Entry 173: BOO!

Well, here it comes again: the most frightening day of the year.

No, not Election Day. I speak, of course, about Halloween, when children don their costumes and go out begging for hermitically-sealed treats and adults feel obligated to get drunk at parties because, somewhere along the way, beer companies co-opted this pagan holiday for their own promotional purposes.

Halloween is our daughter Casey’s favorite day of the year. She has a long tradition of dressing up as perfect replicas of obscure characters no one knows. (This year, for instance, she’s making herself into an image from a Roy Lichtenstein painting, although I initially thought she was supposed to be somebody with the plague.)

As a household, however, we’ve never been that involved in Halloween, primarily because, for the last 26 years, we’ve lived where no trick-or-treaters were bold enough to go.

To get to our old condo in Westchester, for instance, they’d have to march up a long, steep hill. And to get to where we live now, they, um, have to march up a long, steep hill. No, we do not look for real estate listings with language like “inaccessible to small children in costumes.” Is it our fault that trick-or-treaters are basically lazy, sugar-stuffed children who get too winded schlepping their goody bags to our house? Still, year after year, my wife Barbara dutifully buys a bag of bite-size candies and puts them by the front door so that I can take some every time I walk by.

While I’m happy enough to not be interrupted every five minutes by miniature Batmen seeking Butterfingers, it does get lonely at our house on Halloween…just Barb and me and a Twilight Zone marathon and a bag of bite-size candies. It’s particularly lonely for me, because Barbara would never watch The Twilight Zone. She doesn’t like being scared, especially in black and white.

So I think our next house should be more inviting to Halloween celebrants. We should get a haunted house. And, fortunately, there are several on the market.

Like the “Amityville Horror” house, for example. Actually, there are a couple of those for sale.

For $1.5 million you can have the original residence where, in 1974, Ronald DeFeo Jr. murdered six family members as they slept. It’s been totally renovated since then, and since George and Kathleen Lutz moved in there in 1979, only to run screaming out of the home about a month later because of bedbugs.

No, that’s not right. They ran screaming out of the house so that someone could write a book about it, and sell the movie rights. Speaking of which, that brings me to the other “Amityville Horror” house on the market, which is not at all convenient to the actual town of Amityville, Long Island, being as it is in Tom’s River, NJ.

It was, however, the location for the exterior shots of the classic 1979 movie, “The Amityville Horror” starring Margot Kidder, who had just played Lois Lane in Superman and yet could not call upon the Man of Steel to get rid of a few ghosts. Instead she was stuck with Barbra Streisand’s future husband, James Brolin who, at the time, was still working on his first marriage, and hadn’t even yet hooked up with Jan Smithers, who was the cute brunette on WKRP in Cincinnati, and much hotter than the blonde who was dating Burt Reynolds.

Where was I?

Oh, yeah, so you can own the original Amityville Horror house or the movie Amityville Horror house, which is the original Amityville Horror movie house compared to any residences that may have been used in Amityville II: The Possession (1982); Amityville 3-D: The Demon (1983); Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes (1989); The Amityville Curse (1990); Amityville 1992: It’s About Time (1992); Amityville: A New Generation (1993); Amityville Dollhouse: Evil Never Dies (1996); The Amityville Horror (2005);  The Amityville Haunting (2011) and The Amityville Horror Eats a Real Estate Agent (2012), all but the last of which were real movies, making this arguably the least known collection of movie sequels ever. Most were released direct to video; some may have been released only as posters. One starred Patty Duke.

You can own the original movie Amityville horror house for less than a million bucks, which is a real steal, considering that, unlike the actual Amityville Horror house, this one isn’t haunted, unless you count the “dozens of fans (who) continue to show up at the home’s doorstep to take pictures and ask questions.” Dozens of fans a day? A year? A decade? How do you know how many cookies to bake?

But I don’t think a movie stand-in of just any old haunted house is good enough. I want a copy of the haunted house.

That, of course, would be Disney’s Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. Apparently a Disney contractor designed and built a carbon copy of the attraction for his own residential purposes. But instead of building it in a suburb of Los Angeles, he built it in a suburb of Atlanta, so the only thing his house is haunted by is extreme humidity.

The house is billed on the real estate listing (which is on eBay) as “the only known house in the world that is modeled after the inspiration and actual architecture of a Disney attraction.” This will come as quite a shock to Miss Wilma Furguson, who has been living for 20 years in a revolving teacup.

Disappointingly, the interior of the faux attraction is designed more like a McMansion than a haunted one, with 10,000 square feet, seven bedrooms and six baths. One of the bathrooms, however, is rigged so that when a guest is washing his or her hands the lights start to flicker, the Haunted Mansion attraction music sounds and a ghost appears in the mirror.* I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure if I could identify the Haunted Mansion music if I heard it. More importantly, this means that if your guest goes to the bathroom and you don’t hear music, everyone will know that your guest didn’t wash her hands!

Anyway, it’s yours for $883,000. As for me, I think I’ll just wait until I die and I can haunt my own house.

See you soon.


P.S. Happy birthday, Barbara.  I love you so much!

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