There are a lot of commercials on television lately for a new movie. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark. And it’s probably going to be stupid. An actual quote from a summary I found online: “small goblin-like creatures…begin to torment Sally at night.” Now come on. This isn’t that scary. Goblin-like creatures? Really? That reminds me of the troll that tried to steal Drew Barrymore’s breath in Cat’s Eye, and even as a kid I knew that was lame.
(This is not scary. It is foolish. Even children know this.)
Also, it stars Joey Potter. Joey Potter is not my go-to person when it comes to horror movie heroines. Because in real life, she was not able to save herself from the worst boogieman of all: Ol’ Crazy-Eyes Cruise.
(Um. This is not a sexy kiss, TOM. You look like you're trying to eat her. Or are narcoleptic and having an episode.)
(Please note that I am well-aware that her name is not really Joey Potter. But everyone who ever starred on Dawson’s Creek will always and forever be known by their Dawson’s Creek name, and that’s just the way it is. If you don’t like it, that’s really too damn bad, and you obviously have NO SOUL.)
(I also just want to go on the record as saying when you Google “Tom Cruise crazy” for images, you get a lot of images of Tom Cruise? But also a lot of images of Charles Manson. COINCIDENCE?)
I just read the rest of the synopsis and it’s totally going to be lame, even though Guillermo del Toro co-wrote it. However, the trailer is misleading and MAKES IT SEEM TERRIFYING. I can’t watch this trailer. Because there’s this horrible scary whispery raspy voice. What the hell, trailer. According to the synopsis, nothing scary happens at all. Well, unless you’re scared of goblins. Trailer? I AM SO SCARED OF THE DARK NOW BECAUSE OF YOU.
Amanda wrote about fear of the dark earlier this week, and she has a good point – fear of the dark is rational. Because you could run into things, or possibly be eaten by bears. I’m really not scared of the dark. (Even though I said so above. Exaggerating!) Or even of running into things. I have this weird dark-radar thing. I run into every single thing in the world when there’s light out, including things that I’m fairly sure weren’t there and jumped up specifically just to smack me in the shins and/or be pointy-bruisy under my feet, but when it’s dark, I’m like a bat-ninja. I can make it to the bathroom and back at night without even brushing up against things. Sometimes I do it with my eyes closed so I can stay even more semi-asleep. This makes my mother crazy when I go home. “You’re going to bed! Take a flashlight,” she says. “I don’t need one, I’m fine, I lived here for years, I think I know where everything is,” I tell her. “No, but in case you have to get up in the middle of the night! You might fall,” she tells me. “No, seriously, I don’t need a flashlight. I’m good. Thanks.” “But when it’s dark! You could FALL.” She puts flashlights (no, seriously, MULTIPLE FLASHLIGHTS, I guess in case one of them happens to run out of batteries or a flashlight thief shows up or something, I don’t know) on my bedside table. She puts nightlights on. How are you supposed to stay asleep when you wake up at 3am having to piss like a racehorse and your house is lit up like an airport runway? Too jarring. I’m awake now, thanks, TOO MUCH LIGHT.
I mean, yes, I suppose being in the dark in a place you’re not comfortable with and you don’t know and there’s a psycho-murderer on the loose would be bad. Or in the woods. Because, sticks. You could step on a stick that would wham you in the face. You can’t predict sticks. Also, when you step on them they make snapping noises which alerts the killer to where you are, and then you get chopped up. But overall, I like the dark. I think this is because I’m a total insomniac and I’ve had a long, long time to get used to the dark. We’re buddies, the dark and I. And the sun and I don’t get along too well, because I burn after 5 minutes exposure, so I’m better in the dark.
This kind of went off the rails. A surprise to no one, I’m sure. ANYWAY. So, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (which Wikipedia tells me is based on an ABC television movie from the 70’s – THIS IS NOT GOING TO BE A GOOD MOVIE WHO THOUGHT IT WAS) is not going to be scary. I’m a connoisseur of horror films. Thing is, I don’t scare easily. Or hardly ever. Here are the things that scare me in horror films:
1. The Devil
2. Things that jump out at me unexpected-like
3. How much I just paid for the ticket
4. Strangers sitting too close to me
That’s it. Mostly, during horror films, I laugh. I had a friend in college (that sounds mean, I STILL have this friend, I just don’t see her often because she lives out of state and is married to a wonderful man who is totally worthy of her fantasticness, so sometimes good things happen to people who deserve them!) that appreciated a fine cheesy horror film, so we’d seek them out and rent them and watch them together and laugh until our stomachs ached. My favorites were Ice Cream Man (starring Clint Howard as the titular treat-slinger, who also killed people and stored their body parts among the ice cream; Olivia Hussey, so radiant in Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet, as his mother, and no, I don’t know how she ended up there, and it was off-putting; and Jan-Michael Vincent, yes, Airwolf himself!, as a cop, and Mr. Vincent seemed to KNOW how bad the movie was, because every once and a while he’d give a pained look toward the camera that would just set me and my friend off into further giggles) and Ticks (also starring Clint Howard, how did that happen?, and Seth Green, and Cousin Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, as summer campers who come afoul of mutated ticks caused by people growing marijuana in the woods with steroids or some such nonsense.) I also remember almost being kicked out of Dreamcatcher (yes, yes, not exactly horror, but horrible, does that count?) because I COULD NOT HANDLE IT. Donnie Wahlberg with his “Duddits!” and Morgan Freeman’s eyebrows ACTUALLY TRYING TO ESCAPE HIS FACE AND THE MOVIE. SHIT WEASELS I CAN’T EVEN. Giggles so hard my sides ached. The person I saw the movie with and I couldn’t look at each other because we’d just set each other off again once we got under control. We were naughty.
