucked.” Franklin thought to himself. George speculated that Bloch might not have wanted, say, four movies about Norman Bates killing people. Having said that, while he couldn’t reveal plot details, George assured his fans that there still would be a Psycho III. Not only that, but a Bates Motel prequel series was in the works about a young Norman Bates and his mother set in the 1970s.

After the talk Franklin got in line to meet George and buy his book. “I’m from Plainfield.” was the first thing Franklin said when meeting the author.

“Oh really,” George said. “Wow, thanks for coming all the way out here.” 

Franklin immediately went to the question that had been burning in his brain.

“So when can we expect the Ed Gein movie?”

“Never.” George answered immediately, following up with, “I mean if someone else makes it I can’t stop them, but there won’t be an Ed Gein movie on my watch” He then handed  Franklin the autographed book and turned his attention to the next fan in line.

Once again Franklin was led out of the line, and once again he was enraged. How the fuck would George not make an Ed Gein movie. The best horror movie ever fell right into his lap and he was going to throw it away. Here was a chance to put Franklin’s little shit town on the cinematic map, it had to happen. Franklin didn’t give a shit about his dead dad, he wanted his fucking movie. One way or another, that movie was going to get made, even if it was over George’s dead body.

It was then that Franklin noticed him again. He was still wearing that old hunters hat. As Franklin watched him on the convention floor everything else around him started to look blurry, almost as though he  was dreaming. Franklin was starting to feel dizzy, like he was detached from his body which was making slow steps towards the image of the man in front of him. Upon closer look he recognized that little glob of flesh that hung from his eye. He knew it from old pictures the local news showed on TV last year. 

“Want me in a movie huh?” The fellow Wisconsinite said. “You do what I tell you, and they’ll even make one of you.”

Hungry for more. Stay tuned for the final chapter of this trilogy of pop culture alternate history. No Gein III: The Final Cut, coming soon!

No Gein II: A Second Helping 

Chapter Seven: Psycho II

Hollywood, California. September 2003

George was very impressed by Lloyd, the set designer he hired to work on his new movie. Norman Bates’s house looked exactly as it did from the first Psycho, from the creaky wooden steps to the outdated antique furniture. Even the cobwebs and dust were present. A ring from his cellphone brought George back to modernity. Flipping his phone open he gave his usual snarky greeting “House of pain, you kill em, we grill em.” 

“Not in the mood for you goofing off George.” It was Marty, the producer. Psycho II was getting a lot of heat, which was making the brass nervous. The slasher genre was revived due to 98’s Psycho, and George’s recent Texas Chainsaw massacred the box office like no horror film had before, resulting in scores of other obscure cult hits getting greenlit for remakes. With that success came the seemingly once a decade national hand wringing about the dangers of violence in the mass media and its effects on our poor innocent youth, which gave Enterprise Studios a lot of unwanted attention.

“Are you sitting down?” His producer asked frantically.

“I am now Marty.” George sat down on an ancient looking sofa and was genuinely shocked at how comfortable it was. “Damn this seat is sweet. I gotta get one of these for my place!”

“This is no joke George,” Mary insisted. “I got really bad news.” 

“OK shoot.”

Marty then just blurted it out. “Roy is dead.”

“Are you shitting me?” George almost jumped out of his seat hearing this. Roy was the main screenwriter on Psycho II, who had also taken some of the heat for his Texas Chainsaw screenplay. Both he and George had been receiving death threats.

“I’m not joking, they found his body this morning. I’m down at the police station making a statement. They want to talk to you too.”

“Ok I’ll leave the set right now.” George said as he stood up and started walking.

“Wait, Jesus George you’re on the set?”

“Yeah, why?” George said as he stopped dead in his tracks.

“I ordered it closed down.” Marty revealed. “Someone was snooping around there last night.” 

“Who was it?”

“Don’t know, Talbot chased him off, but it’s too much of a coincidence. I ordered the whole area to be closed off. How did you get in there?”

