The things that scare me as a grown up are still the same things that scared me as a kid… the death of a loved one, being burned by fire, the loss of one of my six major senses (after five kids I have added “sanity” as one), and the cancellation of General Hospital. But nothing, and I mean N-O-T-H-I-N-G, scares me more than the horror and suspense films I could not look away from as a kid. I saw The Shining, Cape Fear, The Exorcist, Jaws I, II and III, and the seventeen thousand installments of Halloween, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Poltergeist. I skipped the really violent ones (like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre series , The Saw ones, and the ones with that doll named Chuckie). But the ones I rationalized as “my kind of horror film” I would watch multiple times. I paid to see them in the movie theaters, then I would watch them again when they came out on HBO. And then I would rent them on VHS and watch them over and over and over again, alone and in the dark for maximum effect. Then I wouldn’t be able to sleep for weeks and taking a shower with nobody else home or camping at the lake was out of the question (well, camping has always been out of the question for me, but I’m really more of an indoor girl).
So today on Facebook one of my grade school/ high school classmates posted a link to a video done by the College Humor folks called “It’s Friday… the 13th.” Of course I followed the link and watched it. I have been listening to everyone from Kids A – E to Conan to the doofuses on Glee (actually, they were kinda OK) singing that brain-infesting song “Friday” that poor little Rebecca Black originally put out there for the world to
make fun of see on You Tube. And I just told you my childhood connection with the scary stuff. You couldn’t keep me away if you tried.
The first time I watched the link was on an iPad and at 00:26 I reflexively pressed the home button and threw the $499 device across the room. The second time I watched it, I couldn’t make it past 00:37, when Jason comes up to the van door. Note that I watched it again. And I’ve watched it three more times since I typed that last sentence, although I haven’t gotten much farther without having to avert my eyes. At least I’ve stopped throwing the iPad.
Scary movies really should be just for teenagers. Little kids have monsters under their beds even before they know that they can follow the light into their television. Grown-ups have scary realities like unemployment, cancer and the Republican candidate for President in 2012. The most teenagers have are the fears of bad grades, acne and not being able to access beer while you are still underage. That stuff is nothing to be afraid of, so they actually need the bone-rattling panic caused by a really good poop-in-your-pants horror movie. I highly recommend them for the 13 to 20-year-old set.
I have not seen the more recent (from the past 10 years even) horror films that have gotten some pretty good reviews. The Scream movies are supposed to be good, as are the Paranormal Activity ones. I just couldn’t bring myself to watch the trailers for those films, let alone the movies themselves. Now that I think about it, I did see The Blair Witch Project and The Sixth Sense, but I watched them both in the middle of bright, sunny days with Sheepdog nearby. And I only watched them once.
I guess I figured that I would get over the fear of horror movies eventually. I keep testing the waters every few years – like by following the link, or keeping my eyes on the screen during a preview for a new scary movie, or even by trying to watch an actual feature film. Yet, still to this day I am left rattled by the images and sounds that are burned into my brain by Jason Voorhees, Freddie Krueger and the little, fat exorcism lady who told us that the house was clear. I think I have finally come to the conclusion that horror movies have permanently scarred and scared me. I think I would be perfectly happy if I never watched another one again.
And I would definitely be happy if I never had to go camping again. Scariest environment imaginable. I’m just saying.
Wish me luck for tomorrow…