My movie watching as a child was relatively unsupervised. I am a last child with six very senior siblings; what do you expect? There was no cable then, no parental control button and they couldn’t turn me out of the living room while the rest of the family was watching movies cause I was too scared to be by myself in my room. So I was allowed to watch by default. All genres.
It was up to me to close my eyes at the appropriate time which I did (kiss time etc etc) of cos I snuck peeks once in a while. Who didn’t?
The TV stations had a penchant to show Horror movies! I still remember the British Hammer House of Horror series (Lucinda et al), Evil Dead 1.2.3, Exorcist, Omen.
Horror movies scared yet fascinated me. I couldn’t stop myself from watching them sometimes late into the night but it also ensured that I had nightmares at night.
Throughout my childhood, I never looked beyond the headboard of the bed at night cause I believed a nasty animal kingdom lived there. Believe me, I hear their grunts and growls when I wake up in the middle of the night. Hanging from the ceiling was Annie’s (can’t remember the movie now) decapitated head. With her fiery eyes staring at me. I slept with my head under the duvet despite a temperature of 38.C, I nursed full bladders throughout the night cause I was too scared to use the loo (Who knows what’s lurking there??). I learnt to recite Psalm 23. It become my mantra. For protection.
As I grew older and had terrifying occasions when I had to stay alone in the apartment, sometimes In the dark due to epileptic power supply, I stopped seeing Horror movies. I had to stop feeding my fears. Until early this year. I saw “28 weeks later”. It was my first horror movie in YEARS.
Watching ‘28 weeks later’ was like a milestone capped. It also gave me a different perspective about horror films that they weren’t all about creepy crawlies, supernatural kind of malfeasance. That they could also be intelligent.
28 weeks later was about a pandemic of a rage virus which caused those infected to become raging mad…fight, beat and bite people to death. Those that don’t die become infected through bites and do the same. There was talk of containment and extermination, ethics etc Things which a medically minded person could relate to. It was creepy. It was scary. I could imagine it happening. But I also knew it was just a MOVIE-written and acted out by ordinary people.
It was a sweet victory to sleep that night without dreaming about the raging zombies I just saw.
Then I saw the Exorcist, Stephen King’s Carrie, Dolores Claiborne, Brian Stoke’s Dracula, Omen (I slept off halfway….it was boring), Amityville Horror, The Wolfman, Twilight (lol). To think some of these movies terrorized my childhood!!
Granted, I won’t go out of my way to pay to see a Horror movie. Even borrow it knowingly. (and I still can't fathom these people who love that genre enough to dedicate sites to it ewww. Not when there are a thousand and one Romantic Comedies and beautiful normal people to see.
But I’m just so happy I have laid those ghosts to rest.
I also know that No kid of mine is watching horror till they are 15. No matter how tough they claim to be. Mom knows best.