Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Helen: What Scares You?

It’s Halloween, and I love being scared as long as I know there’s no real danger of me or anyone I love being hurt. And since I’m a very visual person, that’s one of the things I find so alluring about scary movies. You can let yourself get completely carried away, but you’re 100% safe from mutilation and death.

I think the first scary movie I ever saw was Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. My parents were worried sick about all of us seeing it, but you can’t shelter your children forever, right? My dad was the one who had nightmares! All of us kids loved it.

When I was in fifth or sixth grade I remember seeing one of those, “Don’t go in there,” kind of made for TV flicks that starred, I could swear, Elizabeth Montgomery, but I can’t find the mention of it in her filmography. That movie scared the begeebees out of me and from then on, there was nothing I liked better than having the house to myself (a triumph in and of itself in a family of eight kids) with a scary movie on TV. I would make a bowl of popcorn, back myself up into a corner of the living room so no one could come up from behind and stab me, shut off all the lights, and turn on the TV. I was hooked.

I was in college when the original Friday, the 13th came out and could only find one friend who would go see it with me. Afterward we had to walk home in the dark, of course. I can still remember the adrenaline rushes every time I heard something behind us. I didn’t think movies could get any scarier.

Yeah, right!

Since then, I’ve loved The Blair Witch Project, all the Scream movies, the Ring. Creepy, psychological thrillers are great too. The Sixth Sense. Silence of the Lamb. SciFi stuff like Aliens. Strangely enough, though, I’ve never seen the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre or the Freddie Kruegger movies. I have no interest in seeing Saw, Saw II or the like. Those movies don’t interest me. I don’t like gore. I like fear.

So what’s your poison? Do you like fear, gore, all or none of the above? What’s your favorite scary movie?


Michele said...

No scary movies for this chick! I don't like to see gore, but will do psychological stuff like The Others. Anything with a serial killer or something that could really happen, I won't do. But the occassional vampire is just fine, since I know I won't wake in the middle of the night with one of those staring at me. :-)


Betina Krahn said...

Reeeealy Michele? Are you cerrrrtain you won't ever see one of those fangy grins staring down at you? Bwahahahahah!!!

I used to avoid horror movies and stories like the plague. My older sister and her friends took such delight in scaring me to death with ghost stories when I was younger. Strangely, now I rather like Stephen King and Dean Koontz and movies that are spooky or a wee bit scary.

I loved Aliens II and the creepy Wrong Turn and Fear.com. I don't go for gore either, Helen. . . mostly the psychological suspense of it all. There were a couple of episodes of X-Files that creeped me out big time. . . one about the liver-eating thing and the other about the mutant cannibal clan. Ewwwww.

That said, I LOVE what I call "critter movies" where something unnatural or from outer space is threatening. The original "Tremors" and the recent "Slither," which was also icky-gorey, but had killer laughs and Nathan Fillon in a great role. I laughed, even as I cringed and hid my eyes.

It's been a while since I read a book that made me turn on all the lights and check the closet doors. The ending of "Interview with a Vampire" sort of did that to me. Anybody got a suggestion for one of those?

I save my true fear for more realistic dangers these days. . . illness, car crashes, public shootings and snipers, unbalanced-looking appliance repairmen who decide they like me a little too much and stand a little too close. . .

;) Betina

Betina Krahn said...

Oh, and about "The Birds". . . I nearly had a heart attack the first time I saw it. Birds flying around my head is a major phobia of mine. I thought it had to do with a neighbor's parakeet landing on my head and leaving an icky "souvenier" when I was youngm but it is probably deeper than that. Psychologists have determined that a solid majority of women dislike birds or have a phobia about them.

Hitchcock nearly had a stroke when someone pointed that out to him. . . after his famous movie was in the can. He was terrified women would stay away from the movie in droves. Lucky for him, the opposite occurred. Women, it seems, also like to scare themselves!

:) Betina

Helen Brenna said...

Michele, I'm so surprised! I'd taken you for a horror flick chick. I guess I have to agree with you on the vampire vs serial killer distiction, though. Something about things that could happen being so much scarier.

Betina, the whole birds thing is probably why that movie was so popular. And you know, I think it is a woman thing about scary movies. My husband hates any kind of scary movie. Why is that?

The original Tremors was great, funny and scary. And there were several X Files that creeped me out. I like to act tough, but I guess I'm just a wimp after all!

Candace said...

I'm with Michele. No gory movies for me! I absolutely will not watch the don't-go-in-the-basement, all-alone-in-the-house type horror/slasher movies. Knowing you actually watch those things while you really are at home alone, Helen, makes me think you are very brave--or borderline certifible!

