I’ve been both surprised and in awe of the caliber of participants in this series, but of all the people who chose to write in, one in particular made me weak in the knees. It is my pleasure to introduce Judith O’Dea, the actress who portrayed Barbara in Night of the Living Dead and helped usher in a new era for horror. After that terrifying night, what else could possibly scare her?
When I was around seven or eight years old, my parents took me out to the movies one evening to see Vincent Price in the 3-D version of THE HOUSE OF WAX. They had no idea what the story was all about. Had they known, I’m sure I would have been left safely at home with my sister to read a Mary Poppins or Nancy Drew book. But that’s not the way it happened.
The movie scared me so badly that I literally dragged them out of the theatre before the big climactic ending. And then there were the nightmares! For oh, so many nights after that, my poor mother was wakened by my terrified cries and tears. Night after night bad dreams would tear me awake, and she would calmly have to assure me that everything was all right and that no evil, horrifically burned man was coming to get me. Talk about prophetic, huh?!
My fear of fire was so strong, in fact, that whenever my family traveled on holiday some place, I’d have to check all the escape routes out of the motel or hotel just in case a fire occurred.
Yep, good old Vincent Price in the HOUSE OF WAX was my own NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD!