Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ooooooo Kids - This is a Scary One!

Portions of this post were originally posted 10-17-08, but since it had NO comments, I felt pretty safe re-posting a revised edition.

You know what I don't like? I don't like Haunted Houses. Or Haunted Hayrides. Or Haunted much of anything. Tom says I'm ridiculous. Most of you will, too, probably. My line of reasoning is this: If I were a deranged killer, these are the sort of places where I would seek employment. This would be an easy place to get away with murder. The kids are very tempted by these attractions. I won't go. I have been convinced that I'm being irrational. But I still won't go. If he wants to take them, I won't stop them. But I won't join them, either. I. Don't. Like. Haunted stuff.

My aversion to haunted house/designed to scare stuff goes way back.

When I was 10 or 11, I was a big fan of Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn. When a family vacation found us spending the night in Hannibal Missouri, the home of Mark Twain and the setting for my beloved stories, my parents had no trouble indulging me with visits to Tom Sawyer's fence, Mark Twain's homestead, and the Becky Thatcher house. They did not, however, want to take me into the Haunted House on Hill Street. I was too young, I'd be scared. My sister was 2 years younger than me. Definitely too scary. But I begged and I pleaded and I pleaded and I begged and I showed the brochures to my sister who agreed it looked like just the coolest thing ever and she joined me in the pleading and begging and my mother eventually caved. Dad didn't. He didn't approve, and he wouldn't go. If she wanted to take two small children into a walk-through haunted house, she was on her own. She looked at our sincere pleading little faces and decided she could handle it. Foolish woman! As soon as that first puff of cold air hit our ankles, my sister and I were scared too stiff to move. My mother was able to talk them into letting us come out the way we went in, but there would be no refund. My sister and I cried and my father went into "I told you so" mode and we lost a nice chunk of change. That's what she got for being a nice guy.

A year or two later, I decided it would be a good idea to read "The Exorcist". My mother did not agree. She forbid it. You will not read that book and you will not bring that book into this house. The foot had spoken. Except my 12 year old self thought I was a little smarter than the owner of the foot and I knew what was good for me better than she did. Ahem. So a battered paperback copy was sneakily transported from a friends home to their bookbag to my bookbag. And I read it cover to cover. And I didn't sleep properly for 2 weeks. My mother, for the first time in my life, locked her bedroom door. No crying to her and interrupting her sleep because I thought I knew better. Worst punishment ever.

When I was 9 - 9, folks - making my sister, if you're following along - 7! - My parents, along with my aunt and uncle and 2 cousins all loaded into my uncle's Dodge Charger and headed to the drive-in. Ok, first off, do the math, that's 4 adults and 4 kids in a Charger similar to this one. The grown-ups wanted to see Play it Again Sam. And really, what 9 year old isn't a big Woody Alan fan, eh? So, ok, not necessarily an appropriate choice, but whatever. An outing is an outing. We unloaded the lawn chairs and the kids set them up in the parking space next to the car. Can you say white trash? I thought you could. Now anyone who remembers drive-ins also remembers, no doubt, that they were always double features. On this particular night, the second film was (the not yet cult classic) Let's Scare Jessica to Death. Also, please recall, that in those days you didn't listen to the movie through your car stereo - you listened to it through little speakers that you attached to your window. Well, at a particularly scary moment in the movie, I panicked. I wanted my mom. I screamed and ran for the car. Except I was disoriented and I ran for the wrong car, knocking their speaker out of their window at a particularly tense point in the movie and causing them to scream. At this point my mother is screaming, too, because she realizes it's me causing all this ruckus. So I'm screaming, man in the car is screaming and Mom is screaming. This disruption to the movie causes all the cars around us to start blowing their horns and - well - yelling more than screaming. It was - memorable.

I just don't do well with scary.

One more story.

Fast forward to my late teens.

Where I grew up, everyone knew the legend of Becky's Grave. It was something everyone always talked about, but one night we decided it was time to pay old Becky a visit. There was a carload of us, and, yes, it's true: we'd been drinking a little. Maybe a lot. Probably a lot. We parked the car, and I'll never forget it - the radio (Or was it a cassette? Or perhaps an eight- track?) was playing Alice Cooper: Dead Babies. We left it on while we went trekking through the woods. I was starting to get a little creeped out, as one will when one is pursuing a ghost in the woods on a cool Autumn night with a couple few beers in one. Then, just as one of my friends proclaimed: "there it is!" I tripped into a little ditch. I am so completely freaked out at this point, I don't know which way is up, and as I try to pull myself to an upright position, it seems that the roots on the ground have conspired to keep me down. Why yes, this was around the time Evil Dead came out. Why do you ask?

So, yeah. I'm older and wiser now and would really rather live without the thrills. But I understand why my girls want to pursue them. Lucky for them, they have a more-than-willing dad.

Happy Halloween, (just a little bit early), ya'll.


Sandy said...

I'm with you, Tammy, I don't do scary. Never been particularly interested so I don't have any of those stories.

I don't like slasher movies AT ALL! I refuse to watch them. My feeling is that there really are people out there capable of doing what's on the screen and it's just giving those creeps an idea or a script.

