Monday, December 8, 2008
Monday Memories: Scary Movies
I have no idea why this is on my mind this weekend. This post should be all about lovely Christmas memories and such, but I keep coming back to this aspect of my childhood: scary movies. And I saw way too many of them at a very young age. I have four brothers, three of whom are much older than I am: 9, 12.5, and 15.5 years older. Naturally, my older brothers were the usual babysitters for me and my brother Stephen, who is just 2 years older than I.
A word to parents: older brothers are not the best babysitters. You might think they are, but here is just one of the things they are very likely doing with your precious little ones while you are off gallivanting to bridge club (OK, nobody really goes to bridge club anymore, so let's say bunko instead):
Watching scary movies.
The most memorable for me is Let's Scare Jessica to Death. I have not encountered many people who have seen this classic horror flick, but apparently it has quite a following as evidenced by its website. I actually, really, truly, got panicky when I saw this website. I can't even describe the depth of terror that I experienced as a seven-year-old child when I saw this movie, in which a women recently released from a mental institution moves to a spooky New England farmhouse. She starts having strange encounters with people/vampires, or possibly she's just having hallucinations. Either way, the result is terrifyingly chilling.
When I was 22, I saw the movie again for the first time since I was seven or eight. I was sitting with a bunch of friends in broad daylight watching the movie, and within 20 minutes I had to turn it off and leave. I was still terrified. (It turned out to be a good thing that we stopped watching the movie, as that is the night that Randy and I got back together after an eight-month break-up but anyway...)
There were other movies, too: Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, Sybil, Rosemary's Baby. Nearly as horrible as Jessica was The Other. This is not the one with Nicole Kidman, but a totally different 1971 movie based on the novel by Thomas Tryon. This movie has everything from dead rats to evil twins to a paralyzed mother, and I could hardly breathe after watching it. Even now, I can't read the Wikipedia synopsis that I linked to.
I was often scared as a child, and no wonder. I'd seen a world of vampires and mental patients and demonic children before I was even a teenager. The Twilight Zone and even Stephen King were fairly tame compared to my early childhood horror viewing, although I did enjoy a heavy diet of horror flicks and books in my teens and early twenties.
My days of scary movies are long past now, and I've been careful to make sure my little ones never stumble upon vacant eyes and spinning heads. (They'll see enough of that when they're grown-ups.) What about you? Do you watch scary movies? Did you have a horror-flick-free childhood?