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It’s like a treasure hunt, finding out what is in three tin
sheds in the back of my house. I put ‘em
up so long ago, I don’t want to talk about it. Put all my movie stuff in there,
followed over time by things from the house that we wanted to hold on to—were
sure we’d use again, but never did.
You know, the spare hook rug, the chairs your mother gave
you, the skis, and exercise-cycle. All that stuff mixed in with the movie and
TV files and mementos. No wonder every time I thought about clearing the junk out,
I gave up. Mixed in with all this were the things I kept when my parents
So not only did the sheds contain things that were
emotionally loaded, it also represented all my failures and successes, a visual
trajectory of my life, so to speak. If I wanted to be melodramatic (hell, why
not), there were like a lot of voices whispering to me in those sheds.
Also, nothing was labeled. Not that I hadn’t tried, but the
boxes were plastic, and the paper labels fell off over time. They littered the
floors in the sheds. I’d also used a black marker on the cardboard boxes, but
they faded with time. So the sheds were a complete jumble and totally daunting.
In some aisles, you didn’t have room to turn around. Corners were just piles of
That’s why I got Earl Roesel to help me (actually, he’s
doing it and I poke my head in when he finds something interesting). The last
time I was out there, was when he found Chris Sarandon’s gray shirt from the
seduction scene in FRIGHT NIGHT. You know, the one he’s wearing, unbuttoned to
show his naked chest, when he sits by her side before the fireplace, and
lovingly fastens his teeth to the side of her neck.
Earl also uncovered the blue neon bicycle from the wall in
the toy store that opens CHILD’S PLAY. I’d given it to my son, Josh, and he had
decorated his bedroom wall with it. At some point, it had passed to me and I
kept it in the den, but that soft electronic buzz from the transformer drove me
nuts, and I moved it to the sheds. I don’t know how, but I’d had the forethought
to wrap it up before I stored it, so it somehow survived.
I found some things that really excited me: a full set of
the blueprints for the sets of FRIGHT NIGHT. They’re gorgeous. I had no idea
they were out there in the sheds. They were in a long cardboard tube, sized like
the architectural blueprints for houses, one after the other, easily covering a
good size rectangular table. The detail work is terrific.
Thank you, John DeCuir Sr., and his son, John Jr. The two
John’s were the production designers on Fright Night, and responsible for
creating its “look.” They did it with great talent and almost no money to work
with. Even the drawings are beautiful. If I can figure out how to shrink them
down a bit, I could put them on a wall.
Earl also found a four-inch thick binder of all the
production stills from CHILD’S PLAY. That’s every still taken, in front of and
behind the camera. My wife picked “selects” from these proof sheets and had a
leather book made up of the best. Of course, we can’t find it anymore. Or it
just hasn’t turned up yet (fingers crossed on that one).
I found the naked “My Buddy” doll that I bought, and used to
show Kevin Yaeger what I wanted in Chucky, the size and the mobility. It was
like finding a corpse of a baby; just as white and awful. Maybe it’s the
plastic, skin-like sheath that covers it. It was too human for Chucky, but the
dimensions were right. If memory serves me, the script was originally called
“My Blood Buddy,” but I couldn’t use the name because of the Buddy Doll.
Earl also found a Xerox copy (remember Xerox copies? No?
Forget it, I hate you) of Hilton Green’s original script of PSYCHO. Hilton
Green, a gentleman of much probity and film knowledge, was the 1st AD on PSYCHO.
He also produced PSYCHO 2. He had been Universal’s liaison with Mister
Hitchcock. That’s how Hilton always referred to him. Everybody on the Universal
lot did. Mister Hitchcock had his own bungalow, complete with private screening
room and dining room.
I’m gearing up for TWISTED TALES and expect to begin casting
next week, and start shooting within two. It isn’t real for me yet, cause I’m
sitting here jawing with you about the past.
At the same time, the future is speeding at me. It leaves me
in a state of low level excitement, like an engine that is just beginning to
warm up. A little anxiety, too. All the things that can go wrong always linger
in a corner of my mind.
The sheds have been a good diversion. Hopefully when I’m
through shooting, I can go back to rummaging through them. Hope you’ve enjoyed
the treasure hunt as much as I have. Now, on to the future, and hopefully more
stuff to put in the sheds (grin).
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