“I didn’t see Talbot at the gate this morning,” George explained, “so I let myself in.” 

“Well get the hell out of there and come down here now!”

“Alright chill-ax I will.” George said before hanging up.

It was then that George heard the noise upstairs. “Hello,” George said, looking up the steps to the second floor of the ‘house. There was no answer. He then called out the for the security chief, “Talbot, is that you?” but there was still no answer.

As George walked up the creaky steps, he heard no other sound. He thought maybe he just heard the wind. Getting to the top of the steps, he noticed the scent, that unmistakable smell that in this environment meant nothing but trouble. The wood still creaked as he went into the bedroom of Norman Bates. It was a simple, spartan like room. He admired the bookshelves on the wall. In the original Robert Bloch novel that was published about ten years back, Norman was a student of the occult, and the prop designer did a great job making the mock editions of old spooky books. Per George’s request, there was even a book that had Necronomicon scrawled on the spine. George knew Bloch would have liked that. He wished his old friend could have seen the prop Necronomicon; which was a nod to Bloch’s mentor H.P. Lovecraft, who frequently referenced the accursed book in his various weird tales about the Elder Gods and other unspeakable horrors. 

One of the horrors filmmakers wrestled with was the occasional parent group threatening boycotts and other shenanigans. Now, in the 21rst century, there was a new threat to filmmakers, not from people who hated them, but from those who loved them. George knew all too well the excesses of fandom. In his younger days he made a few regrettable online comments towards authors and directors. Now that he was on the other end of the business, he in turn received death threats about the next Psycho movie. Initially, he’d long dismissed this chatter, remembering his old days as an angry nerd, but now it was serious, someone was really dead. 

It was then he spotted a manilla folder resting on the bookshelf. He wondered why this was there, he definitely didn’t want this oversight showing up on film. Upon closer look, the envelope had his name written on it in red ink; at least it looked like red ink at first. As he picked it up to take a closer look, it appeared his name had been written in blood. George’s hands trembled as he opened the folder, and what he found inside was even more disturbing. George now knew he officially had a stalker. Here were photos of himself at the beach with his girlfriend. What worried him even more was a picture of his sister Helen along with her husband Chuck.

George angrily threw the folder down and stormed into the next room. This was the bedroom of Norman’s mother, Norma Bates. There was a deep indenture in the bed as if someone had laid there an unnaturally long time. That smell was so strong here. When he saw the metal shine from under the bed he shuddered. He reached down into the blackness under the bed and his hand felt cold steel. He knelt down and pulled out a can of kerosene. As soon as his knee hit the wooden floor, he could smell the fumes on the bed sheets. Someone planned to burn the entire set down.

“Who’s in here?” George now said more angrily. “You’re fucking with my movie, I’m gonna kill you!” Then there was the sound of a door creaking. He turned to see it was the door mother’s large walk-in closet. George shuddered as he could see a slender arm, dead still, laying on the closet floor. He rushed over to the closet, fearing the truth he already knew in his gut. Pushing the door open all the way he found the body of Talbot laying in a pool of blood. It looked like someone bashed his head with a blunt object like a tire iron.

George never saw the figure come behind him, he never saw that old dress flowing in the air as it entered the bedroom, or the hand within it that raised the blade in the air through the dress’s frilled sleeves. He yelled out as best as he could as the knife came down on his back. In his mind George could hear the violin music shrieking from the first film as the knife penetrated him again and again, leaving fountains of blood spraying as it went. George collapsed to the ground. As he looked across the room where the dead employee lay, his lips uttered their final words. 

Part Seventeen: These are the Days

August 5th, 1998, Wisconsin

“Boy they sure murder you on this popcorn!’ Bernice said as she put her change back in her purse. Her grandson carried a large tray towards her great grandkids, Tommy and Lindsey, along with their friends. The teenagers eagerly snatched the bags of popcorn and paper cups filled with soda. Bernice remembered when she could see movies for a whole year on the amount of money she’d just spent, and these were matinee prices!

