This morning, my mom tagged me in a buzzfeed post about 27 movies that will ruin your life. I agreed with most of the list, and even had some of the same experiences as some of the contributors. But it got me thinking… movies have ruined my life. I’ve been scared out of my mind, emotionally damaged, and scarred for life. I’m 31 years old, and these movies still get me unwound.
- Child’s Play – When I was 8, my brother Josh’s friend gave him a tape with all 3 Child’s Play movies recorded on it. I wanted to watch it, because I wanted to do everything my brother did, but my mom said I was too young and Josh said I couldn’t hang out with him and his friends anyway. So, being the determined youth that I was, I snuck the tape out of the house and over to my friend Jamie’s, where we watched all 3 movies in a row without her parents knowing. Bad Idea. From the second I got home, I put all my dolls under my bed, including the very expensive toddler sized doll I had spent months begging my parents for. Then I got I scared that the dolls would come after me, so I put them all up on my dresser so I could see when they would attack. My mom wanted to send the dolls to my cousins, but I told her no, because I was sure the doll would kill the post man, find its way back to my house, climb up the car port, come through my window, and kill me. So I just treated it very respectfully, and slept with my light on for 4 years, keeping an eye on it. No one could convince me that the doll wasn’t going to come to life and murder me. And to this day, I can’t sleep in a room if there’s a doll in it. And being chased by Chucky is my #1 recurring nightmare*.
- Trilogy of Terror – Also when I was 7 or 8, Josh had a “scary movie birthday party”, and all his friends slept over while they had a horror movie marathon. I wasn’t allowed downstairs (Oh the injustices served to me as a child), but I did sneak down a little to see what was happening. They were watching Trilogy of Terror, the vignette with the voo-doo doll. The moment that I snuck down, there was a scene with a guy in a bathroom. He was standing in front of a drawn shower curtain. IN A SECOND the shower curtain was drawn back and a voodoo doll jumped out and stabbed the guy to death. I ran back to my room, shaking. And I was about 18 before I could use a bathroom without drawing the shower curtain back first to check for voo-doo dolls.
- Psycho – When I was 10, I watched a documentary on Psycho. I didn’t watch the movie itself. But I loved learning about crazy people, and I wanted to know just how crazy Norman Bates was. And then they came to the shower scene. They showed the whole thing. For the next year, I would only take baths, not showers. And even then, I refused to take showers unless there was a see-through shower curtain. I won’t take a shower if I’m in a hotel room by myself. Two years ago, when I moved into the condo, I had to get a clear shower curtain because I was too scared someone would come in and stab me.
- Garfield Halloween – omg. When we lived in Germany, my parents would tape American cartoons for us off the Armed Forces Network. And one tape we had was full of Garfield cartoon specials. Garfield on the Town was followed by Garfield Halloween. But, because they were home recorded, Garfield on the Town‘s end credits were abruptly cut off with the opening for Garfield Halloween, and the opening for Garfield Halloween was an extreme close up of Binky the Clown screaming “HEEEEEEEY KIDDDDDDDDDS!” It was so startling to go from happy credits to GIANT SCREAMING CLOWN FACE. If I’m in a dark room by myself and I think about it, I feel terrified – to this day. Also, I don’t know what the producers were thinking, but the old man telling the story of the pirates was creepy as fuck. And the pirates were pretty scary. That whole thing wasn’t for children. And for YEARS, I wouldn’t sleep with my back to the open room because I had a nightmare that Garfield and the ghost pirates were sneaking up on me.
- It – Is there anyone in my generation and every generation proceeding that isn’t traumatized by It? I also read the book when I was 10 (behind my mom’s back, of course), and I was more scared because in the book, It tried to rape Bevy. So while I was scared of clowns before I saw It (thanks to Garfield Halloween), because they were loud and scary, It just added a whole new level of rapey-gonna-eat-you fear. I will never shower in a group shower situation and I always tip toe around storm drains because of that movie. Ughhhh.
- A Nightmare on Elm Street – When I was really little, I caught about 5 minutes of “Freddy’s Nightmares“, the series that Freddy had on MTV where he introduced music videos and they showed clips from the movies. Freddy was sitting on a stool in the boiler room, all Freddied out, and he introduced a clip from the first movie – where Johnny Depp gets sucked into the bed. I was too scared to sleep in a big bed by myself for years after that. Also, pretty sure that Freddy is the scariest movie villain. The 3rd movie scares me to this day.
