Monday, June 27, 2011

Have You Ever Slept With The Lights On?

I got an email from Classic Becky Saturday night after she had watched a film that scared her silly! She said she was going to sleep with all of the lights on after her little Horrorfest. Of course we had a good laugh about it then I got to thinking about films I've watched over the years that scared me that badly.  And here I am making a post about it and most likely traumatizing Becky again along with scaring myself.

Nosferatu 1922...Sorry dude but you're scary as H^#@ and your hands are just creepy but please revisit my Halloween post on that HERE!

I don't recall any film that I've watched from the Silents through the 1950's that has scared me at all. Well other than Nosferatu because let's face it he was beyond terrifying.  I've sat through about 30 Monster movie clips from the 1950's over the past few days and they brought giggles instead of fear (Thank you Nathanael!).  So where did my total fear of scary movies actually come from? Yep, I readily admit that I will NOT watch a scary movie just for kicks and if you will bare with me I'll tell you about the two films that not only made me sleep with the lights on but beyond traumatized for good and avoiding truly scary films at all costs.

As a kid growing up in California during the 1970's, one of the things that my parents really enjoyed was going to the drive-in theater. Of course it was always a triple feature with the first film being kid friendly and a night that we got so excited about because we could always invite one friend to pile into our station wagon.  Sure most of the time it was a Disney film but every once in awhile my parents would lose their minds and actually bring us to a scary R rated film, which we happily went along with donned in our one piece pajamas and dragging along our lawn chairs.

Well guess what? With the way things are now my parents would probably be charged with child abuse..Times have changed!  (If you're reading this mom and dad, don't worry I won't be mentioning your full names)  One particular drive-in weekend my occasionally naive parents took us to see The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1974.  (I'll give them a break here and assume they thought it was a film on hand tool safety.) Just typing that title makes me want to cry, vomit and hyperventilate!  Who even thinks up something like that anyway? It was the most horrific and scary thing I've EVER seen. And while my parents were consoling me all while saying "We told you to hide your eyes and go to sleep" (I'm sorry but when you tell a kid to 'hide their eyes' guess what? They DON'T!) Sorry to get crude here but Leather Face, forget you and kiss my arse buddy!  The skin on his face and the chainsaw making that awful sound as he mowed everyone down was really uncalled for and never a good way to make an entrance if you want positive attention. I loathe you for inspiring remakes too but that's another blog post.

"The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" 1974  (The scariest movie poster I've ever seen) Ya sickos.

So yes there's your answer! "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" is the scariest film that I've ever seen.  I slept with the lights on for weeks and my older brother would sneak into my bedroom and make chainsaw noises just to insure I was thoroughly freaked out for months afterwards.

We move ahead to 1977 when I'm 3 years older and obviously I've gotten the hang of 'hide your eyes' so we head back to the drive-in for "The Hills Have Eyes". Now I don't know if you have seen the film but it is a mess from beginning to end and beyond scary.  A film by Wes Craven who will forever be banned from my viewing list even if he did find himself. And by finding himself I mean 'gross everyone out and make them bawl while in the fetal position'.  Eating other peoples heels and acting like depraved animals in the desert is basically all I remember but that's really just fine. Say what you will but showing films that depraved and scary should be against the law.

"The Hills Have Eyes" 1977  (Losing campers by the droves in desert states for years to come.)

I went on a blind date several years ago and he took me to a Halloween Haunted House. (Okay, given my history perhaps I was setting him up for failure but this isn't a therapy blog now is it?)  We weren't in there 2 minutes before a large guy rounded the corner dressed like Leather Face and carrying a chainsaw. I was so traumatized that I sat in a corner crying and begging this idiot to just leave me alone. It was obvious that he got pleasure out of seeing me so scared that he followed me with that chainsaw while I was being carried out of the place in tears. (I did not return my dates calls!) There really is no moral to the story just in case you were waiting on something profound here other than certain films really do have a lasting impact on us. To this day I die a little inside every time I hear a chainsaw in the distance. 

What makes a film so scary to you that you've never forgotten it?  I want all of you who are still reading this to leave a comment (other than how ashamed you are at my parents) on the scariest film you've ever seen and I want to know if you've ever seen a film that actually made you leave  the lights on.  I'm no longer a kid being dragged to the drive-in or wearing one piece pj's but I did get talked into watching Paranormal Activity a couple of years ago and I was so freaked out by it that I slept with the lights on for a couple of nights.  

Thanks for indulging me and please share the scariest film you've ever seen and let my readers know what you thought of the two that I mentioned. Oh and I have to give a special thanks to Becky for bringing back horrible memories as well as inspiring this post.  BOO!

Excuse me while I go cry under a street light.




