Posts Tagged ‘Psycho’

No Gein II: A Second Helping 

Chapter Seven: Psycho II

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 Norman Bates’s house looked exactly as it did from the first Psycho, from the creaky wooden steps to the outdated antique furniture.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. He flipped his phone open to give 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 higher ups nervous. The slasher genre was revived due to 98’s Psycho, 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 the studio 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.”

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

“Are you shitting me?” George almost jumped out of his seat at the news. 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. 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. “Talbot, is that you?” When he called the name of the security Chief, there was still no answer.

As he walked up the creaky steps he heard no other sound. He thought maybe he just heard the wind. When he got to the top of the steps, there was that smell, 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. This was a nod to Bloch’s old friend 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 wreslted 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 also 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 noticed a manilla folder resting on the bookshelf. Was this some sort of oversight? Upon closer look, it has his name written on it in red ink. At least it looked like red ink at first. As he picked it up to give it a closer look, it appeared his name had been written in blood. George’s hands trembled as he opened the folder, and what was inside was even more disturbing. George now knew he officially had a stalker. There were photos of himself at the beach with his girlfriend. What worried him even more, there 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 onto the dark under the bed and his hand felt cold steel. He pulled out a can of kerosene. As he knelt down 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 angirly. “You’re fucking with my movie, I’m gonna kill you!” Then he heard the sound of a door creaking. He turned to see it was mother’s closet. He saw a slender arm, it was laying on the ground, dead still. He rushed over to the door, fearing the truth he already knew in his gut. Pushing the door open 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 youngins. 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 his 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. Thought’s 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 and songs of the recently passed decade.

“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-daugther 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? Lyndsey 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 haha. 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!