Quantcast My Date With Death Ship by Mike C.



My Date With Death Ship: A Horror Geek Love Story by Mike C.

“Where do you plan to sail her?!” “Into eternity, Marshall . Eternity”—Death Ship

What began my obsession with her? She's old enough to be my grandmother. Maybe it's her exotic European background? I'll tell you this, she's one hard to kill German lady. She'd spent some 40 years on the sea, by herself, no one to take care of her, treat her the way only a real man could. A real man like George Kennedy, perhaps? God, I could always sense how lonely she was. I don't know what sparked this deep affection I had for her, to be honest. I only know that I have always been in love with her. Met her granddaughter once, and while I can say she had her moments I found her mostly boring and contrived. Sorry, “Ghost Ship”, there's only room for one true love in my life, even if she kept slipping right through my fingers. I knew someday we'd be together, someday, “Death Ship”, someday.

I first met her as a child, when she came to the New York area on occasion through the local ABC affiliate. She'd spent some late-nights babysitting me. At first I trembled at the sight of her. The long rusty chains, breakaway ladders, the disembodied Nazi voices that rang through her from bow to stern. Then she…went away. A victim of infomercials on car wax, late-night syndicated reruns of “Cops”, and the 3am repeat of the 11:00 news. She sailed away from me, taking her blood-filled showers, the face-melting candy, and pounding engine pistons.

As I grew older, I longed to see her just once more. I thought I caught a glimpse of her once at the local supermarket that rented tapes. I began to forget about her as I met the new loves of my life. The one's that didn't spend their lives ever called back to the sea. I fell for new loves. Lovers that could be depended on, the ones you always knew would be over there on Elm Street waiting, the summers would come and I knew I'd find my friends over Crystal Lake (admittedly these were short-lived friendships with tragic endings).

Fate would soon bring us together. I was in my early 20's, living in frozen Central New York, right on the shores of Lake Ontario. There was a horrible blizzard one night. Lake effect snow bands came one after the other. No chance of driving anywhere, my car was buried under 4 feet of the stuff. I was going crazy—I needed something, I needed entertainment. So, I bundled up real good and decided to take a walk to Red's Video. It was less than a mile away, and they were thankfully still open. I could barely see two feet ahead of myself in the whiteout conditions, and more than once slipped and fell on the icy sidewalks. When I finally made it to Red's I was a mess. The clerk behind the counter snapped at me, “Your eyebrows are frozen!” Thanks, lady.

I headed over to the horror section and could it be…of course! How could I forget her? That skull faced stern poking out of the fog, those 7 unfortunate survivors on the raft in front of her. I took her home, we spent the snowy evening together, catching up on old times. “Oh, you haven't changed a bit!” I said. There you are ramming that cruise ship like it was yesterday, those showers—still bloody, that candy—still face-meltingly good. It was to be a bittersweet reunion, though. Like any sailor on leave, she was gone by the morning.
For nearly half a decade I wouldn't see her again. I grew bitter as I dragged myself from horror convention to horror convention. “Do you have Death Ship?”. Ha! Denied, laughed at, given the condescending eye of horror fans with their Argento and their Fulci, with their Japanese techno-thrillers, and their soft-core lesbian horror epics. Truly—was there no room for rusty boats and George Kennedy anymore? But this year I held out hope…
MonsterMania. May. 2006. Friday night. The show had only opened minutes earlier and I rushed in. “I have a feeling, tonight Rob G., I've got this sense that she'll be there.”. Oh…good friends…and there she was. Some good friends of mine, knowing my struggle over the years, had taken the time to track her down. God bless Plan 9 Productions. There my baby was, sitting at their table. The skull-faced grin still firmly planted on her stern. I said to her, “I've waited years for this”. She said nothing. She didn't have to. I picked her up and said, “Let's spend another evening together sometime.”

back to: