The other night I went to see Rosemary's Baby on the big screen. I had never seen it and I think deep down it was because I always thought it was going to be a super scary movie and I don't do super scary. But it wasn't scary and I rather enjoyed it. It also got me thinking about the movies that did scare me. I've also read a few lists like this online. Since I don't really watch scary movies anymore, and when I do I can handle it a little better now that I'm an adult, what I've compiled here is my list of the 10 Movies That Scared the Crap Out of Me When I Was a Kid:
1. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial - I know what you're thinking: who could be afraid of E.T.? But when I saw the movie at five years old it was quite scary. I remember being really freaked out at the beginning when E.T. is running through the woods and underbrush and you can't really see him, you just hear the noises he makes. I can remember clutching the armrest of the theater chair and hiding my eyes against my dad's shoulder. I can also remember the little boy sitting next to me asking his mother why I was hiding my eyes and her reply, "Because she's just a little girl and she's scared." Damn straight! Drew Barrymore as Gertie helped allay my fears of E.T. But overall it was still a scary movie for a five year old and I hid my eyes again when the big bad men in hazmat suits came for E.T. and Elliot.
2. The Dark Crystal - I saw this in the theater when it came out and I can remember spending the majority of the movie sitting on my dad's lap and again hiding my eyes. The skeksis FREAKED ME OUT! I was also creeped when they drained the poor podlings' essences.
3. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory - Oompa Loompas, kids getting sucked into giant tubes, sent to incinerators, and turned into giant blueberries?? That is some scary shit. And Willy Wonka himself is creepy. And don't get me started on that damn tunnel. Sure I love it now and did as a kid too, but not on the first few viewings. It took awhile to get past the initial trauma.
4. Poltergeist - Oh Holy Jesus. I was seven when I watched this movie. We were at the house of some friends of our family and the whole group of adults and children were watching it on cable. How anyone could possibly think a seven year old should be watching this film is beyond me. At the time my mom, sister and I were moving into my soon-to-be stepdad's house. There was no furniture in the house yet because we were painting all the walls. That night after watching Poltergeist, my mom put me to bed in a sleeping bag on the floor of the master bedroom while mom and Mike stayed up late painting. I was terrified that the huge closet was going to come alive and suck me in. To this day, when I smell fresh paint I get a terrifying sense memory of Poltergeist.
5. Kingdom of the Spiders - I can't remember exactly when I saw this made for TV movie, but I must have been pretty young. All I remember is being terrified at the end when Shatner has to go down in the pitch black basement to replace a blown fuse and you just knew, KNEW there was going to be a gazillion tarantulas waiting to get him! And there were. But he survived. Yay.
6. The Watcher in the Woods - Disney does scary. The mom of a fellow girl scout rented this for all us girls to watch at a Halloween party. It's quite laughable to watch now, but of course when I was a kid it scared the bejeezus out of me. I still can't see the name Karen without seeing Narek written in the condensation of a window. Plus Bette Davis was a frightening old lady.
7. Carrie - One night I was hanging out with my older sister as she was getting ready to go out on a date. I was sitting on her waterbed as she put on her massive amounts of black makeup and feathered her hair just so. Her bedroom TV was tuned to a showing of Carrie. I was intrigued because even though it's spelled differently, the girl had my name and red hair like me. But as I continued to watch it I started to get more and more freaked because this Carrie was weird and people were mean to her and her mom was crazy and spoke with a terrible and overdramatic voice and oh no they've dumped a bucket of blood all over her!! And now she's killed everyone.
8. The Exorcist - My cousin Jenny and I were inseparable when we were kids. She was an only child and my sister was much older than me so we were each other's surrogate sibling in childhood. Jenny loved horror movies and her dad would rent them for her. One weekend while I was staying with them he rented the grandaddy of all horror films, The Exorcist. As soon as Regan stepped into the living room in front of her mom and her mom's friends and peed on the rug I knew I didn't want to watch this movie. The idea of this girl unable to control herself and peeing on a rug mortified me. Shortly after Regan started thrashing around on her bed against her will I had had enough. My uncle lived in a one bedroom apartment. I couldn't really GO anywhere to escape the terrible, frightening SOUNDS emanating from the TV. I remember to distract myself I looked through an entire JC Penney catalog. To this day it's those sounds that haunt me, not the visuals of the film. I have watched this as an adult and it is without a doubt the scariest movie I have ever seen. I envy those of you that watch it and laugh because you find it campy.
9. A Nightmare on Elm Street - One night my friend Helen stayed over. A Nightmare on Elm Street was the midnight movie on TV and we thought it would be really cool to stay up late and watch it. By the time Johnny Depp got sucked into that bed there was NO WAY I was going to fall asleep that night. Helen on the other hand, passed right out. I kept watching TV as a way to distract myself and not fall asleep. I think Bachelor Party came on. Tom Hanks would save me from Freddy Krueger. I finally fell asleep around dawn.
10. Alive - Again, I know what you're thinking: Alive? Alive scared the crap out of you? I know. It seems silly. Especially since I wasn't a kid anymore when I saw this, I was 16 or 17 which is kind of old to be scared by a movie. And really it didn't scare me as much as just really, really disturb me. The plane crash and then the survivors forced to eat the flesh of their dead friends was just ew, ew, ew, awful. It was difficult for me to fall asleep at night for weeks after watching this movie. I think the fact that it was a true story made it worse. I couldn't shake the creepy, terrible feeling it gave me.
That's it. Quite a list, huh? I know. I'm a big wimp and all of you could name dozens of scarier movies out there. But guess what? I haven't seen those.