The year of my brother’s twelfth birthday was the year that stole my horror movie virginity. I was ten years old, and very eager to watch whatever family-friendly film our mother had taken us to the theatres to see. Plot twist number one:a it was sold out. Plot twist number two: my brother was pretty content to see The Grudge as a backup.
If you’ve seen The Grudge, you know that it is arguably one of the worst horror movies to watch if you’re trying to ease a fragile ten-year-old mind into the genre. Minimal plot, maximum jump-out scenes, and this awful tendency to totally deprive the characters of safety (that creepy little girl would show up in the shower, the bedroom, the attic, the stairwell).
Needless to say, I was horrified. I had scratches along my hairline from watching the entire movie through cupped hands. The worst part is that it didn’t start until 10 p.m., so we came home to a pitch-black and empty house. I remember staying up for another hour reading Garfield comics with the lights on. Here’s to my brother for probably taking a year or two off my life.
When I was in grade 3 my friend Jennifer invited me over to watch a scary movie. My mum tried to warn me. “Are you certain that you’re ready?” she said.
Sure, I still closed my eyes when Itchy and Scratchy came on the Simpsons; sure, I still couldn’t watch the part of Pinocchio where he goes inside the whale; okay, I still got afraid of sharks when I went swimming ever since watching Jaws. But I was definitely ready.
I arrived at Jennifer’s house and out came a VHS of The Mummy, starring Brendan Fraser. Almost right away a scarab beetle crawled under a man’s skin and started eating his flesh. I felt a little uncomfortable, but I could deal, at least for the moment. I huddled with one of Jennifer’s six cats (which is too many cats; what was up with that?).
The rest was a blur. There were sand storms, insects flying out of mouths, and ancient pharaohs with skin missing. I don’t remember everything, but I was legitimately terrified.
I tried to play it cool when I got home, but when my dog brushed my leg I jumped three feet in the air, which may have given me away.
“I told you …” said my mum. Thanks, mum.
It won’t be that scary, they said.
October is a time of year where people look for any opportunity to watch a good ol’ scary movie. I, on the other hand, go to great lengths to avoid such movies. You see, I’m not the biggest fan of scary movies. In fact, I hate them.
Let me take you on a trip to my aunt’s house back in 2001 where my sister and my cousin thought it was a good idea to watch the movie It with me. I was six. As you can imagine, six-year-olds and Stephen King storylines don’t go very well together. If you don’t know, the movie is about a crazed clown named Pennywise (I know, even its name is scary) who transforms into the fear of its victims. Long story short, I was extremely spooked and I have not seen a single scary movie since that day (does Scary Movie 3 with the Wayans Bros. count?).
So now you know why I’m not the biggest fan of scary movies, but if you like them then great! Just know that I’ll be here, still changing the channel every time a commercial for Paranormal Activity comes on. Happy Halloween!
Scary Movie 3
My scary movie experience may seem pathetic to you, and perhaps in many ways it is. But I will stand by my belief that I had a totally legitimate reason to be afraid of this movie. It was late at night and I was sitting in my cousin’s cottage when we watched it. They laughed and joked at the characters flickering on the screen while I watched in mute fear. And what is this horrific movie?
Scary Movie 3.
Yes I can hear you laughing. But I was terrified! I mean, they parody The Ring. I haven’t even seen The Ring; I’d probably die of fright if I did! I don’t care if Scary Movie 3 is a comedy, any creepy girl crawling out of a T.V. is horrifying.
Everyone has a memory of the first movie that made them feel shit-your-pants scared and that every other horror film was a joke (or at least not nearly as frightening). Oddly enough, the first movie that brought me to that level of terror was the original Ghostbusters. This requires a little back-story.
As a three-year old I was really terrified of the boogieman. I thought that he lived at the end of a long, dark hallway in a terrifying laundry room in the basement. My dad had the bright idea to watch Ghostbusters with me in the basement, and he ran upstairs right before the opening scene where the ghostly librarian scares the crap out of the Ghostbusters. She scared the crap out of me too, and I ran as fast as I could up the stairs only to be stopped by a stupid child-proof door block. Fuck those things. That was the worst. I didn’t sleep for days.
When I tell people that the movie that scared me msot as a child is 101 Dalmatians, I usually get either laughed at or a wedgie (though, come to think of it, I tend to get those even when I don’t mention that fact…). However, with another Halloween rolling around, it is time to own up. I was about three or four years old when there I was, watching 101 Dalmatians, and the nightmarish face of the evil Cruella De Vil appeared on screen, and I lost it. Glenn Close has never looked scarier (except maybe when she isn’t wearing makeup). Crying as though the NHL was in lockout (oh wait) I proceeded to flounder about the floor, shrieking and pleading for the TV to be turned off. A few days later, I was walking through a Wal-Mart with my dad when the unthinkable happened: I saw Glenn Close! And she looked back at me! In full Cruella De Vil gear! From the cover of a 101 Dalmatians DVD! Transfixed, I stared at it until my dad, realizing I was paralyzed with fear, told me to punch the box. This, he reasoned, would eliminate my fear of the vile witch character and release me from her Medusian clutches. Digging deep, I pulled my arm back, clenched my fist, and slammed it right into Cruella De Vil’s face. Ever since then, I have found her laughable rather than pants-pissable.
So remember, kids: punch stuff! It helps!
I can barely watch as the film reel tells its story. In a pin-droppingly silent movie theatre, I sit clutching my chest in anticipation of something popping out at me. Wedged between two of my older cousins, it is of utmost importance to prove that I’m not scared of the room on the 13th floor. John Cusack isn’t afraid and he’s in the damn room, so why should I be? I decide to get up and feign going to the washroom to avoid any potential embarrassment. The eeriness of the music rises, and I quicken my pace down the stairs of the theatre. I turn the corner while looking back at the screen to ensure nothing is about to startle me. Without looking, I stick out my hand to push the door open. Instead of being met with the cold, hard metal of the door my fingertips feel the flesh of someone’s arm. I instinctively jump and yell. The sound of my voice fills the silent movie theatre, and I hear what feels like a million people laugh. My scream startled a poor girl opening the door and caused her to drop her popcorn. Speeding out of the theatre, I apologize profusely to her in absolute embarrassment. I haven’t seen a scary movie in theatres since.