No matter though, these were her golden years, her platinum years even, in which she not only enjoyed grandchildren, but great-grandchildren, both of whom she spoiled rotten. She’d long sold her hardware store, and she and Ronald, her second husband of over 30 years, now enjoyed all of their free time. 

The screen lit up the darkened theater as the previews began. Bernice smiled as the trailer began with a familiar tune. She figured the kids wouldn’t recognize the song Mr. Sandman by the Chordettes, but to her it brought back fond memories. Then the mood of the trailer shifted as that familiar 90’s preview voice spoke. “It’s 1998, in a California beach side town.” It then cut to a group of kids boasting about having a Halloween party. 

Bernice blushed as the characters joked about having a roaming orgy. “What the hell is this?” her husband Ronald complained, probably not wishing to explain the word “orgy” to the young ins. Bernice just laughed, figuring the kids heard much worse than this, given the kinds of things they put on TV these days.

On screen characters also took issue with the teen’s behavior. An attractive teacher says, “No booze, no drugs, no kidding.” Bernice thought she recognized this actress; it was a Jamie something. She’d soon forgotten this as the trailer cut to the action. In the nature of trailers these days which gave away half the movie, the kids in the theater laughed and cheered as one by one the horny movie teens were dispatched by a mysterious shape.

That familiar trailer voice returned saying “The face of evil, will meet the face of good.” Some in the audience laughed, and others groaned, as a familiar, but long forgotten face appeared on the cue of “the face of good.” Ronald smiled as he recognized the face of Sylvester Stallone, whose career had fallen far from the heights of the 1980s. Ronald remembered when a few years back the actor even tried a few comedies. Hopefully, Ronald thought, a horror movie would be Sly’s ticket back over to the top of the movie business.

 “This time,” the voice over said, while images of what looked to be a sea creature floated across the screen, “it’s going to be a fight to the finish.”  

It looked like the eighties all over again as Stallone faced the screen, his wet muscles bulging as his hands gripped a shotgun. In his trademark deep voice, he said “Hey yo,” then pumping the shotgun, ‘this monster’s gotta go!”  Like the action films of old, bullets were flying, and boats exploded on the water while Stallone spouted out lines like, “I shot it six times!” and “You don’t know what death is!” 

The trailer’s narrator concluded with, “At this beach, terror won’t be taking a vacation.”

The words “Halloween: H20” then appeared onscreen.  

“Cool.” One of Tommy’s friends blurted out. “I hope it’s better than Halloween: Resurrection of the Vampire!” 

“Be quite Franklin!” Tommy said, shushing his friend. Ronald was also annoyed but Bernice just smiled. She presumed the kids would want to see this once it came out in a couple months.

Finally, the feature presentation started. Bernice liked it already, it had the credits upfront the way movies used to, with a shrieking violin orchestrating the soundtrack. One credit got Ronald’s attention “Based on the novel by Robert Bloch.” 

“He was a local author,” he whispered to his wife. Ronald knew Bloch wasn’t from Plainfield of course, but he did graduate high school in Milwaukee. As the movie Psycho properly began, Ronald remembered hearing about the book. It was the author’s last work before he died about four years back. He said nothing as another familiar credit lit the screen. “Directed by George Kohler. He remembered the Kohler family from his home up the road in Amherst.

Not long into the movie the teens hooted and hollered at the sight of a beautiful blonde woman taking off her clothes and getting in the shower. “Yeah, let’s see some titties!” Franklin yelled, but much to his disappointment, there were no naked female breasts to be seen.

Ronald didn’t like the outburst, but he did enjoy the sight of the woman in the shower. She reminded him of Janet Leigh, who was an actress he enjoyed back in the 1960’s. Thoughts of this starlet vanished once he felt his wife’s soft skin squeezing his hand as she whispered, “I remember when I looked like that.”

