Saturday, October 30, 2010

Things that used to scare the piss out of me.

When I was a little kid, I used to stay up late on weekends watching stuff like this. They had a midnight movie on Friday nights in Kansas City. I'd spend the night at Greg Rogers' house and we'd stay up late.

It's a classic, Them, about giant ants that have been mutated by H-Bomb tests in the desert. I can still watch it today, but it never really scared me. The little girl was a little off putting, but I always thought it was more cool than scary. Still do. I can watch it now and be just as entertained.

Same with this one, The Thing From Another World. A classic, and accept for the scene where the Thing (James Arness in some weird assed makeup) busts into the room and they toss gasoline on him and light him up, it really didn't scare me ether. It was just cool. Again' I can still watch this one. Maybe that's a sign of it being a classic.

Nope. The stuff that really got me going was this stuff. It gave me sleepless nights were I sat up watching all the shadows in my room, waiting for one of them to move.

Yep, this is what did it. Christopher Lee. As cheesy as it seems when I watch it now, this stuff did it for me back then.

Frankenstein and the Wolfman never did it. The Mummy, or any of that. Frankenstein was just goofy. My favorites were the Abbot and Costello versions. That's the stuff that got my mother going back in the '40s, when she was a kid and going to the matinee. But it never scared me very much. Hell, I'd LOVE to be a wolfman. That would be cool as hell. But Dracula, in the form of Christopher Lee, man, that stuff did it.

You see the movie poster there in the beginning of that soundtrack clip, with the blue face and the teeth? That's all I needed to see. I'll never forget it. I was eight years old when my mom and I took my big sister to the movie theater in England. We were stationed there from about '66 to '70. She was meeting some high school friends at the theater. A prelude to a big sleep-over. I never left the car, and all I saw was the poster, but that was enough.

When I finally got to see this one, Dracula Has Risen From The Grave, as a midnight movie down there in Greg's basement, it more than lived up to the frights in my imagination. I think I spent the next eight or ten years sleeping with my arm over my neck. Seriously, I did. One of those shadows might have had teeth.

Then, a few years later, when I was 12, this movie came out. The Exorcist. My sister took me to see this one. Nothing was the same, ever again. This was a whole new dimension of fear. I think it's one of the scariest things I ever saw. One of the top two or three.

Thing is, when they re-released it a few years ago, I went to see it again with a modern audience. It was a totally different experience. Folks back in '73 had been totally wiped out by this movie, but the kids today were laughin' at it, especially when the Father Karras would smoke and drink. It was like a snap shot from the era when it was made. The kids today thought it was hilarious.

Then, a few years after the head spinning, pea green soup spewing, crucifix jamming nightmare that the Exorcist was, in the summer before I started high school, I went to the 1849 Village Theater in Ft. Worth with a few friends and saw this one.

Oh my God, you could really, viscerally feel that poor chick getting eaten. Jaws was primal, taking the fear to a completely different level. Unlike all the other horrors I've listed, this shit could actually happen to you. For like a month after, I went to bed at night and imagined sharks swimming around my bed. Seriously.

Then, Junior year, my buddy Keith was working at the Seminary South Cinema. I went out there one night, and this was playing.

I guess Halloween was the first of a whole new genre of slasher flicks. I loved it, but it didn't give me nightmares. I just developed a love for John Carpenter flicks. When we produced his remake of that old classic, The Thing, in 1982, I think he shot his wad. That movie wore me out. It was brilliant, with special effects that were terrifying. But again, no nightmares.

In my Senior year, my buddies and I went to see this one, totally unprepared for what we were about to experience.

Alien blew our minds. There was a nasty, slimy grossness to the Face Hugger, but then when that nasty little critter came bursting out of John Hurt's chest, that was it. Then, when Ian Holm's head came off and he spooged all over the room, and then told Sigourney Weaver and the others that they were all gonna die... Yea, it was cool. But, beyond the shock effect, I was really more fascinated than frightened. Particularly when we got to see Sigourney in those little white panties in the end. The critter was creepy, but it was also cool as hell. I was glad when James Cameron gave us a much better look at them in the next one.

For whatever reason, I haven't seen too many horror movies since those days. I used to go to a lot of special effects flicks, Like The Howling, or An American Warewolf In London, just to see how they did the effects. I think the best horror flick I went to see lately was 28 Days Later. That one was wonderful. The last one was the recent remake of The Wolfman. Loved it, and yea, I still think it would be awesome to have that "curse".

Most of the horror flicks I've seen in the last 20 years have been seen on TV. One of the coolest, that I discovered a few years ago, was this little number.

Jeepers Creepers. It's got another cool critter, and like Dracula and the others, he just keeps on comin'. I just saw one of the sequels on TV Friday night. very cool.

As far as what scares me today? Well, having to start my career all over again at 49 beats just about everything else. Figuring out how to pay for my health care coverage, etc. That shit beats Dracula and the Exorcist any day.

But, like the ghouls of old, these fears will wither in time. I'll get it all worked out in the end, and everything will work out. So, have a Happy Halloween. Cheers.


*Goddess* said...

We used to scare the piss out of ourselves with this show that originated from Pittsburgh...Chiller Theater with Chilly Billy Cardilly!

Kenneth said...

Very entertaining. I have only seen Exorcist and Alien, and agree with you about both of them. I know my sister took her kids to see Jaws and they refused to go to the summer swimming program after that. I can see why now. When we were kids we didn't have television (or books or movies) but somehow we had monsters. My brothers and I shared a bed. I was the oldest and every night had to make a decision - if I thought the monster was already in the house and under the bed, I slept by the window. If I thought he was outside the window waiting to come in - I made them sleep by the window. My theory was he would eat them and be too full to eat me. I was a bad person.

Shrinky said...

I went with my sis' to see Stephen King's "Carrie", and I was too scared shitless to home on my own! I had to pass a plot of land to get to my door, and I was convinced a hand would reach up and grab me before I got the key in the lock - I caught the night bus to my siter's in the end - boy, was she surprised to see me so soon, and she's never let me live it down since!

BRUNO said...

I was just gettin' ready to type MY-opinion---and then I read the last two-paragraphs of the post, and found that it was EXACTLY what I was gonna say!!! I mean, why PAY for it, when ya' can get it for FREE???

You summed it all up yourself, bud---nothin' I can add to it. It's PERFECT!!!

FHB said...

Goddess - He's in that movie I just posted.

Kenneth - Naaa, you weren't bad. Survival is a bitch when you're dealing with the undead.

Shrinky - Yea, but you were like 25 then. She should tease you.

Bruno - Yea, real life scary shit beats made up, any day.