I found myself thinking about other shows that freaked me out as a child, given that my reviews of Are You Afraid of the Dark? seem to be pretty popular. Immediately, Unsolved Mysteries came to mind. Robert Stack scared the bejeezus out of me, but Unsolved Mysteries has been a pretty popular target for reviews on the web. I’m not saying I won’t ever do one, I’d just rather showcase a more forgotten terrifying show instead. If you’d like to relive the terror of Unsolved Mysteries, definitely venture over to: http://www.x-entertainment.com/articles/0970/ You know, after you finish reading this post.
Anyways onto my review. I choose a show that I like to think of as Unsolved Mysteries’ friendlier cousin. It delivers the same sense of foreboding with as a host deadpans his way through an introduction, and the same cheesy overdone dramatization of real life events. I say it’s friendlier, because the stories all tend to end of a positive note. The show I’m talking about is of course…Rescue 911.
Here’s your link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5c9e6uAUF8
For those of you who don’t know, Rescue 911 is a show in which real 911 calls are reenacted for our viewing pleasure. If that doesn’t sound like an interesting concept to you, then you obviously aren’t a child of the early 90’s. I found myself absolutely mesmerized by the stories. Mesmerized because I was absolutely terrified as I was convinced that every horrible thing that was happening can and would very soon be happening to me. A kid drowning in the washing machine? I’m leaving the house when my mom does laundry. A snake crawling up through a toilet? I’m doing my business outside. And so on. I was a strange and easily frightened child, because my brain had a tendency of blowing things completely out of proportion. Still does. THIS IS THE GREATEST BLOG IN THE HISTORY OF EVER! See? Another reason Rescue 911 was awesome? It was hosted by William Shatner, doing his best cold, emotionless Robert Stack impression.
This episode features the tale of one Stephanie Macintosh, mother of three. She’d spent the day shopping at a mall with her children. According to Shatner “Instead of taking a cab home they decided to take a commuter train. No one was more excited than her four year old son, Michael, who like many boys his age, loved trains.” He manages to make that statement sound absolutely bone chilling. I sense impending doom, I predict that train is going to blow right the fuck up.
Alright, let’s being our dramatization. Will we get one where the actual people recreate the events, or will our cast consist of “actors” who’d be lucky to be cast in their local theater group?
It appears to be the real person! This is however a ripped YouTube video of a TV show from 1995, so I can’t really be sure. Stephanie describes her son Michael as “a handful” and we’re treated to a montage of him galloping around the train station. It’s a seemingly innocent activity, but when you’re an overweight and particularly ugly person, anything your kid does that may involve chasing them will lead you to labeling them “a handful” We watch as Michael continues to gallop away from his mother and onto…an escalator!
You might think: what’s the big deal? He’s just taking his horseplay downstairs. Well, perhaps we should let my friend Brodie Bruce enlighten you on the dangers of escalators! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gwGcP8QbH8
Alright, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. The kid is riding an escalator, it’s not like he’s sitting down on it, showing no respect for it whatsoever.
Well, now we all know where this is going. We’re treated to a cut in of Stephanie talking about how terrible of a parent she is, letting her kid roam unsupervised in a crowded train station. In the grand scheme of things, getting mangled by an escalator is definitely not the worst thing that could have happened to young Michael in this situation. We get a nice menacing close up of the bottom of the escalator, where it flattens out and you get off. It’s also where the escalator eats small children, generally starting with their clothes.
It’s at this point in our story, that a hero emerges. Nathan Gray, age eighteen, on his way home from work, hears the unmistakable screams of a young boy being slowly devoured by an escalator. Throwing caution to the wind, Nathan leaps into action. Have no fear Michael, your savior is on the way!
Shockingly, Nathan fails miserably at rescuing Michael, though I’m sure when he adapts this story for his next game of Dungeons and Dragons, he’ll do much better. Nathan explains that as Michael’s clothes were being pulled tighter and tighter around him, the boy was beginning to choke. Unfortunately, despite having glasses the size of the Hubble Telescope, Nathan could not find where the emergency stop button was.
Somehow, another on looker was able to find the stop button. I have no idea how they were able to accomplish this feat, and will chalk it up as some sort of miracle. The nightmare was just beginning however, as they were still unable to free Michael from the escalator’s clutches. Also, according to Stephanie “blood and white stuff” was coming out of his mouth. Thanks Doctor Quinn. Fortunately for everyone, someone had decided to dial 911. Unfortunately for everyone, it was the Indian lady who runs the station’s convenience store.
What follows is the actual 911 call, it begins at the 3:04 mark of the video and you should really watch it, if for some reason you’ve decided not to just watch the glorious video in full. The 911 operator is interviewed, and tells us that he was able to tell something serious was going on due to all the background noise, but he couldn’t figure out what. That’s just a really polite way of saying he couldn’t figure out what the hell the Indian woman was saying. Meanwhile, Nathan’s pulled out his pocket knife and has begun attempting to cut Michael’s clothes off. Ironically, this is exactly the kind of thing that would be worse for him than being trapped in an escalator, had he not been trapped in an escalator. Nathan isn’t making any headway however, so he hands off the knife to some random guy who stopped by to help named James, and goes to talk to the 911 operator.
The 911 operator instructs Nathan to go and check whether or not Michael is breathing. Meanwhile, James informs us that “As soon as I cut his shirt…and the waistband of his pants, that’s when he started screaming and yelling.” Looking at James, I get the sneaking suspicion this isn’t the first time he’s uttered that statement.
It’s at this point that the paramedics arrive, and things begin deflating rather quickly. They do have to unscrew and lift up plates of the escalator to free Michael’s arm, which had apparently not yet been digested by the beast. Michael escapes alive, with a severely fractured arm and some minor lung damage from suffocation. Nathan Gray is one of the first people to visit Michael in the hospital, and Stephanie concludes that if he hadn’t been there “Michael probably woulda died” Because clearly no one else in the crowded train station would ever come to the aid of a screaming child being devoured by an escalator. We’re treated to some footage of the Macintosh family playing in a pool, and good god does the father ever look white trash. We also end with a video of Michael telling everyone to stay near their mommies and daddies and not to run off.
Pfft, yeah, like I’m going to listen a kid who’s stupid enough to get caught in an escalator.