I discovered something disturbing the week before Halloween: I no longer like horror movies.
Back when I was a kid, I was a horror-movie fanatic. It didn’t matter to me that they’d often give me nightmares or I’d end up crawling into bed with my parents because I was certain Dracula was hiding in my bedroom closet and waiting to sink his fangs into my neck. No, I loved horror movies.
I still can remember my favorites from back in the 1950s and early ‘60s. There was, “The Crawling Eye,” about a giant eyeball with tentacles that crawled around near a mountain resort and killed people. And then there was “From Hell it Came,” which featured a killer tree called The Tabanga, with a hideous scowling face on its trunk. After I saw that movie, I was glad I lived in the middle of the city and not out in the country near a bunch of trees.
My father, however, thought The Tabanga was the most hilarious thing he’d ever seen.
“That’s a guy wearing a rubber suit!” he’d laughed. “Look at his limbs bouncing when he walks! And I could swear I saw a zipper going up the back of the tree!”
Another thing about the movie that my dad thought was hysterical was the tree walked at a really slow pace, shuffling its feet as it inched along – probably because the guy’s rubber suit was too tight. Yet the people in the movie were trampling each other in their effort to avoid being “limbed” to death.
“A 90-year-old guy using a walker could outrun that tree!” my dad said between guffaws.
He sure knew how to ruin a good horror movie.
And I clearly remember going to the Rex Theater in Manchester to see, “Mr. Sardonicus,” about a grave robber whose face froze into the exact replica of the corpse he was robbing. His facial rigor-mortis prevented him from chewing, so he had to liquefy all of his meals and slurp them. This made him really irritable, so he ended up doing mean things like stringing up women and attaching leeches to their bodies.
But I think my favorite horror movie from my childhood years had to be Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.” Never in my life would I have believed a flock of birds could be so terrifying. Even to this day, whenever I see a bunch of birds flying overhead, I wonder if they are going to swoop down and peck out my eyeballs.
After I got married, I still enjoyed horror movies, even though my husband and I spent most of our time laughing at them and their bad special effects. One of our favorite hangouts was the Bedford Grove Drive-in, which showed really corny horror movies that were advertised as being so nauseating, the staff actually handed out barf bags with the admission tickets.
I remember one particularly bad “barf bag” movie we saw (its name currently escapes me, which probably is a good thing) about a restaurant that was using human body parts in its meals. Conveniently, all of the people the chef murdered had last names like Lamb and Partridge, so when the menu advertised, “leg of Lamb” or “roasted breast of Partridge,” it actually was the truth.
But there was one horror movie my husband and I didn’t laugh at. In fact, it actually gave both of us nightmares for the first time in our adult lives. That movie was “The Exorcist.” We went to see it at a special late-night showing at the Bedford Mall, and there wasn’t an empty seat in the place. During a particularly gory scene in the movie, one of the theater-goers stood up, began to walk up the aisle, and then passed out, flat on his face. I was pretty sure if I’d have stood up at that moment, I probably would have joined him face-down on the floor.
And I’ll never forget when we took Richard, the kid next door, with us to see “Jaws.” I don’t think I’ve ever jumped so many times during a movie. Richard ended up being so scared, he refused to go swimming in his backyard pool after that, even though everyone assured him that a great white shark couldn’t possibly fit into it – or survive in anything but ocean water.
I think the movie that finally made me realize I didn’t enjoy horror movies any more was, “Jeepers Creepers 2,” which came out in 2003. In the beginning of the movie, a boy is in this cornfield where there’s a really creepy-looking scarecrow. As the boy passes by the scarecrow, its eyes follow him. In a flash, the scarecrow leaps off its post and attacks the boy.
No kidding, on that day, I fully understood the meaning of “scare” in the word scarecrow. It affected me so dramatically, I haven’t been able to eat corn, not even a can of Niblets, ever since.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the problem with the horror movies of today is they are just too graphic and realistic. They leave nothing to the imagination, like back when I was a kid. No, everything is right there in living color, leaping out of the screen at you – from blood and guts to projectile vomiting. Gone are the days of dismembered hands made of rubber with ketchup on them. All of this new technology is just too much for my aging brain to handle.
So from now on, I think I’ll be better off if I stick with safe, family-oriented movies like “The Sound of Music.”
Although, that fabric Maria used when she made new outifts for all of the kids was pretty scary.
BOOKS NOW AVAILABLE FOR CHRISTMAS
I’ve had a number of inquiries about my books and whether or not I will be offering autographed copies again this year, particularly for Christmas gift-giving. The answer is yes! You can order copies of my humor book, “There’s a Tick in my Underwear!” or my suspense novel, “Heed the Predictor” and its sequel, “Conceal the Predictor,” directly from me for $10 each, which includes shipping. Also, I will personally autograph each book to anyone you’d like – just make certain to print the name or names clearly when ordering. Autographed copies of my books also will be available at Bobby Dee’s Records and Audio Repair at 132 Main St. in Pembroke Village. A portion of all proceeds will be donated to the Manchester Animal Shelter. Send orders to: Sally Breslin, PO Box 585, Suncook, NH 03275-0585, or you can send payment through Paypal to my account: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE: For those of you with electronic reading devices, my book, “There’s a Tick in my Underwear!” currently can be downloaded free of charge at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com or Smashwords.com.