Make My Day: STAY OUT OF THE ATTIC!
by Erik Deckers
American Reporter Humor Writer
SYRACUSE, Ind. -- Ever since I was a small boy, and watched them on tv or in the theater, I've always had strong feelings when it comes to horror and scary movies. I hate them.
That is, they scare the bejeezus out of me. Whenever I make the stupid mistake of seeing a scary movie, I have nightmares, I jump at strange sounds, and I'm convinced that all the monsters in every scary movie I've ever seen - including the shark from "Jaw"s - are hiding under my bed. And they're all on my side of the bed. They stay away from my wife's side of the bed, because they know she owns a shotgun. They also know that I do not.
It's weird, because I'm not afraid of psychological thrillers like "Silence of the Lambs," "Basic Instinct," or "Copycat." In fact, I enjoy them, and have seen them several times, and not because Sharon Stone gets naked either.
But I've also seen "The Shining," "Children of the Corn," "Dawn of the Dead," and "Silent Night, Deadly Night" (a shopping-mall Santa goes psycho and kills people with an axe), and I stand by my original statement: I hate them.
It doesn't matter whether I'm at home (the monsters are in my closet), at a friend's house (the monsters are in his closet), or at the movie theater (the monsters are hiding in the popcorn, waiting for me to get a refill), I am scared ... uh, speechless by horror movies.
So why is it that no one takes me seriously. Just a few weeks ago, my wife, my sister-in-law, and her husband absolutely demanded that I go see "The Others," the Nicole Kidman-Tom Cruise pre-divorce production, and they promised me "it wasn't so bad."
"The Others" is a "supernatural suspense thriller" about a young mother (Nicole Kidman) and her children (two pasty-faced English kids) who live in a house on the Channel Islands. The kids believe there are ghosts in the house, and Kidman gradually realizes her kids may just be right. One reviewer called it "the scariest thriller of the year."
"The scariest thriller of the year!" I told my wife, a week later. "You made me see the scariest thriller of the year." I begged and pleaded with them not to make me go. I swore up and down I didn't like scary movies. "'Supernatural thrillers' is just a polite way of saying 'horror flicks'!" I sobbed. But I was outvoted, as if we were actually living in a democracy and not some scam designed to make me go to scary movies. Of course, the movie scared the ... uh, speech right out of me, and I swore in front of God and everyone that we would never, ever buy a copy of that movie.
When we got home that night, I turned on every light in the house, and made sure I was the first one in bed, so my wife had to turn all the lights off herself. My hope was that the monsters would mistake her for me and get her instead, but their sense of smell is uncanny. That, and she was carrying her shotgun.
The last time I watched a scary movie was August 1989, 24 hours before I was supposed to start graduate school. I hadn't seen a horror movie for several years, and thought I could watch Jack Nicholson in "The Shining." I told myself, "I'm 21 years old, I'm a college graduate, so I should be smart enough and mature enough to watch The Shining."
Rule Number One: If horror movies scared you as a kid, they'll scare you when you're an adult.
When the movie was over, I went to my dad's house, where I was staying that summer, sleeping in my sister's old room. I told myself repeatedly that I wasn't really scared, that it was just adrenaline, and everything would be okay in a few minutes. I did an eight-foot standing long jump into the bed, since monsters only have six-foot arms. I pulled the covers up to my chin, held very still (monsters have very poor eyesight, and can only see you if you're moving), and fell asleep a fewminutes later.
As one would expect, I had nightmares that night, and woke up in a sweat, covers still up to my chin. I slowly pulled the covers back with my feet, since the movement would be hidden by the covers, and did the unthinkable: I opened my eyes.
Rule Number Two: Never open your eyes, because if you make eye contact with monsters, you're a goner.
As I opened my eyes, I saw something hovering several feet above me. It was a small white blob, about 12 inches across. Of course, my eyesight is so bad without my glasses, it could have been the Queen Mum, and she still would have looked like a blob. However, since it was 4:00 in the morning, I knew there shouldn't be anything hovering several feet above me, Queen Mum or not.
I was convinced I was either seeing a disembodied head, a small ghost, or one of those energy blobs from Star Trek. But it was too late. I had made eye contact, or rather blob contact, and I couldn't look away. It just hovered there, waiting for me to try to escape, so it could pounce and drain away my life's energy. I laid there for several minutes, aware that my heart was beating faster, I was sweating profusely, and if I didn't get to the bathroom fast, I was going to have a bigger problem than just having my life force sucked out by some white blob.
As time passed, I began to remember the setting of the room, the various items my sister had left there from years past, and it suddenly hit me: I wasn't looking at a ghostly white blob or the Queen Mum at all! It was just a stupid Winnie-the-Pooh mobile she had when she was a baby. I guess she had been nostalgic for her days as an infant and hung the stupid thing over her bed. I had been lying there for 30 minutes, trying not to wet myself, waiting to be pounced on by Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends!
I breathed a huge sigh of relief, but was so disgusted at my own wussiness I stormed out of bed (stomping on several monster hands) and went to the bathroom. Afterward, I was still too scared to go back to sleep, so I watched infomercials until I had to get up anyway. And until I was dragged kicking and screaming to "The Others," it was the last time I ever watched a horror movie.
But as soon as I get my own shotgun, I can watch as many as I want.