I hate horror movies. I have hated them since the first one I’d ever seen as a kid, and I haven’t seen a lot of them. My parents are firm believers in the movie rating system, and my mom detests scary films. It doesn’t make sense to me in the slightest that someone would pay money to have their wits blasted out of their brains in fright. Nowadays, I watch about 3 scary movies a year, and I only watch them in the month of October.
When I was 12, I saw my first horror movie ever: I Know What You Did Last Summer. I know some of you guys are like, “ugh, what a boring movie, with stupid effects, and dumb looking bloody bodies, and fake fake fake blah blah blah.” Take this moment to (forgive the extensive swearing and) go fuck yourself, because that movie scared the motherliving shit out of me.
I was 12, and my mind was innocent. My family and I were doing our usual Catholic family things on a Friday night. My aunt and cousins were visiting us for the weekend, and all of us kids got to rent a movie for the night. My sister and cousins really wanted to get I Know What You Did Last Summer. My mother conceded after a few tantrums thrown by most of us.
The older members of our family are smart, and do not enjoy scary movies. I was young and naïve. I had no idea what a scary movie entailed. My closest encounter had been Ernest Saves Halloween, which DID give me nightmares, and THAT even had a happy ending… I think consisting of defeating the monster with milk. I don’t know, google it.
So the young trusting kids were shepherded into a room all our own, to take delight in one of horror movie’s finest. I sat on the ground in my usual fashion, feeling the invigorating blood rush that accompanies doing something bad for the first time. Like stealing cookies or using a racial slur for the first time (neither recommended).
To be honest, I don’t remember much of the plot of the movies, but what I do remember goes in this sequence:
After the movie I was paralyzed. I wanted my cousins to think I was cool. I hadn’t screamed at all. This was because my liver had imploded and my kidneys had fused out of sheer terror.
But then life was supposed to just “go on”. I was supposed to forget about the fact that I had just witnessed 18 bazillion murders, by a serial killer who was STILL ALIVE at the end.
He was in my house.
He was sitting behind the couch.
He was staring straight at me.
I sat there, staring at the TV screen, pretending to laugh while desperately trying to remember all of my yellow-belt tae-kwon-do moves. Fuck! I was trying to remember what my master had told me about giant fish-hook stabbing attacks and pulling up nothing! Tae-Kwon-Do failed me again!
I was aware I had to pee. Slowly, by twisting my appendages free of my own vice like grips, I went into the bathroom, about 10 feet away. I turned on every fixture as I went, and made it securely inside the bathroom. What had I done?
The serial killer could have easily concealed himself ANYWHERE. I grabbed a box of tissues as a safety shield and sneaked along the wall of the bathroom.
I realized that if I were on a murderous rampage, the shower curtain was exactly where I would hide.
Finally, I made it to the toilet. There was just one problem. I am pee shy, and I can’t go if someone was looking at me. I found this to be definitive proof that HE was standing right outside the bathroom window staring at me trying to pee!
I was eventually able to relieve myself, but the whole time I was internally screaming.
It took months for me to get over my fear of giant fish hook wielding mad men. Every time I had to be somewhere alone, I had to have all the lights on. I needed to be armed with at least a box of tissues, though I preferred the family encyclopedia or my even more naïve younger brother*.
My nightmares had dulled down.
I could look in my cousins’ eyes and not feel shame.
And I could finally pee again, without feeling a 40 year old crazed villain’s eyes on the back of my skull.
*My brother was annoyingly cavalier about this movie. I remember him being allowed to watch the movie, but I’m not positive he had watched it. If he had, he’s a sick little bastard, because he slept soundly every night as I laid up at night, staring under his bed, positive the serial killer was lurking. If you want a bonus read about almost this exact situation, visit Allie's Blog