OK so horror films are always a bit silly aren’t they? But we watch them regardless. Amongst my group of friends, one of them regularly pipes up “Laura it’s your turn to choose the film” and I feel all smug and included. Briefly. But then it normally goes like this.
Me “How about Mermaids?”
Me “How about Cool Runnings?”
Me “How about Rush Hour? Bad Boys? Aladdin?”
Boys “No. No. Absolutely not”.
Me “This really isn’t me picking if I’m not allowed to pick. Huff.”
So this weekend, Emma was put in charge of picking the film. She chose Dawn of the Dead. In fairness, she had mistaken it for Shaun of the Dead and thought we were going to be watching a comedy about two video gamers running around trying to get to the pub and killing some amusing zombies on the way, rather than a ‘serious’ horror films about zombies, vicious biting and death. But we had to watch it anyway because by the time she had realised and we had corrected her, someone had pressed play, which is completely concrete in the living room movie rules. Sigh.
We all half-heartedly watched it for about half an hour with someone regularly piping up “Are we still watching this?” “Is it still on?” or something to that effect. Because it was ridiculous.
But it got me thinking about horror films and the effects that they have on us, as Emma watched the zombie boyfriend sucking the blood of the screaming girlfriend through her fingers, despite knowing what was going to happen. When I was younger I watched Stephen King’s IT. It was a film I was not supposed to be watching at a sleepover, and for months afterwards I didn’t walk too close to the drains in the street for fear that a menacing clown hand would poke out and grab me by the ankles. The fact that I wouldn’t fit down the drain hole was irrelevant; I did not want to be murdered by a clown, and therefore I would walk in the centre of the road, or far across on the pavement so I couldn’t be reached.
Psycho is another one. I studied the Alfred Hitchcock version at sixth form as part of my English Literature course, and I had no problems with it then. Mainly because we watched it so many times, and often with the sound off to investigate the effect of sound on an individual and how it builds up tension. But now, when my housemates are out I always go check the front door before I go in the shower, and I’m always slightly concerned that I might meet my death to a knife wielding maniac. The tension is lost slightly as I have one of those slidy shower doors and no white shower curtain, but as I have an ensuite with no lock and a bedroom with no lock, sometimes I will even go and have a shower in the girl’s bathroom so I have the option to lock the door. Crazy? Maybe. Premenstrual? Perhaps. But still, it makes me feel less expectant of imminent death.
For my twelfth birthday I had a sleepover and my mum let us rent a horror film. We rented I Know What You Did Last Summer. Bad idea. For weeks I would check my enormous wardrobe for a man in a rain mac with a fish hook in his hand before I went to bed. Luckily I had one of those beds that had another one underneath, so I didn’t have to check there for nasties.
And I still do it. I am twenty five years old, and if I have seen a horror film I will always check. We watched Insidious the other night (terrible film about possessed children) and despite being pretty sure I wasn’t being haunted by any undead kids, I still had to check my shower room for infants before watching Despicable Me to cheer us up.
But tonight, when bedding in for a girly night with my bestest, we will probably watch a horror film, freak ourselves out at the noise coming from the cupboard and then one of us will sleep in the others room to ensure that if a murderer is on the loose, there is more chance of one of us surviving and being able to avenge the death of the other one. Or something
Which films scared you as a child?