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