The elderly couple had seen their share of horror movies, and sitting near the front of the dark theater, they were not frightened, but both were a little disturbed. Not at the murder scene on screen, as what looked like a female form pulled back the shower curtain and stabbed the young beauty to death, but that the kids laughed and cheered while it happened. Franklin particularly took delight at this scene, mimicking the stabbing motions while the violin music played. 

After the movie they all went to the skating rink in Hancock, Bernice and her husband sat down at a table with the teenagers. Pizza pies and soda were spread out ready to be consumed while the jukebox played a mix of current pop music.

“How did you like the movie? Bernice asked her great grandson Tommy.

“It was great! Tommy said. “It was so scary, and that ending was crazy!”

“Did you like it? Her great grand-daughter Lindsey asked.

“Yeah, I liked it, it was a scary one.” 

Tommy agreed, “Yeah it was, and that ending was nuts!”

As Bernice thought about that ending, with a twist she was sure no one saw coming, she had a strange moment of reflection. “That Norman Bates sure was an odd fellow,” she said, “he kind of reminded me of old Eddie Gein.”

“Who’s Eddie Gein? Lindsey asked.        

“He could have been your great grandfather!” Ronald teased.

“Oh, stop it!” Bernice swatted him on the arm.

“Oh, it’s true,” Ronald persisted, “he used to hit on Bernice all the time.” He then excitedly leaned toward the children, as if about to tell a secret. “He even asked her to come roller skating right here!” His old, wrinkled finger pointed down to the ground as he spoke.

“Oh you!” Bernice’s cheeks were glowing red.

“What happened to him?” Tommy asked.

“Oh, he died in a fire way way back.” Bernice thought hard about exactly when it was but couldn’t recall anymore. “Shame really, poor guy.”

“Well why did he remind you of Norman Bates?” Franklin inserted himself into the conversation.

“Well, the poor man was dominated by his mother all his life, kind of like that Norman.” Bernice noted. “Wouldn’t let him have any friends, I don’t think he ever even had a girlfriend.”

“Did he kill anybody?” Franklin asked excitedly.

“Franklin you’re never gonna have a girlfriend either if you don’t stop talking about serial killers all the time.” Tommy objected.

Bernice laughed, “Oh goodness no, no no no, but he lived all alone in a spooky farmhouse, kind of like the house in the movie. All the kids in town thought it was haunted. Especially after he died, we would all tell stories about seeing his ghost at night and all such things ha-ha. Most people remember him as a good man though. Always willing to help people out, he was harmless,” Bernice remembered, “if not a little odd.” 

“What kind of stories?” Franklin pressed, anxious to hear further details.

“Oh god, we got Franklin started on killers again.” One of the teens said in annoyance. 

“Come on let’s go play some Mortal Kombat.” Tommy said as he and his friends ran to the skating rink’s arcade section.

Franklin remained, still pushing to hear more. “What kind of stories, did you ever see any ghosts?”

“You go run along now.” Ronald said, waving his hand at Franklin in irritation. “Go play with your friends.” 

The kids then spent the rest of the afternoon playing video games and roller skating as the music continued to play. After a while, they all gathered back at the table to sing happy birthday to Tommy. Bernice Worden didn’t know the band Burn Victims, but their lyrics echoed through the skating rink. “These are the days to remember,” with the word “days” drawn out by the female singer. Bernice smiled as the song played. These were the days for her to remember, enjoying the love and the company of four generations of family and friends. As her great grandson blew out the candles on his Michael Jordan birthday cake, she thought about how next year she would be one hundred years old. Regardless of if she even made it that far, she sure felt lucky for what she had.

The End

Happy Halloween! Hope you all are safe and taking care of yourselves, and I hope you enjoyed this experiment in horror and alternate history. How many pop culture deviations did you find? What was the first one you noticed? Feel free to comment below. If you enjoyed this, stay tuned for No Gein Two: A Second Helping!