A few years ago Paul was watching the movie Cape Fear on TV in the den. I don't really know what the plot is, all I know is there was a whole lot of screaming! I was sitting in the kitchen literally with my fingers in my ears! There's a visual for you.

No, don't do scary/slasher/mean to other people movies. So there!

Margo said...

First the movie going history, and now this. I am the biggest wimp about scary - movies, more than books. I still can't hear the music from the Exorcist without practically having a nervous breakdown, and I didn't sleep for weeks either after reading. And I never did watch the movie..To top it off, my family LOVES the scary :)

Pam said...

I don't do scary either. When I was a teen I loved all those movies - but they were much tamer than they are today. And haunted houses are just not my thing either. Too up close and personal, though now I'll be worried about the psychopathic employees the next time my girls ask to go with their friends. Thanks for that!

Gibby said...

OMG, this post is hysterical!!! I can just picture you panicking at all of those "scary" times. ROFL!

I do like the scary stuff, especially afterwards. I am sure you have heard of all the cult/scary stories about the OU campus. Combine those stories plus a bunch of dramatic college students plus a lot of beer, and man, did we have good times around Halloween!

Badass Geek said...

My wife loves scary movies, even the really campy ones, but I don't think she'd have the guts to do a truly haunted house.

Me, on the other hand... I'd probably say I'd try it, but wimp out just before. Unless I had some Ativan in me.


i love haunted houses, i've seen very nearly every horror movie ever made and actually belong to a SCARY MOVIE CLUB and i also read the exorcist too, but i was more like 16 or 17 and after i would read it at night - i would be too afraid to get out of bed and shut off my light so i would sleep with the lights on! that's some scary stuff!

Grand Pooba said...

I man, I wish I could get that scared! I love being scared, but it takes a lot these days to scare me. If only I had read The Exorsist when I was little!

ModernMom said...

Just reading about your scary stories gave me the goosebumps! I felt bad for your poor Exorcist reading self crying yourself to sleep...that was one scary movie, so I bet the book was horrific.

Rosa said...

Fantastic stories! My daughter recently got all freaked out by watching the full length version of MJ's Thriller. Creepy stuff when you're little. Needless to say, she is NOT a fan of scary these days.

carma said...

I'm picturing you in the ditch feeling around blindly to get out! I think you should stay in and avoid any potential hazards such as the ones you mention.

otin said...

I remember going to the drive in and watching a double feature. The thought was that the kids would fall asleep before the second film! Wrong! Night of the living dead is very scary when you are 6!!

Melissa B. said...

The Exorcist still scares the pee out of me. I started reading it the night before high school graduation, and stayed up all nite. By the time of the all nite grad party after the ceremony, I was seriously ready for some zzzzzzzssss. But couldn't sleep because I has still scared poop-less!

Tracy said...

I've never liked scary either

Mrs4444 said...

I'm sorry, but this made me LOL.

Visiting from Unknown Mami. Congrats on your reward :)

Unknown Mami said...

I can not handle scary. It makes my butt hole hurt.

blueviolet said...

I don't like scary either. I've never gone to a haunted house and I never will. Especially now that I have it stuck in my mind that deranged killers are waiting to strike.

kyslp said...

I can't handle scary movies/books/stories or thoughts. My feet and palms are starting to sweat thinking about it.

mama-face said...

I'm so jumpy my familia knows to be careful and not sneak up on me. I think it is because I am always deep in thought...I wish. So spooky, no way. I can picture your mom with her two daughters turning around at the door of the haunted house. sweet, really.

When I was in High School my friends and I went to see Friday 13th. I ran out of the theatre, ALONE; left without my friends. I still hate campground restrooms. Well for more than one reason. :)

The Grown-Up Child said...

I hate scary things. I watched the movie The Ring a few years back and swore off horror movies for good. It's just not worth it. I still have nightmares if I think too much about The Blair Witch Project. (shivers)

My husband misses seeing scary movies, but he's been pretty good about not pushing my 'scary' button.

MaryRC said...

i pursued all things scary in my youth as well. damien, halloween, he knows your alone, exorcist (could only watch that with my ears plugged), motel hell,... oh yea, I was all over it.

NOW? Forget it. I can do monsters like Leviathan or Aliens, but not ghosty spirit stuff. My last ghosty spirit movie was The Grudge, (which I thought was a monster) gave me a bladder infection because I refused to get up in the middle of the night and go to the bathroom for fear that the Grudge was in the tub waiting for me. I did this for a month mind you.

The only haunted anything I do is the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, my kids can barely handle that, so I'm not so worried about them begging for the spook and scream places that turn up on every corner this season/

MiMi said...

Oh man, those things all happened to me in a slightly different way with slightly different movies, books, etc.
My friends mom forbade us from ever watching The Exorcist. Okay, no harm, we won't. Yeah right.
We rented it. We screamed so loud she came storming outta the back bedroom. Turned the movie off. Took it, put it in her robe, looks at us all and goes, "Dumb. Shits." And goes back to bed. Nice, right?

Tsquared417 said...

I HATE haunted houses...and I couldn't agree more...the perfect place for a serial killer to get away with murder!

P.S. I faked an asthma attack in jr. high once to get out of going to a haunted house while still maintaining some of my dignity!!

I like a good scary movie though.