This morning we shared the exciting news that we have a special guest editor for the week: Stacy Title, the director of The Bye Bye Man, opening this Friday the 13th. Distributor STX reached out to us about allowing Title to share stories and inspirations behind her haunter, and we thought it would be a fun way to introduce her to you guys. In her first editorial, Title shares her favorite boogeyman…
There’s a pantheon I dream The Bye Bye Man can join. That big group in the sky and hell of Michael Myers, Jason, Freddy, the Candyman and the Devil. The great boogeymen. That said, the boogeyman that scared me the most growing up was no man. She was Victoria, played by the divine Barbara Steele in Silent Scream.
It was 1979. I was 15. As per normal, my friend Shari and I parked our bikes at the Plainview Theater and persuaded someone to buy us tickets for the R-rated horror movie we were dying to see. And there began my love and hate of being terrified.
This is a difficult to find 1970’s slasher. That was clearly devised and came hard and fast upon the success of Halloween. I just recently found out that they fully reshot The Silent Scream, adding the fabulous rogues Cameron Mitchell and Avery Schreiber! As stellar police detectives! You’ll crave more of these two who only interact briefly with the young leads in one scene. And the director, Denny Harris, never made anything else.
Our main character Scotty is a young woman played by the delightful Rebecca Balding. Scotty is late to arrive at her new college UC Santa Barbara to register and is told by a sour University Dean that since she’s late, there’s no more housing on campus and she will now have to check out a list of area residents who rent out bedrooms. Too bad for young Scotty because she picks the house with a secret. Of course, there are three other students living there, more bodies to kill. This sounds like a B-movie. Which it is. But it has many delights most owing to a brilliant Barbara Steele.
As Steele knocks off the co-eds, we finally see her and learn her tragic backstory. It’s chilling when she shushes one corpse she has dressed doll-like in a wedding gown or when she vigorously stabs another. In one scene, the other family members collude by holding a co-ed down, and it is downright awful. Why does Victoria scare me so much? Is it because she is a fully realized psychopath? Because there’s a piece of me deep down that relates to her rage? I’m not sure. Victoria connects to classic boogeymen in that, she is waiting in the shadows for you, in that she wields a sharp weapon to kill you, in that she is relentless and prodigious and gleeful in her homicide. In the end of Silent Scream our fabulous reshoot detectives come to the rescue. OMG I loved this movie…it scared the piss out of me.
But the story continues for young Stacy Title. After the movie was over Shari and I went to the House of Pancakes where that big, old IHOP gold pot of coffee was beckoning on the table. I sucked it down. I had, until this night, limited experience with coffee…so the effect was like taking a powerful amphetamine. I was BUZZING. We were also jazzed and hyped up about the movie. I rode home very fast. Miraculously, I fell asleep. And then at 3 a.m. I woke up. Victoria was in my closet. Staring at me. I saw her there, with her knife! I was paralyzed. I am not sure how long I stayed there, looking at her evil face that was ready to kill me, but finally I leaped out of bed and ran upstairs to wake my parents. My Dad was ripshit. Accused me of being on drugs. He was right. Caffeine and Barbara Steele.