Movie night(mare)s

My siblings thought it was an acceptable idea to have me watch the original ”Scream” film when it came out. I was five. My mom was furious. But I survived. I even have a sort of affinity for the film, despite the many nightmares it produced throughout my childhood. 😂

Then, “I know what you did last summer” was another they shared with me, only a year later… yikes. Again, though, I survived.

The sequel was freaky but fun for me, because it was possibly the first sequel to release during my lifetime for something that I knew.

At some point, before age nine, they showed me “Jaws”. “Jaws” is actually one of my favorite films – I even read the book recently! – despite the nightmares… and general fear of the ocean… that still exists today… 😂

Frankly, seeing “The Sixth Sense” at my mom’s strong recommendation when I was eight was significantly more traumatizing than any of the others, and I, to this day, have bad dreams and spooky nights because of it…, but that’s for different reasons. “Scream” isn’t very practical or realistic for everyday life.

“Deep Blue Sea” and “Lake Placid”, at age eight, were probably the films that put me over the edge in terms of being comfortable swimming alone in any body of water… I just couldn’t do it – even in the pool at my brothers’ dad’s house, I was somehow convinced that, after I had started to swim away from the wall, someone had opened up a secret panel behind me, and released a shark into the water…., and so I would rush to the other side and wrench myself out of the water as fast as possible, breathing hard… always to find no shark, of course… fortunately, of course…

One of my brothers – one not involved in having me watch the scary movies – had mentioned to me, after his having seen “The Ring” in theatres, that the film was terribly funny due to the fakeness of so much of it… he was the only one laughing during the film, but he was laughing hard at times, he said.

The thought of a scary film’s being funny was new to me, and I considered that I might want to see this film…, but not badly enough to seek it out – I had already written away scary films from my life by that point.

One night, however, years later, I was drawn by a film that came on television, not knowing what film it was. I had an odd feeling that it was “The Ring”, however, and I turned out to be correct in that judgment. Keeping my brother’s idea of humor in mind, I stuck with the film. Frankly, I also found the film quite stupid in many ways, as my brother had suggested and described years beforehand. I was still haunted in dreams by certain aspects of the film, but I recovered much more easily than with any other scary film I had ever seen, and I attributed it to the mentality of laughing at the graphics and illogic of certain visual scenarios within the film – thereby distancing myself from the story itself.

I still stay firmly away from scary films, though, and horror films are a solid no for me, with no question of even discussing them and their subject matter…

I’m almost certain that almost all of my nighttime and dark-alley fears have come from films…, so, perhaps life could have been a lot easier not having the scary films in it…, but perhaps it is just those fears that have me be so prepared for just about anything in life…?

Anyway, the point is that I very much dislike and avoid scary movies (now that I have say and am not a little kid), but I was exposed to several as a young child, yet I survived.

So, if you are watching a film, and discover in the middle that it might be a bit too gory or freaky for a child in the room, don’t worry too much… you’ll probably traumatize them much more with other things in life than with that movie… I don’t encourage the scary films – not at all – but I recommend not panicking too badly, if they end up seeing something you think might be a bit much for them… they’ll survive. 😂

Movies, oh, movies

When I was little, I saw the films “JAWS”, “Deep Blue Sea”, and “Lake Placid”.  They all sport a main character/predator who is an oversized water creature, the first two having a shark main character and the third an alligator.  (Though I now realize that it could have been a crocodile, I still believe that it was an alligator, because I do not remember its having a really long and narrow snout.)

Suffice to say that these movies succeeded in terrifying me of the ocean, of lakes, and of swimming in general.  Now, seeing as swimming was a large part of my family’s life, as was the beach, I learned to manage these fears (i.e. realize that, I just had to let it go if I wanted to swim, or at least accept the fear alongside the joys of swimming).  This mostly meant that I was typically initially hesitant to enter the water at the beach, and always preferred being with others in the water – not to be grimm, but the probability of being the one nabbed decreased, the more people who were out there with me in the water.  No, I didn’t want anyone to be nabbed, but I had a high sense of self-preservation.

Whenever I was on my own in the water, I occasionally would recall the possibility of sharks as I was walking toward the shore, and suddenly would find myself jumpily sprinting out of the water (jumpily, because it is easier to run through water, when you pick your legs all the way up out of it, doing a sort of hopping dance forward, which becomes more and more like normal running as you get closer to shore, and the water level goes lower and lower).

The interesting thing – to me, anyway – about this fear, is how it transferred to pools for me.  With others, I never had concerns (as I recall, anyway).  However, put me on my own in the backyard pool at my brothers’ dad’s house, and I’d occasionally start to freak.  It was a weird sort of freak-out, because I logically knew that I was totally fine and safe, but surface-level panicked and rushed out of the water suddenly anyway.

It would happen like this: I would be in the water, usually swimming casually toward one side or end of the pool, and suddenly have this thought that someone could have opened up a secret panel behind me on the pool wall, and released a shark.  At the point of this thought’s occurrence, I would put all my effort in swim sprinting to my aimed-for wall, and climb manically from the pool, panting.  I think I even scratched up my stomach and/or legs in my haste a handful of times.

It was illogical, and yet I completely understood why I had the bizarre fear, and I accepted it as a weird and unrealistic fear, even as a little kid.

Fast forward a good many years, and where do I stand?  The last time I was alone in a pool, about a year ago now, I still had to turn my head, just to check to make sure no panel had slid open behind me.  No, I wasn’t sent rushing to the walk and out of the pool, but I still had to respond to the thought and the sense of panic that was rising within me.  Essentially, the panic and fear is significantly lessened, but totally still there.  If I don’t think about it, I’m totally fine.  The moment I think about it, I’m slightly paranoid, and sinultaneously annoyed at my nonsensical paranoia.

Such is my life around pools (and also the earlier bits regarding my life with beaches).  I think this is why I just don’t want horror films.  Ever.  The few scary films I saw as a kid were enough for me*, and each had enough impact on me to cause me never to want to watch scary movies again.  So I think, anyway.
*”Scream”, “Scream 2”, and “Anaconda” still stick with me today, as well as the shark and gator movies.

Post-a-day 2017