Long before there were disclaimers on television warning about content, there was "Night Gallery". In the early 70's, "Night Gallery" routinely spooked adult viewers, but to a child of approximately 10-years-old, it was downright frightening...and I think I owe the onset of my fear of scary films to none other than Rod Serling. Rod, whose scariest feature nowadays if he came on television would be the fact he's smoking a cigarette, left an indelible mark on me.
I remember in my carefree youth watching "Lassie", "The Wonderful World of Disney", "The Brady Bunch" and then one unsuspecting nite, an episode of "Night Gallery" which scared the bejeebies out of me. It was one where a little girl befriends this "thing" she finds, this seaweed-type monster that follows her home, kills her friend that she's having a tiff with, and then in the end she winds up weeping openly over its stone-encased carcass, proclaiming her affinity and affection for it. Oh...I've watched it since and it's totally mundane, but to a child who has to go to sleep...alone in bed in a house next to the woods...oh it CAN come and get you...and it will. I had nitemares well up until the time I stupidly agreed to see "Halloween" at the movie theatre in Lumberton, New Jersey, with my girlfriend. Lumberton, you see...is just a hop, skip and a 'jump on top of your car' from Haddonfield, NJ. Haddonfield is where "Halloween" takes place...never mind it takes place in Illinois...all I remembered was seeing that "Haddonfield" sign...and the realization we were only a few miles from one just like it. Even the IMDb states in their Halloween "trivia" section that Haddonfield, NJ is the home of their screenwriter, Debra Hill. A fact that I didn't learn about until recently...talk about eerie, huh?
Oh, I was okay after the film...walking out to the parking lot...until we got into my car. Remember the scene where Michael Myers is on top of the car? Well...envision me going down Rte 38 (let's just say "our I-85") and suddenly thinking some guy's trying to bust his way inside via my roof. Then picture me after I dropped my friend off and drove all the way back to my house...back thru the woods, around the lake...all the while with some maniac atop my VW. So I made it home...you'd have thought the nitemare would've ended there, huh? Think again. Before bed I looked in my closet, under my bed, back in my closet, and under my bureau...do you KNOW the clearance of an average bureau??? A cat can't comfortably fit under there for cripes sake! Now the clincher...ready for this? I did this for years...YEARS...yes, years. It was my obsessive compulsive disorder ritual. It was, I admit it...I'm not afraid...well, not afraid to admit it at least.
Why am I even mentioning this? Because sure enough while I sit here all alone at 1:30 a.m., there WILL be a scary movie advertisement on. It will be right before I go to bed...okay, in three hours...but it WILL come on. The 'scare du jour' lately? "Silent Hill". I avert my eyes quickly...hit the TiVo pause button and wait until the designated time seems to have elapsed. But the damage is done...it's already IN my head...the mere title of any cinematic concoction such as "The Ring", "The Shining", and "Psycho" is enough to do it for me...I don't even have to know what it's about...just the fact someone deemed it scary is enough for my imagination to make it much worse than it probably is. Case in point...I read "The Exorcist" when it first came out...I think I should have seen the film instead. Consequently, I can't even watch a documentary on exorcism...in fact I'm surprising myself by even typing the words. I am indeed a scaredy-cat. I fear I am the consummate wimp.
So, if the scary "slash" horror movie industry had to rely on me for their revenue they would have died out...in some horrible, tortuous way...years ago. So I won't see "Saw"...I won't watch "The Watcher" and I'll be damned if I'd look in my basement...if I had one.
A Bit About Me
- Mariann Simms
- Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".