Fear of: The Shining

Scary movies were, and are, one of my favorite things in the word. Getting scared w

Cover of "Ginger Snaps"
This movie is hilarious and quite enjoyable. I highly recommend it.

hile sitting and eating popcorn was my substitute for roller coasters (which I was too afraid to ride up until age 14). My family and I loved horror movies. We watched them constantly. One summer we slowly worked our way through the Blockbuster horror movie section, coming home with three to five movies a week. Fun titles we discovered during this time include: Ginger Snaps, Ginger Snaps 2, Candyman, and An American Werewolf in London.

You might be thinking that this love was a little counter-intuitive, a little masochistic, a little what-the-hell-this-girl-is-afraid-of-a-ghost-shark-this-is-a-terrible-idea. And you would be right.

It was my fear of Jaws that sparked my ghost shark fear. But I loved that movie because the shark was so clearly fake.

When I was three years old, I watched the unrated version ofThe Shining. I know, I know, you’re thinking, “What terrible parenting!” And you’d be right, if I had watched it with parental supervision. They didn’t know.

As soon as the movie came on, my parents sent me on my way to bed. I had a habit of going to bed at 8 pm, and returning at around 10 pm to hang out with my parents until they decided to go to sleep. Tonight was no different, and it was around 10 pm that my parents sent me to actually go to sleep.

“But I want to watch the movie!” I protested, idiotically. Had I only known what watching that movie would do to me. My parents laughed and told me to get to my room.

Being the good little girl (read: obnoxious brat) that I was, I went up to my room. Well, no I didn’t. I went upstairs and I shut my bedroom door, but I was still in the hallway. Our second story was open to the first with a ledge that leaned over the family room. From there, I watched my parents settle into the movie.

I slithered down the stairs and stayed on the landing between the stories by my dad’s office. I couldn’t see the couch, so to my logic, my parents couldn’t see me. In all probability, if they had looked at the stairs, they would’ve seen my bare, knobbly legs standing there stupidly.  I heard my mom get up to make popcorn, so I seized my chance.

I crawled down the stairs slowly, sticking to the wall and channeling my inner Chameleon. My dad was leaning over, so while my mom made popcorn I got on my belly and army-crawled to the side of the couch. I plastered myself to the side like a mollusk on the hull of a ship, hung on for dear life, and watched the entire movie.

Which, in retrospect, was the dumbest thing I have ever done.

One scene has accompanied me in my little bag of fears for my entire life: the scene where Jack Nicholson investigates the hotel room and makes out with the dead lady from the bathtub.

Since seeing that eighteen years ago, I have yet to take a bath in a combination shower/bath.

At the Evergreen house, I had my own bathroom. I was really excited about that, except for the fact that it was a combination shower/bath. The entire room terrified me. I required a clear shower shower curtain, both so I could see out to my room while I was in my shower, and so I could see in the shower while at my sink. Even with the clear curtain, however, I pulled it aside so I could see the bottom of the tub better. I left at least one light on in my bathroom at all times. I was too scared to even reach in and turn on the lights if they were on, and doing so gave me an adrenaline rush that kept me awake for several more fear-fueled, sleepless hours.

If one of the three lights went out in my bathroom, I wouldn’t use it, not even if I had been holding it for sixteen hours and every bathroom in the house was being used (that is a hypothetical situation). Instead, I would walk to my parents’ room (or, more often as not, I was sleeping on the floor in their room until I was 14. Something about sleeping in your parents room is a sure-fire protection from ghosts, murderers, dinosaurs, spiders, and possessed dolls) and use their shower, which was, blessedly, separate from their bathtub.

The Shining scared me so badly that I wouldn’t ever shut my bathroom door for fear of an ax coming through it. My philosophy was: I wanted to see whoever was going to kill me. I wanted to know they were coming. I wanted to see the craziness in their eyes.

And that brings a whole new, perverted meaning to the quote “HEEEERE’S JOHNNY!”

Cover of "The Shining [Blu-ray]"
What would burst through my bathroom door had I ever closed it.

22 thoughts on “Fear of: The Shining

  1. Haha so funny …Love your stories Whit! I Know your family and friends are proud of you … I know I am! 🙂 keep up the great work!!

