Comedian Erin Conroy: May 2011

Comedian Erin Conroy

Thursday, May 05, 2011

"Reality Leaves A Lot To The Imagination"

That is a quote from John Lennon. Thanks, Google! Oh, and thanks John Lennon.

I was thinking about reality the other day. Not in a grand, existential way pe
rtaining to the meaning of life, or anything. No, I have been preoccupied with a much simpler and more personal questioning of reality. Namely: there are a LOT of movies from my childhood that I've been worried I dreamed up, because no one else seems to know they exist.

Has that ever happened to you? It happens to me ALL THE TIME. Partly because my siblings and I were raised on television, so we've seen a butt-load of movies and TV shows that normal, healthier children may have missed while they were outside playing with friends. I also happen to have a super good memory, so I remember a lot of the movies I've seen (not to mention the books I've read and the murders I've witnessed) very very clearly.

But then when I mention these movie or TV shows to people my age, and I just get a blank stare in return, I start to worry that I imagined them. Even now, at the age of 30, I find myself disappearing into elaborate daydreams that I whip up at the mention of anything remotely intriguing. "Erin, there's donuts in the breakroom..." someone at work will say to me. And then I'm off - probably fighting crime in some dystopian future where donuts eat humans.

So I decided to end the speculation and look these movies up once and for all. It is with great relief that I can report that these movies have in fact been made, and most likely watched by someone other than the Conroy kids:

Unico (1981, 1983)
Oh, these Japanese mind trips! There are two Unico movies that I remember seeing, one was "The Island of Magic" and one was "The Fantastic Adventure of Unico". Between the bizarre storylines (Princess turned into a cat because she was being mouthy? Normal) and the creepy Japanese animation, I was both fascinated and horrified by these movies as a child. And they haunted me well into adulthood - I mean look at this crazy f*ck:
That is Kuruku - some evil wizard thing intent on killing Unico for whatever reason. But you better believe he was in my nightmares for years. Googling his picture just now has left me feeling very uneasy. On to a better movie!

The Halloween That Almost Wasn't (1979)
1979? That's even older than I thought. Anyhoodles, this absolutely perfect made-for-TV special remains one of my favorite things ever. It's got terrible special effects! It's got puns! It's got Judd Hirsch starring as an effeminate Dracula! What else do you NEED?!? The plot revolves around a witch threatening to cancel Halloween by not flying her broom across the moon. OK, because that's ever been a thing anywhere. But all the monsters get together to try and figure out how to save Halloween. Will they succeed in time? Of course. Oh, and that mess wraps up with a disco party.

The Watcher in the Woods (1980)
Oh man, this movie. It was actually a pretty creepy movie, considering it was a Disney "horror" movie. A young woman goes missing, and then 30 years later, a new American family moves into the girl's old English house. What's happening? A haunting? A possession? Something unholy with Bette Davis' hair?!?!The one really lasting effect this movie hand on my family was that the star, Lynn-Holly Johnson, quickly became my sister's favorite actress. Shannon loved her, and joined her fan club and everything. She did some other Disney movie about ice skating, and then some small parts in TV shows and stuff. And then, she just disappeared. For like, 10 years - no movies, no TV, no nothing. Shannon was devastated. And suspicious - she hatched this rambling conspiracy theory that Disney "took care of Lynn-Holly Johnson" because she refused to do any more of their movies. She was adamant - writing letters to the Disney Channel demanding to know what they did with her, threatening to go to the press, etc. Of course, a quick search of shows that she is indeed alive and well, and even still acting. Try explaining that to my sister though, who will tell you quite seriously that her letters undoubtedly played a part in Lynn-Holly Johnson's release. Then she will tell you to stop bringing it up, because it embarrasses her and our neighbor's kid's bris isn't the place to talk about it anyways.

Wedlock (1991)
First of all - Wedlock? I could have sworn this movie was called Deadlock. Deadlock would have made more sense - and I'll tell you why. This movie takes place in the prison of the future - where there are no walls, no guards, and NO ESCAPE. Because each inmate is deadlocked (Yeah, this definitely used to be called "Deadlock") to another inmate: they have explosive collars rigged around their necks, and if they and their deadlock partner are separated by more than 100 yards (or whatever), they collars are engaged and they get their damn heads blown off!! It's amazing. It's amazing, and it starred Rutger Hauer, who is also amazing. I don't think I can even properly do this movie justice, so please do be turning your attention to the trailer:

I don't want to say that "IT'LL BLOW YOUR MIND" is the most clever and most appropriate movie tagline of all time, but I don't NOT want to say it either.