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Random Thoughts (Blog)

Movies: Scarring lives since 1975

Posted on June 1, 2010 at 6:05 PM

Part of the thrill of reviewing a movie server is getting to check out all of the content they have pre-loaded onto it. Seriously, it’s like a mini-Blockbuster arrives at your house without all of the lame workers or threats looming of late fees.

 

I just finished reviewing the new Kaleidescape Blu-ray player, and they sent me a server filled with 4 Terabytes of sweet lovin’, including movies that I’ve not seen in years (The Sting, Forrest Gump), movies I’ve seen recently but want to check out again (the BD of Avatar and Inside Man) and movies I’ve been wanting to see but haven’t (BDs Michael Jackson’s This Is It. Absolute best moment of the film is when Michael is having a problem with his in-ear monitor. He stops in the middle of a song and points to his ear and says, “I’m saying this with love. L-O-V-E, love. But, it's like someone's shoving their fist in my ear! With love!”)

 

So, one of the movies on the server was the Blu-ray of Wizard of Oz. And it’s G-rated and I thought that maybe Lauryn would enjoy following the yellow brick road and seeing Toto and Tin Man and all, but when I suggested it to Dana she suggested that I might be crazy and that witches and flying monkeys might be too much for a 3 year old.

 

And that got me to thinking about some of the movie choices that my family – OK, I’ll not drag my mom into this – choices that my dad let me watch when I was growing up. And two came immediately to mind; movies that have actually scared -- and scarred -- me to this day. Now I’ll not totally throw my dad under the bus here. I’m sure at the time – you know, when I was FIVE! – I made a real convincing argument for him letting me watch these things. And I doubt that they had all of the studies available like we do today that, say, letting a super young and impressionable child watch something that is borderline traumatizing might actually cause them nightmares well past their 30s, but, I digress.

 

The first movie is Jaws. It came out in 1975. I was five. I don’t remember much from my way-early youth, but I clearly remember seeing Jaws at a drive-through with my parents in Whittier, California. I remember that my dad covered my eyes for the opening scene, whether it was because he thought it was too intense or that I might catch a shot of shadowy, underwater side boob, I don’t know. But pretty much after that scene, his eye covering chores were completed. Sure there were several super scary scenes; Quint getting bitten in half and spewing up blood, the guy getting his leg bitten off, the threat and menace of a similarly aged young boy narrowly missing an attack, just the overall terror that giant, man killing machines are ever patrolling the waters waiting for any opportunity to eat you bit by bit, etc. However, the scene that stays with me is old Ben Gardner. He of the boat. He of the *head* that pops out of the boat. I remember returning to my grandmother’s house who had a black-bottomed pool and asking if the head was going to come popping out. Of going to the bathroom and asking if the head was going to come popping out. To this day, I don’t like to go swimming at night. Even in my own pool.

 

 

The second movie is Salem’s Lot. When it came out, I had matured considerably, all the way to a nearly adult 9. This TV mini-series was based on a novel by Stephen King about a Maine town that is overrun by vampires. I remember my cousin was staying with us while this was on and him being too afraid/sensible to watch it. But not me. I sat right alongside my dad through all the vampire mayhem. Neck bitings, corpses rising, stake in heart driving, and a terrifying, Nosferatu-styled vampire who basically eschewed all of Lugosi’s camp and “I vant to suck your blooood!” with evil and hissing. I remember literally screaming out loud at the end of one part when a body in a casket suddenly opened its eyes and bolted upright. But, in the stream of memories, that one is a forgotten laugher. The one that still haunts me is Danny Glick. Again, a boy roughly my age at the time who floats back from the dead and scratches against his friend’s window, trying to get him to open up so he can...play. Scratch...scratch... "Open the window. Open the window, Mark. Open the window, Mark. Please! Let me in! It's OK, Mark, I'm your friend." Dude, I'm a 40 year old, sitting in a fully lit, Florida beach house, and that is still some scary sh--! No joke, to THIS DAY I do not like to sleep near an window that is not drawn because of Danny Glick. If I can see the glass, Danny Glick will come floating up, he will scratch on the window, smiling with his blood-soaked smile, and he will get me to open up.

 

 

So, when Dana says that she thinks something might be too old or too scary for Lauryn, I listen. And, Dad, I love you. L-O-V-E, love. But these movies were like someone shoving a shiv into my memory brain. With love!

Categories: June 2010, Movies, Family

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17 Comments

Reply Dan
12:16 AM on June 2, 2010 
He never should have let you rent, 'Red Heat' either.
Reply John Sciacca
4:16 PM on June 2, 2010 
Other memories associated with Red Heat.....none of them good either.
Reply Pkscia@aol.com
6:06 PM on June 3, 2010 
I remember watching Jaws with you and also having Jaime at our house to watch Salem's Lot and how frightened he was. That was a bad choice for a "family" show. Now we have other things to watch that will catch our attention and some should come with a vomit bag when they are rented. Best for you to listen to Dana on movie choices
Reply Jeremy Glowacki
12:44 PM on June 18, 2010 
Ok, first, one of your editors speaking... surely you saw Jaws at the Drive-In and not the Drive-Through as you stated (unless you had really wild McDonalds-concept restaurants out in Cali in 1975. Really my reason for responding is that I too was treated to Jaws, but as a mere 4-year-old (not five until October of that year). It was a babysitter hired (and subsequently fired for taking me to see Jaws) from my grandparents' church. Mom was furious. The sitter gave me the choice of going to the swimming pool or a movie. The AC of the theater sounded like such a better choice in the middle of a hot Indiana summer. I brought my "ghetto" GI Joe knockoff doll with me and proceeded to chew the paint (likely lead-based) off the doll's head. The paint tasted sweet and was quite comforting during the more tense moments of the movie. After it was over I was convinced that the doll's hair had been "scared white" by the movie.
Reply T~Law
2:40 PM on June 18, 2010 
Let's not forget the Shining! Still to this day seeing the twins at the end of the hall way is burned into my memory. It almost ruined my outlook on twins. Thank god for the Double Mint campaign.
Reply John Sciacca
3:35 PM on June 18, 2010 
Jeremy Glowacki says...
Ok, first, one of your editors speaking... surely you saw Jaws at the Drive-In and not the Drive-Through as you stated

