I’ve never really considered the Friday the 13th series to be Halloween movies. They seem to work better as late-night summer films. Obviously that’s due to the setting of a summer camp over-run by the dumbest and oldest “teenagers” ever put on screen. It’s more fun to watch that when it’s hot enough out that you feel you’d be tempted to jump into the lake, knowing full well you’ll end up with a machete through your face.
That said, it seems like the perfect time of year to tell you about the House of Death. We’ve reached September as the sun sets on another summer. It’s mid-transition, with the last outdoor activities being planned as stores fill with marshmallows shaped vaguely like ghosts. It’s a great mix of gross humidity and terror, as is this story.
Last summer, my mom and her cousins decided to rent a house in New Hampshire for a week of relaxation. Caitlin, my sister Jessica, brother-in-law Cliff and I were invited to stop up for a night or two. The house had a private beach! A finished basement!
It also nearly killed us.
Look at it. We should have known something was wrong in the first 40 seconds on the property. The four of us arrived before anyone else, having been told there was a key waiting. There was no key waiting. Very quickly we found ourselves in the middle of the woods, locked outside of a run-down house, surrounded by approaching darkness and 8,000 cobwebs.
This was the last we saw of Caitlin and Jessie.
Okay no,we didn’t get killed when investigating the grounds. YET. Attempting to walk and find the private beach, we only found more trees, including one blocking the path ahead. All of my instincts and horror movie expertise told me that this was a bad sign. Sure enough, we discovered the tell-tale Bad Omen; a weird leathery thing that looked sort of similar to a shriveled monkey paw, like in that short story The Monkey’s Paw.
[image missing but it would have been too scary anyway]
I guess as some point we also found this toad.
Once we managed to actually get into the house, things started to deviate a bit from the typical horror movie formula. Specifically, instead of a lunatic hacking at us with a screwdriver or something, a door fell off the hinges and almost landed on my mom. I realize that doesn’t sound so scary. However, if you are able to stand in an abandoned cabin and hear “AHH!” followed by a loud thud and NOT think “Jason is real and we are all dead,” then you’re the weird one. Not us.
Once we made sure my mom was okay, we started checking out the basement. We found some cool things, like a Beatles album and a Nintendo 64 with Goldeneye. Things were looking up for almost a whole minute, which is how long it took until we heard a really loud, really shrill screeching. That turned out to be the carbon monoxide sensor. Again, probably not the most terrifying of circumstances, but it was still unexpected.
I just want to recap that we’d been at this vacation house for all of an hour and had encountered a blocked off forest path, a MONKEY PAW MAYBE, a scream, a crash, and a piercing whistle that indicated there might be a deadly gas seeping into our lungs. But honestly, what was worse than all of that was that the Nintendo 64 ended up not working : (
Eventually we all ran to the package store and got some alcohol. I picked up some coffee brandy because I love coffee and I love brandy. Somehow, this stuff was pretty vile. I still drank it though. If I was going to be murdered, it wasn’t going to be while sober enough to realize it. We also got some stuff to make s’mores, and lacking an actual campfire we put the marshmallows in the microwave. Not recommended unless you want s’mores that look like airbags deployed in them.
Then night set in. The house seemed to infect us. In what was probably my favorite creepy moment, I awoke in the middle of the night. I sat up and squinted into the dark. My sister had gotten up from across the room to get another blanket, because it’d gotten pretty chilly. What I saw was her shadowy figure crouched down, slowly moving across the room. She then turned to me and silently put a finger up in a shushing gesture like a deranged Santa Claus. I was a little foggy from the brandy and a Xanax, but I know what I saw.
You might be noticing that I didn’t take many pictures of the actual house or things we encountered. Correct, but I didn’t think I’d be writing about it two years later and would need them, okay? Here, all I have left is these weird novelty teeth from a convenience store we stopped at on our way.
The morning light brought with it a reprieve from the previous evening’s hellish events. We awoke to a breakfast of bacon and eggs, which we almost revisited shortly thereafter. This is because we found a playground on our way down the mountain when we were heading home. Obviously we stopped and played on the carousel. I don’t know about the rest of the group, but I used my leftover fear and adrenaline to try and fling whoever was riding into space. Soon we were all nauseous and dizzy, and thus ready for the four-hour ride home.
But not before I took this really funny picture of a disoriented Jessie. It’s the photo I use for her as a contact on my phone currently.
It was a magical adventure, the kind you don’t get many of. Sometimes these things work out how you plan. Sometimes you have a super relaxing day at the beach and come inside to share memories with family. And then sometimes you eat mutant marshmallows before fighting mosquitoes for a sleeping spot on the floor. If you ask me, the latter can be just as fun.
Plus they had a ping pong table. I would go back in a heartbeat.