Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Sanducky Mall and my dreams of monsters

I returned to the center of the universe last week-The Sandusky Mall.  Large malls were a novel phenomena in the heartland of the 1970s. These local edifices were both brothels, where the sin of lust was fanned to fever pitch and cathedrals that provided expiation and atonement.  This was a sensual experience was irresistible to a dissatisfied, alienated teenager.  I devoted countless hours to searching behind the mall's garish facades, prowling its promenades, searching the emporiums and boutiques and spending my quarters in  the meretricious arcade, hoping to find that one thing that would bring gratification.

There were movies to see anytime I wanted, Baskin-Robbins ice cream, and the illicite thrills and temptations of Spencer Gifts (a fertile place for boys with active imaginations.  My friends and I would go there to buy embarrassing items and have them delivered to friends while in class.)  I spent most of my time and money in Musicland, soley buying albums from the import section and the bookstores.  There was a Waldenbooks at one end, and later there was a Coles Bookstore at the opposite end.  In these stores I could find interesting, eclectic and unusual music and research anything that my intellect desired, not what the prudish librarians deemed appropriate.   They were windows where I could my face against the shiny glass to get a glimpse a new world.

Lon Chaney once appeared to
chase me  through my basement
It was there that I was introduced to myriad monsters that would invade my subconscious at night.  I have always dreamed about them, wild eyed, long haired, fanged mad men rushing from the darkness,  or giant monsters attacking large cities, and the gaunt, hollowed men and women, that wanted to either dine or me or assimilate into their ranks.

One of my most vivid dreams was about vampires choosing to live and hunt inside The Sandusky Mall where they safe from the sun's destroying light.  Eventually the mall was almost completely populated by vampires, who waited to consume the unsuspecting consumers.

Dawn of the Dead  (1978) living dead, mall, sewing supplies,  'nuff said.
 Even though David Cronenberg and George Romero would borrow heavily on some of the themes present in my nightmares, I never received any recognition for my nocturnal visions of closed consumer societies haunted by virus infected or hungry for human flesh monsters.  While I should be flattered, after all, isn't plagiarism a high form of flattery?  The reality is that they probably had no idea that they shared an unconscious mind with a preteen horror fan from  void of Nowhereton, Ohio.

Rabid (1977)also had some pretty scary, gory mall moments
Shivers (1975) took place in an entirely closed community of apartments

SO I returned to the mall when visiting my family  and hungrily stared through windows like the alcoholic, teetering on the edge of relapsing looking at the beguiling bottles of liquor behind the bar.  I staggered from one end to the other and back, remembering where the Spencers, Musicland,  Coles and Waldenbooks had been.  There were gone and I have moved on also.  

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