My inner child probably thinks the adult version of me is such a wuss. I say this because I have clear memories of watching horror movies alone when I was 3 years old. I was pretty prideful about it as well. I would run out of my room, get a snack, and tell mom, “Yep, they’re telling Carol Anne to lead them to the light!”
Now, I can’t watch “Celebrity Ghost Stories” too late or I have nightmares.
My love affair with horror movies started with a friend of the family, Jimmy. He was such a unique guy. A truck driver who never learned how to read or write, he was someone most people might term as “rough”, but I always had so much fun with him.
Jimmy would come over and “play fight”, continually saying what would become a catch phrase of his, “Wanna cut the hell with a fool?” Honestly, at the time I couldn’t fully make out what he was saying, and I was pretty sure there was a “bad” word in there, but it triggered me to start play punching his hands, and it was fun.
Then, we would watch horror movies. Jimmy explained it so well to me, assuring me the movies were fake, and helping my little girl mind to think about the scary parts as all make-believe, almost comedic.
When we moved to Florida a couple years later I saw Jimmy less but continued to love Halloween and scary movies and just spooky stuff in general. In second grade, my best friend and I loved the “Nightmare on Elm Street” movies. I even watched the series, if anyone remembers that, called “Freddy’s Nightmares”.
At this age, I started thinking about the movies in a way where I was somehow exempt from ever being killed. Instead of thinking of it all as fake, as I had when I was younger, I started to believe that I would be Freddy’s exception to the rule. He would think I was pretty cool, and let me go. Perhaps he would even confide in me. My self-esteem was through the roof back then; I should take note from my 8 year-old self.
I also religiously watched the series “Tales from the Crypt” by myself at night. However, there were times when I would stay up later just to watch something funny before I went to bed.
As I got older, I continued to watch scary movies, but I realized they were starting to actually frighten me. The first blatant example of this was when I watched The Ring. That movie totally freaked me out. The first time I saw it, my college roommate was gone for the night and I was terrified that the little girl would crawl out of my television.
(By the way, you may know this but that same little girl is the voice of Lilo from “Lilo and Stitch” and now I get scared of that movie, too…sad, huh? )
Nowadays, I really have to be in the right state of mind before I watch anything scary. I just think too much… and honestly, working in the field of psychology at a psychiatric hospital causes you to know too much that is truly scary.
Does anyone else feel this way about something? What phases you now that your younger self used to enjoy?