Things that are not scary, even though horror movie writers/directors think they are (feel free to forward this along to Hollywood, although I’d like a cut or something, I’m helpful but also poor):
1. Torture porn (just gross, not scary)
2. Ghosts (not all that scary, kind of dumb, mostly)
3. Vampires, werewolves, supernatural beings (only scary if they jump
out at you unexpectedly)
4. Zombies (awesome! But not scary)
5. Clowns (horrifying! But again, not SCARY scary. I mean, yes, of
course, horrifying, and I have a phobia, but not scary-scary.)
6. Psycho-killers (distressing! But not scary.)
7. Poltergeists (stay out of the light, Carol Ann. The non-scary light.)
8. Grainy “documentary-style” footage of something you barely saw
(can be an interesting filmmaking style, but not inherently scary)
There are two movies that actually scared me so badly that I was too afraid to look at the screen or turn off the lights to sleep, and listen, I’ve watched probably hundreds of horror films. One of them will make you nod, because it’s probably on a lot of people’s lists; one of them will probably make you stop reading and walk away in disgust. Sorry in advance for my taste or lack thereof.
I read this book when I was in fifth grade, just as some backstory. Well, no. I STARTED to read this book when I was in fifth grade. I got to the part where the Devil possessed Regan and I not only had to put it away because it scared me so badly I thought I was going to die, I put it in a box and surrounded it by other things and then put that box under a bunch of things and put it in the bottom of my closet, so the evil emanations from the book didn’t possess me while I slept. Then a couple of weeks later my cousins wanted to play with a Ouija board. NO NO NO. My family is very religious. I knew the Devil was BAD NEWS. (I may not be religious anymore, but I’m still not messing with the Devil. On the off-chance he exists, he gets a capital letter in front of his name. HE’S A SCARY MOFO. He’s not jocular like he’s portrayed in some films. HE IS THE MOST EVIL EVER.)
So when I was in college, my cheesy-movie-loving friend and I rented it, because hey, we were adults, and we loved horror movies, and, well, adults! Who can handle such things! We watched it at night, with only a candle burning for light.
OMFGGGGGGGGGG BAD IDEA.
First we were laughing a little at the cheesy 70s production quality, you know, as you do, but then we got quieter. And quieter. Then the blankets we had because it was night and we were curled up on the couch under blankets (separate blankets this is not that kind of story Pervy McDirtymind) started being lifted higher and higher and then over our eyes. And then we’d peek out once and a while and then whimper and put the blankets back over our eyes. But the blanket didn’t stop the sound. And we wanted to know what was happening, because we’re masochists? I don’t know. I guess we just wanted to say we’d seen it.
We didn’t even sleep that night. Every once and a while, I’d call out her name from my room, and she’d answer, wide-awake, from hers. This was not at all a good idea. And sometimes, this movie comes on cable, and I immediately turn it off. IT IS TOO SCARY. Ugh. That VOICE! That awful scary Devil-voice! NO NO NO!
The Blair Witch Project
This is where you start laughing.
No, but seriously, listen. This was marketed BRILLIANTLY. It was one of the first horror docu-dramas that really took advantage of the internet and my friends and I were all over it, reading the website, the chat boards, everything. We knew it wasn’t real. We actually went online and trolled chatrooms and pretended we’d seen the Blair Witch to scare teenagers, which cracked us up.
We drove a couple hours for a midnight show and I was just riveted to the movie. It doesn’t hold up to repeated viewings. I’ve seen it again and although the end is still pretty jarring, and how the group kind of loses it still well-done, and the little “gifts” left around the camp are distressing, it lost its power after that first magical midnight show where a sold-out house of people watched with bated breath.
We all screamed at the ending. Yes, yes, I know, it seems cheesy now. It was awesome then. It was like mass hypnotism, or something. It was great.
On the way home, we got lost, and ended up on a dead-end road, in the woods, next to what looked like an abandoned mental asylum. One friend was in the front seat with me; one was asleep in the back. The one in the front with me and I were stopped, trying to figure out what to do. The one in the back woke up, took one look around, and said, “No no no drive away now this is where the Blair Witch lives” and went back to sleep. This was hysterical. But also true. We got the hell out of there.
So nope, don’t think I’ll be seeing Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark. Unless it’s on DVD and I can watch it with a running Amy-commentary of “yeah. Goblin-like creatures. GOOD IDEA. Watch out they don’t STEAL your BREATH. Maybe you should GET A CAT.” Then I’m all over it.