  1. The movies that scared me THE most in the theater are "The Omen" (nightmares, really!), "Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte (I was terrified of Joseph Cotten and could not stand him for decades, but I like him now. Only took me about 35 years to get over it) and something called "Black Sabbath" with Boris Karloff (hey, I was an impressionable kid. My mother should not have let me go to the movies to see that one!)

    Loved your post! Love your blog.

  2. I actually hate scary movies. I can't sleep for rougly 2 weeks after I watch them. As stupid as it was, The Ring scared me alot in 8th grade.

    I was also once at a party where they started Texas Chainsaw Massacre and it was so creepy and disgusting that I left the room.

    As for classic scary films, The Uninvited with Ray Milland is really pretty creepy. It's one of my favorite films and really good, but a few scary moments.

    I also play Nancy Drew PC games and I was playing one....last that scared me alot (Shadow at the Rivers Edge). I screamed 2 or 3 times while playing it lol.

  3. FlickChick,

    Your bringing up The Omen reminds me that my parents took us to see It's Alive which was about this murderous baby and it was so so scary. I had to laugh about you being scared of Joseph Cotton because I wrote a snarky review of Hush Hush and spoke about how weird he was. I found that film more ridiculous than scary but then I didn't see it in a dark theater.

    Thanks for the nice comments.


    I actually have about 8 of the Nancy Drew games and I've never finished one of them because I get too frustrated and quit them. Ha It's not the puzzles since I have a neighbor that has called me over a zillion times wanting me to do one so she can get past a certain point in the game. It's the time management tasks that get me annoyed.

    Recent scary films I won't watch but I did see The Ring after being coaxed into it I've been told to stay away from the Saw films and Hostel for obvious reasons. If I remember correctly my sister told me she had nightmares for weeks after seeing Hostel. Oh, I actually watched What Lies Beneath a few yrs ago with the lights all on during the afternoon which shocked my friends and amused them that I got threw it although really scared throughout.


  4. PAGE, YOU TOLD!!! MY SECRET IS OUT -- I'M A BIG BABY!! I'm over the age of consent (WAY over), but I still can't go down into the basement at night. I heard a horrible crash down there once, and you would have had to kill me and drag my dead body down the stairs to see what it was. I would rather just sell the house first.

    I love to be scared -- masochistic, isn't it? Especially when you live alone with a cat who sits in front of you and stares over your shoulder while you watch a scary movie! I remember seeing Texas Chainsaw the first time. Oh my God! Truthfully, though, what scares me more is supernatural fright.

    The original 1963 "The Haunting" (the best in my opinion), still has me sleeping with the lights on, being very sure my hand doesn't stick out over the side of the bed. "Nosferatu" -- definitely! George C. Scott's "The Changeling" -- it could be hot summer and I still shiver. JN, "The Ring" creeped me out when that girl lurched around looking like she was walking backward and then crawled through the TV screen! "The Innocents" with Deborah Kerr -- really terrifying moments.

    Tell your parents not to feel bad. I let my 9 year old son watch Hitchcock's "Psycho", thinking of it as a classic, forgetting the impact of it -- we had to leave the shower curtain open all the time for a month.

    Really fun post, lots of memories to raise the hair on the back of your neck. However, BOY are you in trouble! MUWAHAHAHA!

  5. Becky,
    I can't stop laughing over here over your basement comment. Poor thing. I have this weird thing where I can't have closet doors even cracked open or any cabinet door open. You mentioning The Changeling reminded me that I did see the ending of The Shining which scared me silly. I don't really get scared at gory films since I just tell myself that chopped off hands etc are all rubber and fakes but I agree that the supernatural is frightening.

    Your poor son! I think parents are probably allowing their kids to be traumatized all over the world on a daily basis.

    Thanks for being a good sport (of course I knew you would be ya scaredy cat)


  6. I read your post and was giving it some thought... I'm guessing the scariest scary movie experience often comes down to debatable parenting calls. The first scary movie I saw was "Ghost Story" which my parents took me to see when I was five years old. I saw it later again, and it's not scary in the slightest but it terrified me at the time. As we were leaving the theater, my five year old self looked at my father and said aloud, "You should have known better than to take me there."

  7. FilmGal,
    Ha Ha Isn't that the truth? I love your story about seeing "Ghost Story". I know I've seen a few films that weren't scary at all to me the 2nd time around upon revisiting them as an adult. Especially all Hitchcock films. The only one I found somewhat scary was The Birds and that's because I have an irrational fear of all birds.

    Thanks for commenting. I hope to see you back again.

  8. Page and fellow scaredy-cats, I feel your pain! But monster movies never scared me as much as thrillers that showed so-called human beings being horrifically vicious to their fellow human beings. Stuff like NOSFERATU is like a vicious fairy tale to me. What terrifies me are films like PSYCHO, THE HILLS HAVE EYES, or THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (which I found Vinnie watching with tiny infant Shugie after I came home after a day out with my mom! Suffice to say that fur flew! :-)), where you can imagine some dangerous nutjob doing depraved things to others. Other modern horror films in this vein that chill me to the bone: HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER and SESSION 9. I won't even watch the kind of sadistic "violence porn" that passes for "entertainment" nowadays. Brrr...even vampires and ghouls would be scared of those guys!