- 2001: A Space Odyssey – yeah. I can’t watch Dave’s final two sequences if I’m by myself. And I’m pretty sure that the star child is the most unsettling image I’ve ever seen. Even hearing the orchestration makes me scared. Also, the humans in monkey suits are creepy. And the Swedish choir with their shrill and guttural cries that sounds like what I imagine is what you hear when you’re in purgatory. *shudder*
- Pet Semetary – Because of Gage under the bed, I get in and out of bed as quickly as possible. No lingering with my feet hanging over the edge, either. Nuuuuuupe. And the demented sister? YIKES.
- Poltergeist – I can’t be in the same room if there’s a TV on a static channel. It scares the shit out of me.
- The Exorcist – If I’m in a strange bed, or feeling uneasy in a room, I’ll think of Regan on the shaking bed, and I won’t be able to sleep. When I moved into the condo, I posted a picture of my first night in. I was so jazzed to be on my own and to spend the night all by myself, unpacking and arranging. And then my friend Paul said “That looks like the stairwell from the exorcist.” And he posted a clip of Regan’s spider walk. And in that split instant my mood changed from “YAY NEW HOUSE” to “I’m going to die here.” And for the next two months, I swore I heard “rats” in the ceiling, saw that weird ghost face (that they added to the re-mastered edition) in the windows at night, and just about pooped myself whenever I saw Bill Purray staring off intently at NOTHING. And for the record, I don’t think I’ve seen anything scarier than Regan’s spider walk down the stairs. Just thinking about it makes me uncomfortable.
- Ghostbusters – The opening sequence. NOOOOOPE. And the face on the Stay Puft Marshmallow man? So scary. My parents had Ghostbusters taped onto an audio cassette, and we’d “listen” to the movie on road trips. You know what’s actually pretty scary? The soundtrack to Ghostbusters. Especially when the ghosts are released and the ground starts to break apart and later when Stay Puft is screaming. Creepy.
Somewhere along the way, I grew up and movies stopped scaring me. And that was a bummer. But to fill that hole of emotional scarring, I started to become a mess whenever there was a slightly sad or moving tone. I used to make fun of my mom for crying at everything. Now, I cry at everything. But these movies hit me right in the feels.
- She’s Having a Baby – During the climax, Kevin Bacon’s character has a montage of memories while his wife is having an emergency c-section, and he gets so flustered because he’s finally realising how his life is going to change and he hasn’t wanted it before but now he doesn’t want to lose it and he looks up into the light and chokes back tears right as the song crescendos. Shit. I lose it. And the montage is set to the music of “This woman’s work,” and it breaks me down to sobs whenever I watch it. Sobs. Hysterical sobs and ugly crying. Guaranteed.
- Lost in Translation – The end… when Bill Murray is whispering into Scarlett Johanson’s ear and you never find out what he says, but she’s tearing up, and he’s softly touching her and… oh man. The affection and the loneliness is palpable. It cuts me open.
- Philadelphia – it’s hard to find a scene in this movie that doesn’t rip my heart out. But when Tom Hanks leaves Denzel’s office and he knows he’s run out of options, and he’s just staring into the street with that pained look, somewhere between “what do I do now” and utter tears, and Bruce Springsteen is playing. It’s so sad. I really just sit through Philadelphia and just cry. It’s a great movie to watch if you’re stuffed up and need to blow your nose a lot.
- The Land Before Time – When Littlefoot’s mother dies, it feels like my mom has died. And all those baby dinosaurs clinging together because they don’t have families… I’m a mess for hours after watching it.
- Home Alone – when Kevin realises he misses his family, and his mom is missing him. Sad tears. And at the end, when they’re all reunited! Happy Tears. All the tears. Hearing that soundtrack makes my heart swell.
- Forrest Gump – “I miss you Jenny. If there’s anything you need, I won’t be far away.” Just typing that made me cry.
So now I’m off to watch Dance Moms and Teen Mom ad nasueum because this list is making me cry and making me scared to be home alone.