I was watching Eli Roth’s Cabin Fever tonight and was reminded of my favorite scene in the movie, which has connections to the town I grew up in in Boston.
The 2002 horror film follows four friends who are terrorized by an unexplained flesh-eating bacteria while staying in a cabin in the woods. While sitting around the campfire, Paul (Rider Strong) tells his friends the story of “Brighton Bowl” in Brighton.
Paul describes the tale of a disgruntled former employee who seeks revenge on the workers of the bowling hangout. The crazed employee ties the individuals up and hacks off their limbs with an axe, then proceeds to bowl their limbs down the lanes. The story ends on a funny note with Paul describing the always happy bald employee who’s head came back in the ball return: “He was still smiling.”
When I originally saw the film, I thought that this part of the movie was really cool because I grew up in Brighton. So, I obviously asked my parents if the story was true and they confirmed that it was, only, it wasn’t exactly as told in the movie.
The bowling alley which is described was Sammy White’s Brighton Bowl, named after the famous Red Sox pitcher, Sammy White. Sammy White’s was located on Soldier’s Field Road in Brighton, Massachusetts, right around the corner from where I grew up. The bowling alley was a popular hangout during the 70’s and ’80s until the brutal events that took place there on September 22, 1980.
On that fatal day, former employee, Bryan A. Dyer, surprised four employees at Sammy White’s by tying them up and proceeding to bludgeon them with a bowling pin. Along with the bludgeoning, Dyer shot each of the employees execution style and left them for dead. Before leaving the establishment, Dyer robbed the safe of $4,800.
All four of the employees died; three on the scene and one on the way to the hospital. Their bodies weren’t found until the next day when an employee came in to open up . Soon, Dyer, a cab driver at the time, was brought in, tried, and convicted of the murders. He was sentenced to life in prison.
Due to the controversy, Sammy White’s never recovered and closed for good in 1985. It was no surprise that Roth knew of this story, considering that he grew up in Netwon, MA, which isn’t very far from Brighton.
The real story and the story featured in the movie are pretty similar, except that Dyer did not hack off their limbs and bowl them down the lanes. The story is actually pretty sad and infuriating to think that the four people died for a mere $4,800. I mean, c’mon! Those poor bastards probably never saw it coming and Dyer was such a loser that he had to kill for cash? If Dyer is still alive, I hope he is still getting raped in prison.