This is my mom’s favorite story:
I was ten and my brother was thirteen. We were headed into Manhattan with our mom for a trip to the Museum of Natural History.
We took the train from central Jersey into Penn Station, near 33rd. The museum is up near 80th. The plan was to take the subway from Penn Station to the subway station just below the museum.
It was a good plan, mainly because it was raining cats and dogs. Pouring buckets. The skies had opened. Pick your cliché – it was doing it that day.
But what my mother didn’t know was that a week earlier, my father had let me watch a horror movie called C.H.U.D., set in New York City. And the monsters? Yeah, they lived in the subway tunnels, and they preyed on unsuspecting pedestrians.
And please, let’s set the scene for real. This was late-80s New York. Before Giuliani’s Disnification of Times Square and his war on the homeless. The streets were dirtier back then, grittier. I found the city a little overwhelming on a good day.
So, add to that the drama of a Really Scary Movie and, well…I sort of refused to set foot in the subway.
I got dragged onto the first train.
I kicked. I screamed. I howled. All under the guise of a headache, massively exacerbated by the noisy subway system. People stared! And my poor mother had no idea of the real cause. She was legitimately concerned and horrified about my headache.
I got dragged off the train somewhere around 50th, still wailing and terrified, and we walked the remaining 30 blocks to the museum. In the pouring rain. We got drenched and were all-around miserable.
All thanks to C.H.U.D.
I waited fifteen years to tell her the true cause of my meltdown. I don’t think she’s forgiven me, to this day.
My husband and I watched C.H.U.D. together not long ago; he surprised me with a DVD copy of it after hearing this story for the fiftieth time. With classic actors like John Heard and Daniel Stern (he’s the grown-up Kevin Arnold!!), you know it has to be good. Right?
Right. I love it. It’s got mutated homeless people eating their brethren. Toxic waste. Unexplained murders. And a GREAT frizzy perm. Really! It has everything I love in a classic 80s horror flick.
And the best part is this: The monsters? They have glowing yellow eyes that look suspiciously like LED light bulbs. Very scary stuff.
Alright. All snark aside, Little Leah was terrified of this movie; Big Leah is not. Big Leah likes to laugh at it, a lot. So, like most B-horror flicks, it definitely does not pass the Passage of Time test.
But I promise: next time I’m gonna watch something that does. I just have to find one that works.