Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Psycho House

As we talked about in Episode 40, in 1991 I was invited by my friend, Win to Universal Studios where I sat in on the last day of filming of the movie Noises Off. During my visit to the studio, after my embarrassing encounter with Christopher Reeve, Win and I decided to take a self-guided tour of the back lot. Now, if you’ve ever been on the Universal Studios Tour, you’re familiar with the standard areas they drive through – the western town, the pueblo with the flash flood, the NYC cityscape, the Psycho house, etc. I told Win that I wanted to see all those places, but also get the opportunity to get out and stretch my legs a little as well. So win grabs two bottles of champagne from the craft services area which were destined to be popped as the director, Peter Bogdanovich shouted the last, “Cut, Print!” and off we went in a ‘borrowed’ golf cart.

It was dusk when we made our way to the NYC cityscape, parked the cart, and walked with our bottles of champagne toward ‘Sting Alley.’ We sat in that alley under a fire escape and popped both bottles. There was no one around, no sign of security cameras, no guards riding by on their little carts. We drank about half of each bottle, then headed back to the cart. From there, we drove to the Psycho house.

Again, we parked, grabbed our bottles and went inside. It was completely dark as we stumbled up the dirt bluff to the house. The inside of the Psycho house consists of uneven dirt floor and wood framing. There are no rooms to speak of, only a couple partial walls, but there was a small room built out of a dormer at the top of a 16 or 20 foot ladder. There was a light on in that room and Win told me that he heard from another crew member that they kept a replica of Anthony Perkins’ decaying mother from the movie up there – sitting in her rocking chair, and all. Win and I sat on the dirt floor, tipped the champagne bottles, and tried to decide if one of us should ascend the ladder to see if that rumor was correct. I’m embarrassed to admit that even a full bottle of champagne wasn’t enough to build sufficient courage for either of us to do that. On the way out though, we walked to the side of the house where that dormer was, and could make out the figure of someone sitting in a chair on the other side of a very dirty window. That was confirmation enough for both of us.

All in all, we spent about an hour or so driving around the back lot. I’ll probably never be able to take the normal tour again after that adventure. Win will be a special guest on The Unreal OC Episode # 42, so tune in and we’ll talk more about our adventures in the back lot as well as tell you about the ‘wrap party’ for Noises Off we went to and Peter Bogdanovich’s wife’s birthday party as well.