Dead Calm

There was a pile of recordable VHS tapes in my house growing up. They were stored in the cabinet below the TV at one stage, then later on they were relegated to the end cupboard in the little study room. My dad had an extra one stashed away at the top of his wardrobe I discovered. It was labelled ‘The hand that rocks the cradle’ and, as it happened, genuinely was ‘The hand that rocks the cradle’. I think there was a pattern to the stuff my dad recorded off the TV, because the only other full movies in the general pile were the ocean-set Dead Calm, Basic Instinct, and Someone to Watch Over Me, all of which are also about cheating, with maybe a ‘wicked woman’ to blame, and that being an exciting thing. In other news, I quite like this song:



13 thoughts on “Dead Calm

  1. It’s funny but I always see my life as one long decade-less strand and I find it hard to remember the different eras I’ve lived through – sure I know everyone wore stonewash denim in the 80s, but knowing this fact is not the same as being able to relate to it in a personal way… until something prompts a more definite memory, and your post has me reaching into the shelf behind our VHS player in our old house, and reading the labels on the tapes that lay in a mess there… and you never did know what you were getting until you actually stuck the thing in the machine and pressed play, and unless you recognised the actors you’d have to rewind it in search of the opening credits, never knowing whether someone might have recorded over the very end until you got to… the very end…. I remember there was a tape on our shelf in my dad’s handwriting ‘To Live and Die in LA’. I knew the movie starred Willem Dafoe because I’d caught a glimpse of him on the TV when my dad was playing it back, and I was told never to watch it (violence? sex?). Just seeing that scrawled title gave me the shivers. Willem Dafoe still give me the shivers – though I’m not sure whether that’s because of memories of a forbidden movie, or the slightly melted look his face has.

    • Hi…you know I was regretting not thinking and writing more about the whole recordable vhs experience- the labels and the ins and outs of searching and playing them. Also the shock every time at how dated the old TV ads between programs looked was a biggie for me. I know To Live and Die in LA well. It’s from just the same school really as the ones I mentioned, funny. Same era. I’m a fan of Willem Defoe though- I think he’s lovable actually!

  2. Do you know I’ve still never seen that film! I just looked it up on IMDB and it sounds really good… maybe it’s time to get over my Willem defoebia. I felt really inspired by your post – those movies and the scattering of tapes brought it all back for me. I look forward to reading more.

    • It’s not amazing to be honest- it’s very 80s. Memorably cheesy though! I watched it because the guy who made The Exorcist directed it. Thank you. You can really get your teeth into your posts- Lovely stuff.

  3. Now you’ve got me thinking of Nicole Kidman in Eyes Wide Shut. I’m not into ladies like that but I can sure appreciate a nice body when I see one. I actually haven’t seen either of the 2 movies you mention in this post. I do like 80s movies, though. I thoroughly enjoy the cheese and most especially the soundtracks. My parents still have a VHS player and all their old tapes. I should take a look and see what’s there. 🙂

    • Ack-tually, the movies were all about a sex-mad woman leading a man astray, I’ve decided, rather than cheating being an aphrodisiac, which wasn’t quite what I was looking for, and isn’t true anyway as a matter of fact. I amended the post. But yeah Nicole Kidman, she’s nice. We should travel back in time to 1999 and have ‘er! Tom Cruise can watch. What soundtracks are you thinking of specifically? Quite interested to know.

      • Women like that do exist. Be afraid! Be very, very afraid. I was just looking at recent photos of her and she’s aged well! Not surprising with all the current products and treatments available to women. I was thinking of soundtracks from Vision Quest, Lost Boys, Caddyshack, The Breakfast Club, and Top Gun, to name a few.

      • Yeah, I imagine photographers and magazines love to capture just the most unflattering angles of her so people like me can gawp. I watched possibly the most 80s film I’ve ever seen last night- it’s called Blind Fury, with Rutger Hauer as a gentle blind vietnam vet who’s cane is in fact a sheathed sword with which he smites bad guys with greasy pony tails, and returns a wiseass but vulnerable kid to his father. The soundtrack was also good.

      • They’ve got to let the normal folk know that celebrities are just like us! They too have cellulite, wrinkles, bad hair days, and normal looking bodies underneath it all. “Most 80s film ever” – I’ve got to see it! You should check out Kung Fury on YouTube. A short 80s throwback film and totally ridiculous. I also plan to watch Repo Man this week (for the first time).

      • Yes- whoever is behind Kung Fury visually is a bit of a genius. They should have made it a 100% trippy visual 80s channeling thing in my opinion rather than having plot and dialogue, which I kinda tired of quickly. I don’t think I’ve seen Repo Man but I am aware of it, and the remake.

  4. I love all those movies you mentioned as although scary they were not too scary. The films I did not like which gave me an abiding fear of serial killers and fed into my OCD were Friday the 13th and Halloween and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I developed a phobia of having my throat cut after a scene in Friday 13th where a woman looks like she has escaped the killer and is hiding against a tree and he reaches round and cuts her throat. I saw that when I was 8 and have never got over it. There are still only limited crime dramas and serial killers films I can actually watch now.

    • Hi- The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is very horrible, I agree with you there. I don’t think I’ve seen the other two, but right enough that is a nasty idea of reaching round the tree. I was interested to read one of your posts on body dysmorphic disorder, and the rest of your blog is interesting too! Cheers very much!

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