Flicks that Scared Me as a Child
Growing up, I had an unhealthy fascination with all things horror (some things don't change). My mother likes to tell the story of how when I was three years old, I embarassed her by wandering around the store telling everyone that we were going to watch the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Of course, she wouldn't let me watch Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but she did eventually let me watch tamer horror flicks. Little did she know, they would end up affecting me enough so that I'd become a bonafide horror afficionado. To make matters worse, I also had a brother who was seven years older than me, occasionally using his advanced wisdom to pervert me with R-rated horror fare.
Here is a list of ten of those films that, at least in some way, left me a little bit traumatized and made me into the man I am today. And they are in no particular order.
1. The Witches (1990) - Who knew a Jim Henson production could freak the hell out of a six year old kid? Ah, that's right, this was directed by Nicholas Roeg. I remember that my parents took me to the theater to watch this one, and I had to cover my eyes during the transformation scenes. Perhaps what really worried me was that my brother had me convinced that the lady that lived behind us was none other than a witch herself, and this film only confirmed my suspicion that witches could easily live among us, with noone being the wiser. Son of a bitch, that's still true! Watch the TRAILER.
2. Jaws (1975) - Jaws is definitely one of the horror films I watched earliest in my development. I remember that I couldn't have been more than three years old when I first laid eyes on Bruce, the man eating star of the film. What stuck with me the most are the scenes with Sheriff Brody's sons (especially the youngest). To this day, I still fear the deep sea. I don't really know how much of an explanation you'll need for Jaws, as I am pretty sure that it has been scaring people off of beaches since its release. Watch the TRAILER.
3. Stephen King's It (1990) - I was six years old when Stephen King's It first hit the small screen. For some reason my mother, who had read the book even, deemed it appropriate material for a small kid to see. The first scene with little Georgie getting his armed ripped off stuck with me and haunted my dreams for years after. To this day, the image of Tim Curry's Pennywise will flash across my mind from time to time, giving me the willys. Watch a CLIP.
4. A Nightmare on Elm St. 3: Dream Warriors - This is one that I watched with my older brother on a rented VHS. Part three in the ANOES was my first introduction to Freddy Krueger and it would leave an imperssion. Not only was it my first introduction to that burnt up pedophile Krueger, but it also was one of my first introductions to the female body. Remember that water bed scene? I don't even want to begin to think about what that must have done to my impressionable mind, to see a beautiful naked woman turn into an undead child killer, so let's not even discuss that. Watch the TRAILER.
5. Mr. Boogedy (1986)/Bride of Boogedy (1987) - These were two made for TV Disney movies that were aimed at children and families that starred Richard Masur and Mimi Kennedy. They both involved a phantom of sorts that haunts a town called Lucifer Falls (get it!?). Looking back, they feature great casts with the likes of John Astin, Eugene Levy, and Kristy Swanson being among the groups in the two films. Anyway, Mr. Boogedy was my first real boogeyman that I thought was going to eat me if I didn't hide under my blanket at night. Watch the WHOLE FILM ON YOUTUBE.
6. Return to Oz (1985) - Sure, it's not a horror movie, but you couldn't have convinced me of that when I was a kid. To be honest, I don't remember what exactly scared me about this movie. I think it was the weird monkey creatures, or maybe that tin can robot dude, but it could have been the odd looking Fairuza Balk for all I can remember. The point is, there was so much freaky crap in this movie, that I don't know if I can watch it now without feeling tense. Watch the TRAILER.
7. Buried Alive (1990) - This particular Buried Alive is a TV movie from 1990 that stars Tim Matheson and Jennifer Jason Leigh. It was helmed by future Stephen King adapter Frank Darabont. This is one that I have not seen in nineteen years, not since it was first aired on television. From what I remember it was a revenge tale of a husband (Matheson) whose wife (Leigh) tries to kill him, but doesn't quite succeed, and he comes back from OUT OF THE GRAVE to seek vengeance. Sounds like it should've been an episode of Tales From the Crypt (which, by the way, that show didn't exactly help me become a well adjusted child either). Pretty heavy stuff for a six year old to handle!
8. Pet Sematary (1989) - Jesus, where do I start with what scared me in Pet Sematary? Little undead infant Gage Creed running around killing Herman Munster, ghostly teenager whose missing half of his head or...ah, yes, that's the one. Rachel Creed's spinal menangitis riddled sister Zelda. You remember Zelda, right? That freaky bitch that Rachel had to help feed when she was a kid? Man, that freaked me so far out when I was a kid. Today it doesn't have the same impact, but at the time I had to wonder if something like that could happen in real life...could people turn into deformed monsters? Perhaps that was one of the first times in my life that I had to come to terms with the horrors of illness, with nature taking its toll on us and changing our feeble bodies against our will. Or maybe she was just one freaky bitch. Watch the TRAILER.
9. Alice Sweet Alice (1976) - I remember actually watching this one with my sister, so it wasn't all my brother's fault. We had this one on video tape. For those that haven't seen it, the film is about the murder of a young girl (a pre-Blue Lagoon Brooke Shields) that is killed during her first communion and what happens, as a result, to her reclusive sister and main suspect, Alice. It's actually a pretty decent little horror/thriller that you should check out, but it did definitely freak me out as a kid. There's so much Catholic iconography in the film, I can only imagine how screwed up it would have made me had I been Catholic! Watch a FAN MADE TRAILER
10. Drop Dead Fred (1991) - Sure. Drop Dead Fred is comedy. Or at least that's what they want you to think. When I saw this one video I must have been around seven years old, and, luckily, I never had an imaginary friend. But that didn't change the fact that Fred scared the beegezus out of me. I mean, even with the beautiful Phoebe Cates there to distract me, I was still freaked out. Especially by the damn dream sequence. I think it was just the concept that Fred, a figment of Lizzie's imagination, just would not leave her alone. It worried me. Hmmmm...I wonder if my family has a history of mental illness? Damn, I am finding out a lot about myself. Watch the TRAILER.
And there you have it, folks, the ten movies that screwed me up the most. Oh, sure, there were others. I remember watching the sequels to both Halloween and The Evil Dead on VHS at a young age. They didn't help matters, but I don't think that they had quite as much of an impact as the ten flicks listed above. What about you? Why are you so messed up?