Today: the first film to terrify me (that actually meant to do so)
When I watch horror movies alone in the comfort of my home, I feel free to fast-forward through certain bits, getting a glimpse of what’s going to pop out and go Boo!, then rewinding and watching at normal speed, fully prepped for the appearance of the boogen.
In the presence of others, I have no such safety net. Very often I’ll look away, or put a hand over my eyes and not observe the frights onscreen. I caught the second half of David Cronenberg’s The Fly from the lobby of the Stage Theatre, cringing at the plentiful gore as I watched through the open door, unable to bring myself to return to my seat. And I was not the only one hiding out by the popcorn machine.
But when I was even younger and the only cinematic terrors I could watch were broadcast through the magic box in our basement, I would sit on the stairs, my peepers safe from cinematic frights, and ask my younger sisters to let me know what was happening onscreen.
And so was I introduced to Jaws, and a fear of deep water that haunts me to this very day. My fear of Spielberg’s classic was so profound, I had to take up playing the tuba in the school band just so I could conquer my fear of its theme music.
And also my fear of the A&W bear, but that’s another story.
As an adult, Jaws is on almost constant rotation through my movie collection. I appreciate its quality, its use of the slow burn to create suspense, the fine characterizations, and, yes, the scares that still get me in a deeply primal way. As a kid? Yeesh, you couldn’t get me within ten feet of the TV, let alone anything resembling a large body of water.
And why? Because this:
So, yeah, consider me scarred for life. Although not so much that I’m one of those nutsacks in favour of killing a shark because a movie made them wet their bed. That’s a level of idiocy I’m nowhere near embracing. Let sharks live, you fin-hunting cowards! Unless you jump in the water with them a la Matt Hooper, armed with only a knife, you’re a pitiless cretin who deserves to be devoured by your prey. And may that happen sooner rather than later.
For the month of October I’ll be posting a whole mess of stuff about horror. Mostly just stuff I like, because I’m lazy that way.