Oma Sue's Blog
Hi – I’m Sue Reyzlik. I recently realized my life-long dream of building a writing hut in the backyard. The writing hut serves as a creative space and home office for Oma Publishing. This blog will be intermingled with family history, varied experiences and insights on being a Grandma (Oma), creating my special backyard space, as well as, my “retirement” career as a self-publisher of children’s stories. And perhaps a little bit on the 32 years I served as Executive Director for Keep Fremont Beautiful and the wonderful people who are sharing this adventure.
That Damn Movie
I have a memory – look I even provided a poor quality sketch as evidence! Anyway, I have a vivid memory of a Sunday afternoon spent at the Empress Theater in Downtown Fremont watching the motion picture “Samson and Delilah” with my older brother Billy. Within this “vivid” memory are somewhat less vivid elements, but honestly the vivid part of this particular memory has been replaying in my mind several times each fall for more than 60 years!
Let me explain the vivid and less vivid aspects of this particular memory – in the hopes that someone reading this, may be able to offer some help in filling in the gaps. It was in the Fall – my brother and I were both young but often attended the Saturday and Sunday Matinees together. I’m not sure why we decided to see Samson and Delilah? We must not have had anything better to do that day. A sad, violent biblical movie wouldn’t have been my first choice – I liked more light hearted comedies… but for whatever reason, my brother and I were both in the theater on that weekend afternoon.
Vivid Aspect: I always enjoy watching the coming attractions, but on this day, the previews were featuring a conglomeration of Halloween horror films – a spooky celebration for the holiday. This serves as a memory time stamp – it would have been pre-Halloween – Mid October – Late 1959, maybe 1960 or 1961 at the latest.
Two previews were especially troubling to this easily terrified (I would have been eight to ten years old at the time) young girl. In this one preview, there is a beautiful lady in a large old mansion or castle. She is being menaced by something invisible. One night she runs from the house in her dressing gown. She is horrified and continues to run into the woods on the estate… you can see the sheer fabric of her gown floating behind her as she stumbles through the forest. You never see what is chasing her but her facial contortions and screams reveal a true fright. Then you see her from behind – at a distance. This is the view of the invisible being… the camera pans down to the forest floor and all you see is the indentation of footprints singeing and crunching the fallen leaves.
Every October – sometimes in September – and often in November… EVERY FALL FOR OVER 60 YEARS… whenever I walk on, rake or hear the crunching of leaves, I remember that poor women being chased through the woods by the invisible leaf steaming monster. It’s the same memory – it never changes.
Here’s where I need help. I am ready to watch that Horror Film – I think I can handle it. I wasn’t able to handle all that horror back in the late 1950’s but I am ready to do it now… I have been ready for years. I just have not been able to find the movie. You wouldn’t think it would be that hard to locate the movie that has an invisible being (demon, monster, ghost, thing, mad scientist – whatever) who chases a woman in the woods and leaves steaming footprints in the fallen foliage.
It is hard. I can’t find it. I have tried. My most recent attempts have been frustrating. Hours – I have spent hours reviewing movies and watching trailers from that time period. I felt like I was getting closer… only to be disappointed.
Another “vivid” thing I remember from that afternoon at the movies, is snippets of a preview of another upcoming horror movie. I remember a woman was killed by a pair of spiked binoculars. That particular movie was easy to find… “Horrors of The Black Museum”. I watched the trailer for that movie and TaDaa – mystery solved. It only took a few minutes of online searching.
By learning the name of the binocular killing film, I thought that I could easily find the name of the leaf singeing monster preview… I was wrong. I did find out that the binocular film was released in April of 1959… soooooo – I started looking up invisible monster movies that were also released in 1959.
There were a few contenders but none that had the requisite damsel in distress, running through the woods, pursued by an invisible entity. That vivid – yet invisible, terrifying, fiendishly persistent leaf singeing demon was missing.
Oh the “Invisible Man” left some footprints in the snow and in another movie, I saw some invisible thing leave indents on the carpet. The “Night of the Demon” was kind of fun… it had a pleasant enough chase scene of a guy in the woods and even a few foggy footsteps, plus there was a pretty good killing of a bad guy – by a not so invisible monster – right by the train tracks, but it wasn’t the movie from my memory!
So back to my original request for help… do you have any idea what film I am talking about? I expanded my time period search from the mid 50’s to the mid 60’s. I even looked at short films in that time period… So far, no luck. I have amassed quite a list of movies that are not the movie that I am looking for – so that is a sort of progress…
Anyway, I would appreciate any help you may be able to offer – any search suggestions – any obscure hints would be most welcome. I really would like to figure out the name of that damn movie!
(Even harmless fall pictures give me the creeps! But especially those with leaves. Crunchy, creepy ass leaves remind me of that movie!)