Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Tulips of Los Feliz

Insidious scared me. I watched it on my computer, and it got to me enough that I had to stop watching it that night and finish it again in the morning, when there were fewer places for ghosts to hide. I’m big enough to admit that. And while it had a few good jump scenes — Mr. Make-Up Face playing peekaboo with Barbara Hershey stands out in particular — the scene that lingered the most didn’t have a jump at all. It’s a quiet one that plays our during the daylight — where, as I mentioned, ghosts shouldn’t be able to hide — with Rose Byrne’s character walking outside the family house and then peering in to see a ghost dancing in the living room to “Tiptoe Through the Tulips.”

So imagine my reaction when I was walking up the street and heard that very song playing from a ramshackle bungalow whose picture window gave me a direct look into the living room. I got goosebumps before I actually processed that those ukulele strums where from “Tiptoe Through the Tulips,” and I stopped in my tracks. I looked into the living room just in time to see the part where Rose Byrne herself is just looking through the window seeing the ghost. It’s as meta as real life can get — a fictional character in a movie watching a scene play out through the frame of a window, with that scene playing on the frame of a TV screen watched by real people as seen by me, watching through a the frame of a another window. I got caught up in the moment and didn’t realize that the people in the living room had spotted me and that I had become the audience to me watching them watching a movie with Rose Byrne watching a ghost. For just a second, I thought I might explain how I wasn’t actually the creepiest component to this increasingly academic scenario, but then I decided I’d let these nice people just get terrified in peace. And like the dancing ghost, I vanished.

By the way, people know about how the ghost shows up before his big dancing debut, yes? I noticed it, but I wonder if it’s one of those near-subliminal things that slip past other people. If you didn’t see him, he’s in the laundry room, in the left third of the screen at the 33-second mark.

Scary movies, previously:

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