Life is full of tantalizing mysteries… How did they build the Pyramids? What are UFOs? Is there an afterlife? And how did Lipstick Jungle get a second season? Okay, some of those are perhaps not quite so tantalizing, but I’m ignoring them all anyway in order to concentrate on some of horror history’s most intriguing unsolved mysteries… Well, they wouldn’t be mysteries if they had been solved, would they? Let’s kick off with a classic conundrum from the Friday the 13th series…
CASE #1: The Rat Piddle Riddle
We all know what happens every time you find an apparently safe hiding place whilst on the run from a deranged killer… Yes, a snake, tarantula or other creepy creature of some description will appear from nowhere and proceed to crawl all over your face. This will force you, not only to stifle your cries of terror at being chased by a killer in the first place, but also to keep a stiff upper lip (quite literally) in the face (again, quite literally) of something else almost equally unpleasant.
In the case of Friday the 13th Part 2, it’s poor final girl Ginny who comes face-to-face with a stinking, suspense-inducing rat whilst hiding from Jason Voorhies under a bed. But Ginny’s hide-and-don’t-shriek moment is famous for another reason – the combined shock of a sack-headed Jason and a smelly rodent causes her to have a little accident, and said accident is shown dribbling out from under the bed, forming a puddle of pure shame on the pinewood flooring…
OR IS IT?! Director Steve Miner has since claimed it was the rat with the bladder problem, forcing legions of slasher fans to question the identity of the mysterious pisser – and possibly their own sanity. It’s true: Ginny doesn’t seem to have the tell-tale wet-patch we all remember from school when she stands up. But it’s also true that the pee-pee comes from the bottom of the bed, when the rat is up at the other end gnawing at Ginny’s head (well, potentially). But who knows? Maybe rats are able to cover a surprising distance with their lavatorial antics. I wouldn’t put it past them. Only one thing seems certain, however: we may never be certain who really did the business in Friday the 13th Part 2.
CASE #2: The Puzzle of the Absent Author
While Stephen King can’t write a note to the milkman without TV networks queuing up to turn it into a miniseries, it seems that some other genre specialists are lagging behind in the movie adaptation stakes. But while some of these, such as Jack Ketchum, have started seeing interest from the studios in recent years, one genuine giant of the horror literature field has yet to have a single movie based on one of his books.
Richard Laymon’s clever yet streamlined narratives read almost like ready-made slasher movie scripts: there’s the pre-Haute Tension home-invasion horrors of 1993’s Endless Night; backwoods slasher books like No Sanctuary (2001); and even a campsite massacre with sorority house flashbacks in the shape of 1992’s Blood Games. But none have yet made the leap from page to screen… Well, actually, there is one borderline case – a low-budget take on In the Night (1994) that Laymon himself was apparently impressed by, but which has yet to see a release and doesn’t even have an entry on the Internet Movie Database. So what’s the deal? Is the estate of the sadly now deceased author sitting on all the rights? Are Laymon’s tales of terror simply too nasty to film? Or is it simply a case of no one having the guts to take a stab at it?