Miranda (Samantha Eggar): I’ve stayed the four weeks. 

Freddie (Terence Stamp): I just have to have you here a little longer. 

Miranda: Why? What more can I do? What more can you want? 

Freddie: You know what I want… it’s what I’ve always wanted. You could fall in love with me if you tried. I’ve done everything I could to make it easy. You just won’t try!

DEMONS …

When I was a kid I saw a movie called THE COLLECTOR (1965), starring Samantha Eggar and Terence Stamp.

It was an early version of the movie ROOM … a young woman drugged, kidnapped and kept prisoner in a small cellar next to her captor’s house.

For me, a young boy, it was pretty scary – disturbing really – and gave me nightmares about being stolen away from my family.

Making it even more real in my world were the trending Hamilton Spectator newspaper headlines about the actual abduction of a pretty little 12 year-old girl from a nearby town, whom I believe was, sadly, never located.

Terence Stamp’s character, a lonely, unbalanced young man, stalks, chloroforms and kidnaps pretty, young art student, Samantha Eggar.

Stamp is a butterfly collector and treats and looks at Eggar as if she is one of his collected specimens. Ewwwww.

He holds her imprisoned in a windowless stone cellar that he has prepared with a bed, some furnishings, and an electric heater.

Desperately seeking her freedom, Eggar tries to connect with Stamp, to bargain with him, and even finally to seduce him, but ultimately fails.

Many weeks go by, and the reality dawns on Eggar of just how unstable Stamp is and that she will never leave alive.

While being taken from the house to the cellar in the rain, she seizes a nearby shovel and strikes Stamp in the head with it. Wounded and angry, he manages to pull her back into the cellar, breaking the heater during their struggles.

For three days, Eggar remains locked in the cold cellar, soaking wet.

Stamp finally reappears to find her terribly ill, and he goes into town to get her medicine.

When he returns, Eggar lies dead.

The eerie final scene shows Stamp back behind the wheel of his van – collecting, once again – stalking a young nurse.

Collector Van

ANGELS …

As a kid, I was a collector too.

NO, not THAT type of collector. A far more innocent type of collector.

And not a hoarder either … a collector.

Stamps, coins, hockey cards, Leon Uris books, fluorescent wall posters, 1967 Centennial memorabilia, fireworks. My head was filled with excited dreams of riches and future palaces based on my shrewd collecting prowess.

I’m pretty sure I would have collected chocolate too but somehow it never seemed to escape my wee hungry eyes and tummy. Come to think of it, fireworks never seemed to stick around long either in my eager little pyro hands. BOOM!

I spent many hours organizing my coins into various collector books and albums with plastic paper bill slots. My “mint” condition olive green Canadian King George $20 bills were handled gently so as not to bend edges or dirty the cotton paper.

King George $20 bill

My hockey cards were alphabetized and grouped into singles, doubles and triples. The “traders” were set aside for taking to school for attempts at swapping Davey Keon for Frank Mahovlich, or Gordie Howe for Stan Mikita.

Those riches and palaces?

The coins and bills I thought would bring me future millions of dollars are currently worth only pennies more than their face value. The $20 bill above that I loved so much as an 11 year-old would probably fetch a full $25 at the local collector’s store today.

When I rummage through my old collections now, I reluctantly realize my “serious” attempts were really just child’s play. Collecting things was one small facet of my childhood fun and distraction from the devil’s work.

And it was far more productive and filled with imaginative substance than so many alternatives.

Alternatives like walking my neighbourhood streets with friends Kevin, Renato or Jerome, searching for half-smoked cigarette stubs – cautiously avoiding any with lipstick residue –  pitched to the curb by the plethora of smokers of the day.

We’d gather up the barely-used cancer sticks and cart them off on our Good Friday hikes to the Devil’s Punchbowl for an afternoon of campfire beans, nausea-inducing but very grown-up smoking, and boyish chatter about the giggly pony-tailed sweeties from our Grade 5 classrooms. Devil’s work.

I often wonder sometimes. OK, occasionally. Rarely …

Do everyday people collect things anymore? Do you?

I know there are many avid collectors of one sort or another out there today given the sales of EBay and similar auction sites. But that is collecting of a more serious, adult nature with big bucks involved. Not kids’ play.

I don’t really encounter people of my kids’, the Generation-X or Generation-Y cohort, that collect things.

Maybe the all-encompassing phenomenon of iPhones and Xbox One’s and PlayStation 4’s just dug a big hole in the backyard and buried the pastime of collecting.

Moms of my generation were happy when we kids were occupied and out of their hair.

Kids disappeared after breakfast, showed up for supper, and again when the streetlights came on, and whatever we had been doing in-between was pretty much our own business.

So long as the police were never called, there was family and neighbourhood harmony.

We didn’t really know or understand it at the time but collecting stuff was a positive childhood way of making our demons dance with our angels.

Dancing angels

 

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