  2. “The Shining” is the scariest movie I ever saw. I use a clear shower curtain liner and nothing else in my bathroom, but because of the movie “Psycho”.

  3. Jaws freaked me out, “The Shining” not so much. It was scary (and a good film), but didn’t chill me the way it has so many others.

    I liked “American Werewolf in London” quite a bit. I couldn’t make it through “American Werewolf in Paris.”

  4. Ahhhh my scary movie was IT. Crazy clown coming to ax murder me in my sleep? No thanks. When I was 6 my best friend and I were playing in the living room while her older sister started watching IT in front of us. For weeks I made someone sit in the bathroom with me while I took a bath to make sure nothing sucked me down the drain.

    1. I loaned my copy of IT to a work colleague who decided to read it in the bath, after reading a chapter or two she topped up the hot water ……exit one very freaked out lady when the water turned a ‘freaky colour’ due to the water being from the bottom of the hot waater tank.

      1. So did I ………very loudly…….She also read The Langolliers on a holiday flight even when I suggested she waited until she was on the beach!

  5. Aww, I can’t believe you did that to yourself with the Shining and it had such a lasting effect! Eeee! As a kid scared of almost everything growing up thanks to a combination of Storyteller cassettes and an overactive imagination (being born on Halloween only fuelled this) I think I understand how you feel!

    Also, I still get scared in the shower – it’s way too easy to be trapped there. The last two places we’ve rented, great big glass doors for the standalone showers. Far too easy for something to be standing right there when I open my eyes after a rinse. Especially that child-eating monster from Pan’s Labyrinth, or the dwarf from Don’t Look Now.
    Happy showers now, everyone 0_o(!)

  6. Oh dear, I was scared of this film, and I was certainly way older than 3, so I cannot imagine the horror of seeing it as such a young age.
    I must admit, I am lucky, in my house, there’s a bath room, and a shower room…phew

  7. The Shinning is a classic horror film. I saw it as a kid and loved it. I was not as scared as I had expected to be, but it was a well written and eerie story. Very few horror movies have actually scared me, although I love horror movies. A few that did scare me include Amityville-2 and Paranormal Activity, and The Fourth Kind. To me, these are scary because there is absolutely no suspension of disbelief required. Such things actually happen. These movies, in my opinion, are far scarier than The Exorcist, which is often touted as the quintessential horror film.

    1. Hey, little known secret, Amityville-2 was scarier than the first one! That 10 minute sequence when (from the demon’s POV) the demon comes out of the basement, moves through the house and throws a tablecloth over the crucifix… creepy as hell!

  8. I agree!! I think I saw this when I was 4or5. Hotel hallways scare me!!! I can’t close my eyes in the shower!!! In order to get over my fear, I read the book. But the movie was so far off fr the book!!! Anyways the movie still scary.

  9. I don’t like horror films probably because my mother didn’t either and kept black and white television until eternity so that we would not see blood.
    I also don’t like being scared.
    I love this blog though.

  10. I had already read Stephen Kings book ‘The Shining’ so I didn’t find the film scary. If you really want to be scared….read the book……..Now IT is scary (book and film)

  11. I am a self proclaimed ‘horror movie freak’. I saw IT when I was like ten years old. No secret there why I was scared; Pennywise was f*cking terrifying (and why I was allowed to watch that movie at ten when I wasn’t allowed to watch “You can’t do that on Television” is beyond me) But MOST of the movies now AREN’T scary. You’re right about that. Yet, I watched Witches of Eastwick as a kid and what “scared” me most was the parts where he made that lady puke cherry pits everywhere (I had an irrational fear of vomiting. Took me years to grow out of it.) Now in retrospect, did the movie scare me because of my phobia of puking, or did I have a phobia of puking because of the movie?

    1. Have you seen The Langolliers? mini series Stephen King long short story- scary is not the only word I would use.

      1. Oh, yeah. Little metal meatballs with teeth. LOL. It’s been a while though. Reading Full Dark, No stars right now. Prob do a review when I’m through.

  12. I remember trying to enjoy Ginger Snaps and finding it really, really disgusting. Not disgusting in the “this is garbage” kind of way, but simply gross. It may have been the eerie lightning prevailing all throughout the movie, and of course teenage girls gagging while they try to drink blood in front of their werewolf sisters.

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