Can you remember the very first film you saw that scared you? I mean really scared you? For example, perhaps after you saw it you had to sleep with the lights on or keep a baseball bat next to your bed? I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours…
The first one for me was “Dracula” with Bela Lugosi. I was probably about eight and my elementary school would show Saturday morning movies in our school’s cafeteria on a screen with a projector. Anyone was welcome to come, and I remember walking up to the school, sitting on the floor cross-legged, and watching the film. “Dracula” was made in 1931, so it’s obviously in black and white, which added to the already creepy aspects of it, especially when you’re viewing it as a young kid. I made it through it, but that night, I was awfully thankful I had a crucifix above my bed; I also slept with the hall light on, and every shadow I saw reminded me of Dracula’s cape. It’s amazing what your imagination can conjure up after watching something frightening.
The second one that haunted me was John Carpenter’s original “Halloween” film. I was in high school, and a group of friends and I went to see it at our local theater. About 25 minutes into it, there’s a horrific scene of blood and guts, and that was it for me; I spent the rest of the movie chatting with the popcorn and candy staff. There was no way I was ever going back in there. Of course, my friends had a field day with this, but truthfully, as a high school student, there are enough anxieties to deal with. I didn’t want to voluntarily add one more.
Which doesn’t at all explain why I even watched the third and final movie that scared the living daylights out of me. Again, I was in high school. My father was in Switzerland on business, and somehow my mother and I got roped into “The Exorcist” on television. We watched it. I still regret watching it to this day. Not only did I have to sleep in my mom’s room afterward because I was absolutely petrified as I listened to the wind howl that November night, but even now, every once in a while, I think I hear sounds in the attic.
I swore off scary films after that.
It was the end of the horror genre line for me. I still enjoy a riveting murder-mystery or suspense thriller such as “The Sixth Sense,” but to be scared for the sake of being scared with lots of gore and guts, no thanks. I’ll pass.
I much prefer chatting with the concessionaire.
How about you? Feel free to share the scariest film you ever saw by commenting below. Would love to hear from you!