When I was a kid, twice a year my parents would load up the Family Truckster and take us kids to see our Grandparents in Ohio. Aside from basking in their love, spoiling, and swimming pool, one of the things that I loved most about the visits was access to Grandma and Grandpa's superior cable television service. They had MTV*! And premium movie channels!
I remember very little of the varied programming that I watched on these trips - mainly that space of my brain is reserved for a huge block of Live Aid, which my sister spent all of the event sitting on the floor next to the VCR, ready to press "record" when her favorite bands took the stage. Yes, unfortunately Freddie Mercury's tongue darting in and out of his mouth between choruses of "Radio Ga Ga" is a precious childhood memory.
I also recall waking up early to watch "Robotech" and "Spider-Man". And during the Holidays the cable company would run a "Merry Christmas from Warner Cable" promo that incorporated footage of George Bailey running through Bedford Falls, spreading Christmas cheer.
But one memory that's stuck with me all of these years is nothing but a tiny fragment. It's just a scene of a woman chained up in a dark room and then a man in a white get-up and carrying flamethrower enters. She screams. And that's pretty much it. Considering that short bit is the only thing that I remember from this movie, I assume it was just a pay-per-view promo that I saw.
So, this weekend I figured that I'd delve deep into the internets and finally identify this movie. I Googled the words movie, flamethrower, basement, and woman. Among the first page of results I found my likely answer...
From reading the synopsis, I think what I saw was a clip from Don't Go In The House, a Psycho knock-off from 1980. Deranged dude? Check. Captive females? Check. Fireproof room? Check. Flamethrower? Check.
And then I saw the DVD cover and that confirmed it: the guy's wearing a white asbestos suit. Memories rushed back. Yikes!
I've got to admit that I'm morbidly curious about this film. I kind of want to rent it and see if the whole thing is as scary as I remember that clip being. But I seriously doubt my library has this particular movie in stock. Maybe there's a torrent of it floating around somewhere.
Now that I'm a certified Internet Research Shaolin Master Killer, I've got another quest. One other short clip that I remember watching at my Grandparents' house involves a man driving a semi or a tanker truck. He's stopped by a cop, exits his truck, and slowly raises his hands. It's then revealed that he has shotguns concealed in each sleeve and he blows the cop away.
I watched some great stuff when I was 7 years old, huh?
*Nowadays that channel elicits a groan from me (I'm sure they'll find an excuse to give their only good show the axe any day now), but back in the day it was awesome. Trust me, kids.