I do not watch scary movies. No stomach for it. I didn’t make it through five minutes of Sixth Sense (which, if I understand correctly, is more of a weird thriller than anything horror-related), and get physically ill if I can hear someone watching a horror film in another room. The scariest thing I’ve ever seen, the thing that made me afraid to be alone with myself, the thing that haunted me with its music and images for a solid week after viewing is Watership Down. (I often think it’s only because I was so young, but when I look up the trailer for it all of the terror comes back. ALL OF IT. Rabbits. Who knew.) The Young Sherlock Holmes runs a close second for terrifying, not because it’s a good movie, but because it made me realize how helpless I was once I fell asleep: my brain could do whatever it wanted to me and there was nothing I could do about it and while I thought this was cool, it frightened me badly because I knew from experience that I always believed my dreams were real and could come up with some pretty nasty things. Falling asleep when you have no idea whether or not your own mind will torment you, is difficult, my friends. Difficult.
Anyways, I know better than to watch movies whose specific purpose is to shock and horrify. There’s a saying that predates film by a good bit, but is fitting nonetheless:
Be very, very careful what you put into that head, because you will never, ever get it out.
~ Cardinal Thomas Wolsey
It would seem that this is untrue for some people. I know human beings – human beings I like and who I’ve seen have genuine, positive interaction with small furry animals – who just can’t take horror films seriously. I’m wringing my hands, stomach knotting, thinking This is not okay, what if this happened to someone I knew (and liked), what if this happened to me? while they’re sitting there, eating popcorn and thinking Gosh, this is just ridiculous.
Takes all kinds.
The point of all this is to explain why when I pick out a movie to watch come Halloween, I stay far away from the horror genre. My idea of Halloween films are the following, which, if scary, are only scary for the two-year-olds in the room, as my sister was when my father attempted to show us this first one on the list:
1) Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein
Fuzzy old black-and-white, vampires and werewolves fighting long before Edward and Jacob decided they liked the same girl, castles and mad scientists and romance. Weird? Only if you’ve never watched a film older than yourself.
2) It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!
“If you try to hold my hand I’ll slug you.”
Wise words, my dear. Wise words.
3) The Ghost and Mr. Chicken
Don Knotts and haunted mansions and murder. Probably only enjoyable for those whose primary television consumption was The Andy Griffith Show, or who have a 50s-60s style of humor-shaped hole in their heart.
Mostly I just like the song.
What do YOU watch for Halloween? Or is watching not your thing? What other activities do you enjoy on a wicked Autumn night?