When I was 15, I went over to a friend’s house where a group of us were gathering to watch a scary movie on his big-screen TV. The group consisted of girls and boys. There was a lot of junk food in the house. We’d have fun, watch something slightly horrifying, maybe even cuddle with someone we liked?
It was gonna be a great night.
The only problem was the movie: The Silence Of The Lambs (Tomatometer of 96% and Audience Score of 95%). It SHOULD have been a great movie. Everyone said it was a great movie. People even said it might win an Oscar. But to be honest, I hated it. And to be completely honest, I didn’t finish it.
Halfway through the movie – when I was scared out of my mind – I took a break and went into the kitchen. I ate a few chips out of a bowl. Then I ate some Red Vines. Then I walked to the bathroom and washed my face. After that, I stared into the mirror for about five minutes.
Then I slid back into the kitchen and snuck out of the house, down the driveway, and walked all the way home.
I didn’t tell anyone I was leaving and I didn’t call my parents for a ride. I needed some fresh air and some alone time. I needed to NOT watch a scary-as-fuck movie with some concepts that I didn’t want to visualize ever again.
So I walked home, went out onto my back deck and lay there, staring at the sky. The stars calmed me down after an hour or so, and I felt a little bit better about the world.
Then I was able to go to sleep…sort of…with nightmares all night long.
And the thing is, I didn’t learn to like scary movies later. In fact, I’ve never learned to like them, and I probably never will.
To add insult to injury, everyone always tells me that “The Silence Of The Lambs” isn’t even a horror movie. They always say, “Dude, that’s a thriller. That’s not a horror movie. Have you ever watched an actual horror movie?”
But to me, “The Silence Of The Lambs” was horrifying. Therefore that movie counts as ‘horror’ in my book.
So I’ve never watched an actual horror movie. Never watched something technically categorized as ‘Horror’ (by peopled who like to categorize such things). And the idea of watching something like “Saw” or “The Ring”? Uh, no thanks.
I’ve watched a few thrillers, and those were definitely movies at my threshold. They were as scary as I could handle, and sometimes I can’t even handle movies in that category.
A couple of years ago my older daughter, Rain – who, like most teens, enjoys scary movies – showed me an Australian thriller that she thought was pretty good. Well, to be honest, she showed me half of an Australian thriller that she thought was pretty good. Because halfway through – in the midst of some humans doing HORRIBLE things to other humans – I got up and went to the bathroom.
But Rain knows me well enough to read my face, so she followed me, knocked on the bathroom door, and said, “Hey, Dad, are you okay?”
I opened the door and said, “Uh…the thing is, my stomach hurts a little bit?”
“Do you want us to turn this movie off?” She patted my back.
“No, no, I’m fine,” I said. “It’s really good.”
“Dad,” she said, “I’ve already seen it. Do you want to stop watching it?”
“Would that be okay?” I said.
“Yes,” she said, “that’s fine.”
So we stopped watching the Australian thriller. And I never actually gone back to it.
I’ve continued to not watch scary movies. In fact, I’m getting really, really good at not watching scary movies.