Chiller: (n) short for spine-chiller.
My parents tried.
As I get older, I vaguely understand that my mother and father attempted to comprehend what was in the mind of a thirteen-year-old boy.
They didn’t do well–that’s why I used the word “tried.” Maybe I should have added “and failed.”
But once a month they would let me have some friends over to spend the night on Friday evening, and after my parents went to bed, we would gather in front of the only television in the house, which happened to be in the living room, and watch “Chiller Theater.”
The movies weren’t really scary–they were 1930′ or 1940’s ilk, chocked-full of silly props and plagued with over-acting.
But with seven or eight young boys in a dark house, poking each other and wrestling, the experience soon turned into a scream fest.
My father would appear from the bedroom, which was adjacent to the living room in our tiny bungalow, and mutter something to the effect of, “You boys need to keep it down.” But my recollection of how it sounded in my ears was: “Youwse keep the clown.”
So since the order was vague, we would quiet ourselves for a small period of time, and soon be right back to the decibels necessary to make us feel like we were really partying.
I think my parents hated “Chiller Theater” night. This was proven by the fact that they always insisted, when the fourth Friday came around, that I had added incorrectly, and it wouldn’t be until next week. Unfortunately for them, I carried a calendar with me and pointed out their mistake.
So when I hear the word “chiller,” I think of six or seven pubescent and pre-pubescent boys gathered in a tiny living room, wrestling, trying desperately not to knock over furniture, while screaming just enough to prove that we were the true “Monsters of Might” instead of those displayed on the screen before us.