See! That's why I need you , Jeremy! I just spew forth this bubbling stream of vitriol and need someone to gently guide it on its way. Nice story though. Maybe if the sitter had stuck around we could swap Salem's Lot stories too!
Reply Dani Escobar-Sinn
4:36 PM on April 20, 2011 
Okay, what is the deal with fathers putting their young, impressionable children through this kind of damaging torture?! So what if I asked you to rent the movie, that doesn't mean you HAVE to do it! So I begged, and whined and threw a tantrum screaming about how I won't get scared, you have a moral obligation to just say no, dad! I think, at least with my father, that the thought of catching a glimpse of murky-water side-boob was all he needed to come to terms with the idea of how it may be harmful to my psyche and just give in. I remember watching Sleep Away Camp: 2 when I was 6. There was a scene where the camp counselor takes one of the campers and drowns her in a port-a-john filled with leeches and bees...and of course there was all this turmoil and struggle and gasping for air with bugs and putrid nastiness all over the wretched girls face. I WILL NOT GO IN A PORT-A-JOHN TO THIS DAY, DAD! Thanks for the memories!!
Reply Derma Rollers
9:41 PM on July 20, 2011 
Great blog! Do you have any helpful hints for aspiring writers? I'm hoping to start my own website soon but I'm a little lost on everything. Would you suggest starting with a free platform like Wordpress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I'm completely overwhelmed .. Any recommendations? Thanks!
Reply Kirsten Imani Kasai
2:26 PM on September 1, 2011 
I saw Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) in theaters when I was 8. Totally traumatized me! I didn't sleep well for months, because "they get you while you sleep!"
Reply Jen
3:28 PM on September 1, 2011 
I was 4 when my dad was watching an old dracula movie that terrified me! From then on Vampires were my kryptonite! I saw it a few years ago though and laughed hysterically at the part that terrified me. I used to however read Stephen King, because at the time he became hugely popular we were living in Maine and many of the places he wrote about I knew. Salem's lot though, I saw parts of the first show - like a moth to the flame I kept flipping over to it - I was forced however to watch the second part at a friends house in a room full of older boys (I was roughly your age). I wouldn't watch it again to this day. It is still ridiculously scary to me! I think it was the close proximity to the area he was writing about, but regardless Salems Lot did me in!
Reply Matt
3:46 PM on September 1, 2011 
The original Last House on the Left tramatized me as a teenager. And I saw Stephen King's IT when I was 4 or 5 and had nightmares about Tim Curry's Pennywise for years.
Reply JACK
4:13 PM on September 1, 2011 
Reservoir Dogs....Scarey, whenever it comes to mind.
Reply John Sciacca
5:38 PM on September 1, 2011 
Jen says...
I was 4 when my dad was watching an old dracula movie that terrified me! From then on Vampires were my kryptonite! I saw it a few years ago though and laughed hysterically at the part that terrified me. I used to however read Stephen King, because at the time he became hugely popular we were living in Maine and many of the places he wrote about I knew. Salem's lot though, I saw parts of the first show - like a moth to the flame I kept flipping over to it - I was forced however to watch the second part at a friends house in a room full of older boys (I was roughly your age). I wouldn't watch it again to this day. It is still ridiculously scary to me! I think it was the close proximity to the area he was writing about, but regardless Salems Lot did me in!

My dad used to teach HS English and I remember watching the original Nosferatu. Scary! Book Salems Lot didn't freak me out as much as Danny Glick. (Shiver!) That picture gets me every time!
Reply John Sciacca
5:40 PM on September 1, 2011 
Matt says...
The original Last House on the Left tramatized me as a teenager. And I saw Stephen King's IT when I was 4 or 5 and had nightmares about Tim Curry's Pennywise for years.

IT the TV series was good, but didn't scare me NEARLY as much as the book. Even reading it in broad daylight, I was checking over my shoulders making sure there were no glamours trying to sneak up on me. "We all float down here!"
Reply John Sciacca
5:43 PM on September 1, 2011 
JACK says...
Reservoir Dogs....Scarey, whenever it comes to mind.

The ear cutting off and then setting the guy on fire definitely gets points on the disturbing meter. Though not as disturbing for me as "Man Bites Dog" or "Leolo" to of my Ten Worst Films Ever. http://johnsciacca.webs.com/apps/blog/show/3548166-top-10-list-wo
rst-films-edition
Reply Oliver
10:33 AM on September 2, 2011 
I saw Jaws when I was 6 in an open air cinema in Ivory Coast in 1976 and this has become a matter of family tables conversations reminding me that despite my age (41), a lot of my family members still blame my parents for letting me see it. I remember my dad saying that I was so insistant that they had no choice other to let me go. I still have a picture of me holding a local magazine with the Jaws poster. In my face, a mix of terror and (real) excitement.
Reply Slavik
2:26 PM on January 2, 2012 
The Exorcist, nuff said.