Friday, February 7, 2014

The Horror!!!


When I was in my teens, quite a long time ago, I really loved horror movies. That, is, till I saw Psycho, back in 1960.  John and I were seniors in high school and we saw it at the Britton Plaza. It was terrifying. After the movie was over, we drove to a secluded place to "park" -- do any of you remember "parking?" and  "making out?"

 John had barely pulled the car under the big live oak tree in our special spot before we looked at each other and at the dark creepy woods around us (who knew how many psycho killers might be out there) before we looked at each other again and agreed that this might be a good night for me to get home early.


And it goes without saying that I still lock the bathroom door before taking a shower. . .



A girlfriend and I saw Christopher Lee in The Horror of Dracula back in 1958. It, too, left its mark. I noticed that all the young women upon whom Count Dracula preyed slept on their backs with their hair spread across their pillows.

I began to sleep on my side with the sheet over my head. For a time, I put garlic cloves at the windows till my mother objected.


Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) is another movie (I can't quite bring myself to call these films) I remember vividly -- the creepiness of those pods and the foam that oozed out of them as they opened. And the magnificent hopelessness of the ending. But for all its scariness, Bodysnatchers didn't inspire any lifestyle changes for me.

House of Wax (1953) is one that got away. It was playing in downtown Tampa at the Palace and I was all set to go with friends when my mother dug in her heels and forbade me to see it. Too scary, she said. I don't remember if she herself had seen it or what. The first 3D horror movie and I was denied the chance to terrify myself. 

I still haven't seen it. But if I want that creepy frisson of fear, all I have to do is remind myself that there's an empty room at the Bates house . . .



What about you all? Were/are you a fan of horror movies? What movies scared you?  

Actually, thinking back, I was taken to see Snow White at a rather early age and had to be removed from the theater when the wicked stepmother started carrying on. I still have the occasional nightmare that derives from that trauma...


25 comments:

Eric S. said...

The movie that sent chills down my spine was "Nightmare on Elm Street". I was in my late teens, but Freddy dragging those knives over the steam pipes just chilled me to the core. The idea that something could happen to you in your dreams was terrifying. I lost a lot of sleep for a few days.

Alan Burnett said...

Who needs horror movies when you have a Government like you have over here in the UK

Brian Miller said...

ha. i love a good scare...and i dont think it was psycho...but some horror movie got me on the shower deal...there was a time in my teens i did not trust closing the shower curtain all the way...ha

Jean Baardsen said...

No wonder you became a writer!! The biggest horror movie of my childhood was when I saw "A Night to Remember." I was eleven or twelve. I had early childhood nightmares of being run down by a ship at sea. I couldn't even look at a picture of ship without panicking. My dad was in the air force, and we were living in Morocco on a base. They changed the movie at the theater about every week. From the name of the movie, I didn't realize it was about the Titanic. I spent most of the movie looking down at my lap. I've never seen the more current movie, "Titanic." And, Vicki, as I think you know, I did run into a monster ship when Ed and I were sailing across the Atlantic. I movie like Psycho just pales in comparison... :o)

Suz said...

Oh my gosh, you are preaching to the choir! I love horror movies...and I was 10 when my MOTHER took us kids to see Psycho...she still apologizes to us for it....she claims she didn't know...hmmm
I liked scary sci-fi too
The Blob stands out right now
oh this was fun
Have you seen the New series...Bates Motel....awesome!

Mel said...

The horror movies that ruined me as a teen were The Birds and Night of the Living Dead, the original in black and white. But what scared me first was reading The Blob and then finding myself sitting on the back porch one summer night, terrified with the sudden thought that the blob was rolling through the fields to get me. That quickly changed to the notion that the living dead were stumbling my way, or that crows were waiting to peck my eyeballs out! A hyper active imagination and horror movies can be a very bad mix!
Fun post and thanks for the memory jog! The scary movies my kids watch today are too much for me to handle, especially those Paranormal types.

B. Rogers, Living in Black Mountain said...

Psycho didn't bother me as much as The Thing...which I saw a few years earlier. I stopped seeing any horror films after that.
I must mention someone who writes murder mysteries...mm? A friend is reading my copy of Art's Blood, and close to the end, doesn't know what's going to happen next. Thrillers!

NCmountainwoman said...

Your mother was wise. Two of my aunts took me to see "House of Wax." No movie has ever affected me as much. Far too young to see such a movie, I was scared half to death and didn't dare admit it for fear of that dreaded label, "baby".

The other movie that really scared me is "The Birds." Now I love to watch the really old horror movies.

Terry Michelsen said...

I remember when we were kids and my parents played Canasta with the neighbors in the kitchen and we were plopped in front of the TV in the living room to watch the black and white versions of horror movies, like Frankenstein, Dracula, etc. It was the most fun I ever had. We even had popcorn.

Vicki Lane said...