Like Betina, though, I love scary "critter" movies. All three Aliens movies. Tremors. The first Terminator.

The "Birds" didn't scare me at all. I didn't ever get why it was considered a scary movie; I thought it was kind of ho-hum. Now that I know a majority of women have bird issues (thanks, Betina), it makes more sense.

What really creeps me out are movies where people are locked in small spaces. That CSI episode where Nick was kidnapped and put underground in a coffin with just a flashlight and a gun gave me nightmares for weeks. The thought of being buried alive like that so terrifies me, if it actually happened to me, I'd have probably used the gun. Which was what gave me nightmares.

Helen Brenna said...

Candace, let's go with borderline certifiable. And I'm guessing you didn't see Panic Room with Jodi Foster?

Debra Dixon said...

I don't do horror movies. Saw The Birds once. :) I do like space critter movies. Loved all the Alien movies. My husband's arm has permanent fingernail half-moons from gripping it during the first Jaws.

Last night we made a Jack-o-Lantern for my two-and-a-half year-old nephew. He was soooo excited about the "spooooky" pumpkin. Couldn't wait to turn the light out and put a candle in it. Then it scared the crap out of him. Took a half hour before he'd tiptoe back toward the dining room with a death grip on my hand to see the "spooooky" pumpkin.

Helen Brenna said...

Cute, Deb! Kids are soooo easy to scare.

That first Jaws scared the crap out of ME. I haven't thought of water the same since.

Betina Krahn said...

Oh, yes, Jaws. Very effective. Between the red tides and the sharks, I'm not nearly as enthralled with the beach as I used to be.

Also-- I thought of one movie that recently freaked me out big-time. "The Dentist" staring Corbin Berenson. I caught it late one night on one of the premium channels.

It's the story of a dentist who comes unhinged when he catches his wife cheating and exacts revenge using his professional tools. Then when others discover his secret or otherwise cross him, they find themselves mangled and killed. I've never had a particular fear of the dentist-- just the occasional garden variety anxiety, but this movie pushed every button I had. I was a wreck afterward and had nightmares about the disfigurments. Ewwwww.

From then on I've chosen my dentist very, very carefully.

;) Betina

Michele said...

Oh, Betina. I'm so glad I read your above post now that I RETURNED from the dentist. (If I'd read it before...eek!) Just got back from getting a crown and three fillings. My heart is still pounding. Now THAT is a real horror show, to me--the dentist. Though, I admit it wasn't too terrible. Until she poked me in the chin with one of her sharp pokey things! But I learned that what we think is Novocaine is actually (most of the time) Lidocaine and Epeniphrine. Interesting. And please, heart, would you slow down! (I'm usually a basket case for the entire day following a dental visit. I think I need a nap.)

Ah, Tremors. A classic. Love it. Also liked the funny Amy of Darkness, but will never watch the prequels, cause I know those are gross. "Give me some sugar, baby." You gotta love Bruce Campbell with a chainsaw fist.

Michele said...

Did I just call it Amy of Darkness? Ha! I meant Army of Darkness. Yes, definately nap time.

anne frasier said...

my favs:
night of the living dead
texas chainsaw massacre (the opening van scene is so well-done.)
the shining

nosferatu is probably my favorite of the above.

some hitchcock movies i love but think of as more suspense than scary -- vertigo, rear window, marny.

tippi hedren was in minneapolis a few years ago for a free screening of the birds. i loved seeing it on the big screen, and appreciated it much more after that.

Helen Brenna said...

Betina - the Dentist? Corgin Bernsen seems creepy enough for me. Don't want to see that movie.

Michele, I've never heard of Army of Darkness. Will have to check that out.

Anne, Nosferatu was excellent. Need to watch The Shining again, it's been so long. Psycho's a classic. I think Hitchcock's scariest. I just saw Marny for the first time several months ago. It was interesting. Tippi Hedren's a little creepy herself.

The Birds on a big screen. That's the ticket, Anne!

Helen Brenna said...

Corgin --- I meant Corbin.

Gimme another glass ... hick ... of wine.

anne frasier said...

helen, yes, tippy is ODD, isn't she???
i don't think she and hitchcock got along at all. she actually ended up in the hospital while filming the birds. she was injured during the telephone booth scene because of something hitchcock made her do that she didn't want to do. i can't remember what it was.

Helen Brenna said...

It had something to do with the door scene, I think. When she's upstairs holding the door closed and the birds keep pecking away at the wood? I think that's when she was hurt.

Betina Krahn said...

Ooooh, hey-- can't forget the recent Shaun of the Dead. Loved that!