“Look Back in Languor”
– The 1958 film Look Back in Anger, starring Richard Burton as Jimmy Porter, was based on the successful John Osborne play of the same name. An example of British social realism, it is set in an uncomfortably changing English industrial town in the Midlands and focused on the complex relationships between Jimmy, his pregnant wife Alison, and their friends Helena and Cliff.
“Okay, this is the one where the kids go to a camp that’s run by a Wes Craven-type character.”
Wesley “Wes” Craven (b. 1939) is a movie director with a profuse catalogue of horror movies to his name. He is most known for his creation Freddy Krueger, from the Nightmare on Elm St. series, and the meta-referential Scream series. A few other notable credits include The Last House on the Left, The Hills Have Eyes, Deadly Friend (why not?), The Serpent and the Rainbow, Shocker, and the TV anthology series Nightmare Cafe.
“I don’t remember a single thing about this one, either. Like, I can’t even picture the cover right now. Possibly this book doesn’t exist. Get Trump on the horn.”
– Donald Trump (b. 1946) is an American real estate developer and business personage, best known for being the breakout star of the reality TV series The Apprentice. He has been making increasingly earnest forays into political life since 2000, recently flaunting his name as a potential presidential candidate for 2012. He has been a vocal dissenter on the legitimacy of documentation on United States President Barack Obama’s early life.
“I think remembering this one is cheating since surely it’s a Jekyll and Hyde story?”
Probably not noted at the time of the entry, Jekyll and Heidi was a pun on Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous 1886 work The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In the story, a lawyer friend of the respected and celebrated Dr. Henry Jekyll investigates the connection between him and a conscienceless murderer (memorably described as “Satan’s signature upon a face”) Edward Hyde. In Jekyll’s suicide note in the story’s closing pages, it is revealed that they were the same person: Hyde came from Jekyll’s experiments in bringing out and isolating his darker impulses from himself with a potion. He initially indulges in this and uses Hyde to release his suppressed urges. As time went on, the characteristics and form of Hyde became dominant, leading Jekyll to kill himself to prevent becoming Hyde permanently.
“Drop Dead Fred was on the cover. Next.”
– The 1992 film Drop Dead Fred starred Rik Mayall as Fred, a manic, hyperactive imaginary friend who returns after many years to haunt his now-adult creator Lizzie.
“How is it that I can recall the Celery Stalks at Midnight, which I haven’t read in twenty-two years, but I can’t remember anything about this book I read a couple years ago?”
The Celery Stalks at Midnight was the third book in the Bunnicula series of children’s books and presumably a title parody of Goosebumps title The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight. In the series, a family adopts a fanged rabbit that they dub Bunnicula, and the family cat Chester becomes confident that the rabbit is a genuine vampire. Rounding out the cast is Harold the dog.
“So much so that I actually remember parts of it, with its time travel and card playing and Jumanjing. Glad I wisely resisted a My Sister Sam joke in this entry, that’s what I recall most fondly.”
– My Sister Sam was an American sitcom that ran from 1986 to 1988, starring Pam Dawber and Rebecca Schaeffer as the eponymous Sam. Rebecca Schaeffer was murdered in 1989 by Robert John Bardo, a nineteen-year old stalker with a fixation on Schaeffer. His ease in obtaining a handgun (using his elder brother) and Schaeffer’s address from the DMV led to the passing of the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act in 1994. Name points out that that Troy was resisting a stalk-stelk joke in the original entry for Be Afraid – Be Very Afraid!