This past weekend I commiserated with one of my girls. She was psyching herself up to spend some quality time with a very nice fella by joining him for a showing of Cabin in the Woods. As a token of support I decided to read the spoiler online. She came out of the weekend loving the movie. I came out of it with nightmares of the walking dead and gore-spouting fish-head men.
It is not news to those that know me that I do not do scary. Do. Not. Do.
Growing up has done little to stem my irrational fears. My intelligent, well-educated, logical brain can't hold a candle to my herd-of-frisky-wild-ponies imagination. No amount of logic, reason and reality can overcome my sheer terror at the thought of most things portrayed in horror flicks. Especially zombies. Needless to say this little reality of mine brings no small amount of joy and entertainment to my friends and loved ones (*ahem* torturous husband of mine...) who thrill in trying to get me to watch these movies, insisting it's all fake and really, it's a great movie, I'll love it! And so I have become proficient at insisting back that, no, really, thank you but I'll pass. I SAID I'LL PASS!
Except I'm not entirely proficient. I have this incredible curiosity and no amount of refusal to watch all things horror, knowing how it affects me, can save me from wondering what happens, and so I read the spoilers. This, one might think, is a win win! When you can't see and hear all the scary stuff then it really should be a cakewalk. Famous last words! For three nights after reading the spoiler for Cabin in the Woods I dreamed like it was my job about running from Things In The Woods and getting trapped in underground lairs of sacrificing. The first night was so bad even multiple trips to the bathroom for a glass of water wasn't enough to break me out of the horror and I'd close my eyes only to be exactly where I'd been when I woke up.
Some of you are probably shaking your head in disbelief at any of a variety of components that make up my particular brand of crazy, but it's true. Some examples:
1) Years ago I made a friend play Silent Hill so I could watch it to satisfy my curiosity. After insisting to me that he had to hear the game at least a little bit so he could tell where bad things were I allowed the volume to be turned up to a whopping level 4. He tried to insist it was really much easier to see the game if the light in the room wasn't as bright as the sun but he lost that battle. For three months after that weekend I had dreams about Pyramid Head and would wake up in the morning thinking to myself if when I opened the bedroom door there was a pair of undead mannequin legs standing outside of it. I hadn't found the gun yet (typical survival game challenge) and needed to run past it, snatch the car keys off the hook and sprint for the car. Not kidding. The mornings when the fog rolled in my 3rd story view of our empty condo pool was particularly disturbing.
2) Shaun of the Dead. I adore Simon Pegg, his movies are awesome, unfortunately no amount of adoration and funny can overcome the amount of zombie in this one. I have watched it in completion and count that as a feather in my cap, even though just the other day I had a blood rushing twinge of fear remembering the scene where he walks to the convenience store and you can see the zombies lumbering down the street in the not-so-distant background. In case you forgot, that movie is 8 years old. I'm just sayin'.
3) I have never, ever seen Jaws, or any of it's reincarnations, and yet I am petrified of being in water I can't see through. As a kid I could manage to get myself into a lake or river but when it came time to climb the dock ladder to get out I would do it so fast it was a miracle I never slipped and cracked my head on something. I'd always have to take a minute standing on the dock to let my heart rate slow and the blood to drain back out of my face. Let's not forget the water tubing and how I was the only person who would hand over hand pull myself to the back of the boat so I could step right from the tube onto the ladder. Swim the distance between the two? You must be joking.
4) Remember that Jason movie? One of the originals, I think, the one where he breaks through the basement staircase and that one guy is a gonner? That is one scene of maybe two I have ever seen of ANY of those movies and I saw it 15 years ago. It was at my first job at a dog day care center. I was at reception and it was on the tv in the adjacent office, I couldn't help stealing sneak peeks (that curiosity thing). To this day sometimes when I come out of our basement I stand at the top of the stairs feeling not entirely unlike I did climbing out of the lake. I never even notice that after the first step or two I practically sprint the rest of the way. Sometimes my imagination kicks into overdrive and not only am I running up the stairs, I'm running up it sideways with my back against the wall so I can see where I'm going and what might be coming behind me.
5) When I was still somewhat newly old enough to be left home alone I was left home alone on a stormy night. I hadn't watched anything scary but managed to let myself be convinced that the sound of acorns hitting the roof over the dinning room were traveling in a distinct direction and meant someone was walking on the roof. My parents came home to me huddled in the rocking chair facing the front door and both entrances to the living room in terrified tears with every light in the house turned on.
Things I blame for my crazy:
1) Siblings insisting on playing hide and seek in the dark, stormy days were a bonus. I was always It, no lights allowed. (love you guys!)
2) When I was 3 we went to Disney World. 20K Leagues Under the Sea was a pretty great ride until you got to that back corner of the tank where in the depths of the shadows you could see the red, glowing eyes and hints of tentacles of the giant squid. I remember that squid like I saw it yesterday.
3) People seeking pleasure in trying to push my scare buttons. Like that one time a particular someone (*ahem*) crept silently into the bathroom while I was taking a shower and when I opened the curtain I was so startled and scared I burst into tears and sobbed for a good 10 minutes. (The movie Psycho plagues me now and then but I've never watched even a little bit of that one, either.)
What I'm trying to say is I'm sensitive. No amount of lighthearted finger pointing, however, will change the fact that at the end of the day my inability to cope with the obviously fake and fictional is something bred in my own head that I've never been able to fully overcome. And maybe, just maybe, it's something that every so often I feed a tiny bit by pushing my own buttons, but I'll never admit it out loud.