I never saw any of the Freddy movies. As I got older, real life was scary enough (I hear you, Alan.)

I'm amazed that you went on to become a sailor, Jean. We used to sail and, as a teen, I dreamed of going around the world on the brigantine YANKEE. Years later I saw the movie WHITE SQUALL and it put an end to ANY thought of long distance sailing for me.

I loved THE BIRDS -- but seem to remember THE BLOB as silly. Missed NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD -- I was older by then and out of my horror movie phase.

But now my curiosity is piqued -- I may have to check out HOuse of Wax...

Tammy said...

I think the name of the movie was Gargoyles. Very creepy for a young imaginative child. There is one scene where a Gargoyle jumps on the back of their vehicle while they are driving in the dark and tries to get to them. That particular scene was the one that stuck with me and caused me no end of fearful glances to the back when we were driving at night. I decided to watch it again a few years ago. Big mistake. Can you say hokey? But at the time it made an impression!

Tammy

Tammy said...

I think the name of the movie was Gargoyles. Very creepy for a young imaginative child. There is one scene where a Gargoyle jumps on the back of their vehicle while they are driving in the dark and tries to get to them. That particular scene was the one that stuck with me and caused me no end of fearful glances to the back when we were driving at night. I decided to watch it again a few years ago. Big mistake. Can you say hokey? But at the time it made an impression!

Tammy

KarenB said...

Once, in about 6th grade or so, I walked home from school to find the house completely locked. I went over to a neighbor's and later found out that mom had taken a shower. I think she still goes around and locks all the doors first.

I can't watch horror movies at all.

Wayfarin' Stranger said...

I've never liked horror movies (or novels, sorry Stephen King). I'm with Alan, but I don't have to look as far as the UK to find a government to be afraid of. Nashville will do, not to mention Washington.

Jim Egerton said...

I loved all the Edgar Allen Poe horror stories and Vincent Price in the House of Usher was wonderful. Graham Stoker's Vampire tale. Really creepy. How about THE THING
Or a modern one ALIENS staring Sigourney Weaver. When that thing pushed his way out of the mans chest oh that was scary.

Gwen said...

I, too, was scared by Psycho and House of wax. There was also that sequence in "Wait Until Dark" when the blind heroine is hiding from her stalker - chills! However, the creepiest villain in a movie for me was Jessica Walters in "Play Misty for Me." I held on tight to my boyfriend at the time.(Probably why he took me to that movie!) For the longest time after, I couldn't stand to watch her in anything!

Inger said...

I think Psycho made all of us lock our bathroom doors for a while at least. That was so scary before you knew it was going to happen.

Vagabonde said...

I think that the movie Psycho will mark any woman for life – I know I also lock my door when I take a shower… The movie that scared me the most when I was a teenager was a French movie, bien sur, it was called “Les Diaboliques” with Simone Signoret and Paul Meurisse. I saw it on TV again not long ago – and it scared me again …. The music does it too. You can read about the film on Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Diaboliques_%28film%29 .

Lise said...

Halloween movies were the scariest to me. I remember when the first Halloween came out, and I went on a date to see the movie...scared me so much that I couldn't sleep and even though I had no space under my bed, I kept peeking (timidly) over the bed to make sure nothing was coming out. Gives me the heeby jeebies just thinking about it!

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

Yes, I agree Phycho was the thriller of my movie viewing career when I was a young adult. It left me with an uneasiness that took weeks to simmer down. But, my then-husband as brave as he was, had violent nightmares for a week which woke him up swinging like he was fending off Anthony Perkins himself. -- barbara

jennyfreckles said...

I've never been a fan of horror movies. Play Misty for Me still haunts me, that was enough.

Msmstry said...

I'm with you, Vicki, Psycho, haunted me for YEARS! I know I didn't have my driver's license when I saw it, because a friend's mother delivered us to her sister's job in Raleigh and then the three of us enjoyed(?) the movie at a nearby theater.

We didn't have a shower in our house at the time, so I didn't develop my phobia until much later when I went to summer school at a college that didn't have tubs in the dorms. The showers were complete with heavy duty cloth curtains that not only didn't let the water out—they didn't let the light in! Talk about quick showers—I hardly let the water get hot before I was lathered, rinsed, and out!

ruth gallagher said...

Love horror movies...one classic not mentioned...Them...giant antis rule...still love it..and let us not forget...the exorcist

Vicki Lane said...

I love to think of all those of us out there still locking the bathroom door.

So many of these later movies I never saw -- a cross between wimpiness on my part and a husband who didn't much care for the genre.

I remember being terrified by the trailer for THE SHINING. I never did see it in the theater -- only some years late on TV - where I could always leave the room if things got too intense.

Carol Bryner said...

The Shining was for me the creepiest one ever. For my husband it was "Night of the Living Dead." I remember us running to our car in the dark parking lot afterwards. Everyone looked like a zombie to us for days afterwards.