  9. Dorian, yours is the more logical feeling -- and of course those real monsters are horrifying. But for some totally illogical reason, I have always been more afraid of what might already be INSIDE the house, waiting for the lights to go out, than what might be OUTSIDE the house! LOL!! Not sensible, but I guess it proves I have a WAY overactive imagination!!

  10. Sorry girls.. I do not have any scary movie stories to share.. My parents did not allow me to watch them until I was 35 ;)

    I still have not seen, Texas Chainsaw Massacre or The Hills Have Eyes.

  11. Dorian,
    At least Vinnie isn't dragging the little one to the drive-in where there's nowhere to escape. (Trying to make you feel better) I did catch a scene from the remake of Texas Chainsaw purely by accident when flipping channels and caught Renee Zellweger being chased through the woods by Matthew McConaughey's character. I got through about 2 minutes of that creep show. Then there was a remake of The Hills Have Eyes which you couldn't pay me to go see. Scared just thinking of round two of that gross fest. Ha!


    You should see both Paranormal Activity films since you love the 'things within the house'. Watching it play out via a video camera as it slowly builds with things getting worse while everyone sleeps gave me chills and scared me to death.

    The first time I saw Cape Fear I was pretty scared then the remake was just as bed. Of course nobody beats DeNiro as the psycho ex con. Good stuff!

    Do yourself a favor and avoid those films unless you want nightmares. But surely you've seen a film that scared you to bits. Unless of course you are suggesting we are all babies! LOL Well, okay I know I am.

    Check your night lights and doors before bed ladies.

  12. Oh, and girls, isn't it funny that none of the guys are willing to come over here and admit that a film has ever scared them. Hmmmmm

    Spill it boys!

  13. You know, gals, I think the trouble with horror movies today is that too many of them are sadistic, depressing, and just plain unpleasant. Indeed, too many modern horror films (I'm looking at you, HOSTEL and THE STRANGERS!) mistake unpleasantness for suspense. Give me films like CAT PEOPLE, THE SEVENTH VICTIM, and other classic horror films any time! Right now I think I'm gonna cheer myself up with a dose of NORTH BY NORTHWEST! :-)

  14. Page, hey -- you're right -- I KNOW the men get scared -- they're scared right now to admit it! LOL!

    Dorian, you are too right. Today's films do me arent' scary, bug disgusting and sadistic, as you said. None of my fave scary movies are any older than The Changeling in the early 80's. Most all of them are just the ones you mentioned -- frightening but not gross, scary but not disgusting.

  15. Dorian,
    I agree! It's all about being the grossest or most shocking any more when it comes to the horror genre. Human Centipede comes to mind. I'll stick to dramas/thrillers.


  16. Becky,
    If you don't find the films I suggested I'm going to go hide in your basement and bang on the pipes! HA

  17. Priceless, Page. I remember the first time I watched "Rosemary's Baby." I was so freaked out ... a friend came by while I still had a half hour to go and I forced her to go away until I finished. I may not have slepted with the lights on ... and it's interesting that a film that's not explicit would unnerve me. That's a testament to the power of the imagination. BTW, I started a Facebook page and want to begin posting favorite articles, and so I just posted this one.

  18. CFB,
    Thanks for sharing your scary film memory with the rest of us. I totally get your fear from Rosemary's Baby". That film shows how to terrify an audience without all of the blood and guts of today.

    I'm flattered that you would link to this article via FB since it was a spur of the moment thing and thrown together. I don't have FB but I will definitely have a look at it.

    Glad you are back after your remodeling insanity and I hope you've signed on to the next two Blogathons with the rest of us.

  19. Whoops ... what are the next two blogathons???

  20. Ah yes....old 70s horror films....

    From a filmmaking standpoint, many of them were masterful exercises in low-budget, auteur filmmaking.

    I miss those days...

  21. Hey there, great blog!

    Seeing your poster of "The Hills Have Eyes" just reminded me that a few days ago as I was flipping channels I passed Cinemax (or, Skin-emax) and they were showing a movie called "The Hills Have THIGHS". Hahaha, wow.

    I think the scariest movie I remember seeing was Deliverance, and that's not even a horror movie. ::shivers::

  22. Hi Nate,
    Theres been a few early films that we can all admit were just awful but scared our pants off and left an impact on what we allow ourselves to watch today.


  23. Hi Perfect Number 6,
    So glad you stopped by and commented on your 'scary film experience'. I haven't seen Deliverance in ages but I certainly agree that it was frightening and considering those events could actually happen makes it even more terrifying.

    I hope you'll become a frequent visitor here and join in on our discussions.