Posted by: LucidMystery | October 22, 2008

How All Scary Movies Start…

Picture any scary movie or natural disaster movie you can think of. Got one? How does it start? And don’t worry, I don’t need exact details, just vague generalities. I bet it starts with one, two or maybe a small group of people. They may or may not be named, and you probably don’t know much about them. So the movie starts, they’re minding their own business when SUDDENLY!!! disaster strikes! Either a monster takes them away, a mild version of the natural disaster causes issues–something like that. And those opening people usually wind up dead. Or, if one is dead, the other is too traumatized to reveal what happened, or they don’t quite know what happend. Sometimes the survivor goes on to change a turn of events, or sometimes they are left as reminders. Think about it, The Ring, Twister, Scream, Dante’s Peak, heck, Lord of the Rings! All of them open up with a reasonably negligible character getting killed off which forces the audience to get involved quickly to unravel the mystery. This is how the movie maker gets you into the movie without damaging any emotion early on. You don’t know these beginning characters, so you aren’t incredibly saddened to see them go. But still you remember what happened to them and mentally will their fate to not be repeated in the main characters you quickly get attached to.

So, where am I going with this? One morning a week, I feel I am in the beginning of a scary movie. A few of you have heard me whine about the earliness involved, but once a week, I head out to a lake on a piece of property called Henry’s Bottom (name slightly changed to protect the legacy of the hermit.) This lake sits adjacent to the Allegheny River (they used to be joined) and at the base of some mountains. It’s very picturesque…a little too picturesque. Every week, I go out there with Ben, a cross between a first year grad student and a college senior. He’s doing some research on plankton, so before the sun even comes up, we’re in the car on on our way to the lake where we hop in a boat and take samples at various points across the body of water. Usually we get there just after sunrise, while the lake still has early morning mist rolling over the gentle waves. Like I said…too picturesque. You say can otherwise all you want, but I know old Nessie is down there, just waiting for when we suspect it least!

The way it’s going to happen in this scary movie: first, picture a flying shot going down the river (opening credits rolling, of course) the camera is moving quickly with a score to match the pace. The scene is early morning with all that lovely mist still making the slightest blurred view. The camera then moves over the trees that separate the river from the lake, and you see me and Ben loading up our gear and dragging the boat to the water. We’re making sarcastic/joking comments about how early or cold it is while commenting how the edge of the lake seems to get more annoying to walk on (because of the mud) every week. Within moments, we’re in the water and going about our work. To prove these two characters are scientists, we make a few notes about the water chemistry: low nitrates, high chlorophyll for this time of year, etc. It’s a sedate scene, nothing too intense.

I drop the anchor in the middle of the lake so we can take a sample for some plankton when I note the anchor didn’t go as far as it should have. That’s weird, says Ben. I pull the anchor up a bit and drop it again. The water burbles a bit. What was that? I ask. What was what? asks Ben. The water burbles again, but this time, there is clearly a pattern in the waves breaking the surface. Something beneath the boat is moving. I try to pull the anchor back up, but Something has a grip on it, and I can’t do anything.

SUDDENLY the boat lurches forward a few yards, since Something has the anchor and must have pulled on it. We both scream/yell and Ben drops an expensive water chemistry probe into the water. Dang it! he says. That probe was worth all four years of college tuition. He leans over the edge of the boat, looking into the water where the probe fell. The camera slowly zooms to the perfectly smooth reflection. Something is coming up to the surface, but barely as our eyes are recognizing that fact…

SUDDENLY…IT pops out of the water! Water is everywhere, we can’t get a good look. Does it have rough, gray skin? Is it huge? It’s hard to tell. It’s knocks the edge of the boat, nearly tipping it over, but we stay board, shrieking all the while. It goes back under and pops up again on the other side, this time smashing the boat down the middle as it falls back into the water.

Now it’s time to swim like mad! Me and Ben are both in waders, so we’re getting pulled down by the weight, but shore is so close…so close! The Something is still wreaking havoc with the boat and doesn’t seem to have realized we’re gone until I accidentally step on a snapping turtle and give a loud squeak. Then the wild splashing stops. The water smooths. We both freeze, not sure where the Something is…but then we see ripples in the water quickly moving our way! We swim! We doggie-paddle, we yell! But the Something overtakes us, and without even having to surface, it pulls Ben under (sorry dude.) I shriek and make it to shore where I start running as fast as I can towards the treeline beyond the scouring reeds. I can hear the something running behind me, and I look back every now and then, back the camera never faces to see what I see. I just scream every time I see it. Using the camera as the viewpoint of the Something, we can see that I’m being gained on, but then, I reach the blessed trees, and the Something cannot follow me there.

Cut to the hero/heroine of the movie. He/she is doing something that indicates they are a workaholic and really should be on vacation or spending time with the husband/wife that is about to leave them if they go on one more adventure. The hero gets a call from the boss who says “we don’t know what happened, but we have a girl here at the station who isn’t making any sense, and I’m sorry to interrupt, but I need you to come down here and figure this out.”

And there we have the opening scenes of…Henry’s Bottom: The Movie.


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