Monster misgivings on family movie night
By LISA SMITH MOLINARI | Special to Stars and Stripes | Published: November 8, 2019
In 26 years of marriage, long-standing feuds have formed between my husband and me, never to be resolved. Which direction the toilet roll should be mounted. Where bowls go in the dishwasher. Whether it is insensitive to one’s passengers to insist on driving with the car windows down when the outside temperature is under 50 degrees.
But the debate that occurs most often these days — just about every weekend in fact — and often involves implicating our own children as unwitting pawns in the conflict, is what movies we will watch.
Admittedly, I am persnickety about my movies. I love classic mob flicks, intelligent humor, dramatic suspense and psychological thrillers. Of course, excellent acting and direction are a must. Although my preferences have been the same for 30 years (I was a huge “Godfather” fan in my early 20s), my likes and dislikes are appropriate for a woman of my mature age and life experiences.
My husband, Francis, on the other hand, has the film inclinations of a college freshman. Nothing could fulfill his Saturday night entertainment fantasies more than a pitcher of margaritas, a pizza and a double feature of “Seed of Chucky” and “Children of the Corn: Final Sacrifice.”
I discovered Francis’ penchant for really bad horror films early in our marriage. He was stationed in Washington, D.C. as a young Navy lieutenant, and a few months after our wedding, we found ourselves at a Blockbuster movie rental store scanning rows of VHS tapes for something to enhance an otherwise dull Friday night.
After I diplomatically rejected his bizarre suggestion of “Dust Devil” and tried to lead him toward the display of Academy Award-nominated films, Francis plucked a cassette from the new release section and exclaimed excitedly, “I’ve heard this is SO good! We have to watch it ... C’mon, you’ll love it, I promise!”
That movie was, regrettably, “Leprechaun.”
One might think that, after viewing this second-rate horror film about a shoe-cobbling evil leprechaun hell bent on blood-splattered murder and mayhem, I would have learned not to trust my husband’s movie picks. But over time, I fell prey to his false promises over and over.
Although I never agreed to watch “Leprechaun” again, much less any of the many horrid sequels — “Leprechaun 2,” “Leprechaun 3,” “Leprechaun 4: In Space,” “Leprechaun: In the Hood,” “Leprechaun 6: Back 2 Tha Hood,” “Leprechaun Origins” and “Leprechaun Returns,” which incidentally have scores averaging 13 percent on Rotten Tomatoes — I have somehow been duped by Francis into watching scores of bad movies over the years. And when our kids were old enough, they were used as unknowing allies in Francis’ battle for bad scary movies.
It happens the same way every weekend. Friday rolls around, and we decide to stay in, light a fire, pop some popcorn, and snuggle up for a good flick. The cozy imagery of that scene lulls me into a vulnerable state, and I wander dreamily off to the kitchen for snacks. While I am popping the corn, Francis lights the fire, then plunks down on the couch with the clicker to peruse our options. Somehow, of the hundreds of excellent movies on demand, HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, Netflix and Amazon Prime, his attentions are caught by “Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich,” “The Nun,” “Happy Death Day,” “Creep 2,” “The Evil Within,” and “Hell Fest.”
While I’m in the kitchen pouring us two glasses of wine, Francis brainwashes one or two of our kids into an alliance, knowing he will need a majority to fend off my inevitable objections. By the time I return, I’ve been outnumbered, and must resign myself to zombies attacking sorority houses; ritualized killings in Scandinavian cults; the umpteenth reincarnation of Jason; endless “found footage” of paranormal activity; and every manner of killer clown, evil doll and chainsaw-wielding psychopath.
This week, I got excited that “Goodfellas” was being rerun on Cinemax until, to my horror, Francis informed me that IFC is airing a Friday night Leprechaun movie marathon. Here we go again.