Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Watch with Mother

I am of a somewhat nervous disposition.

Despite this, I am a fan of things that scare me – horror films, roller coasters, Gene Simmons (who is sexy but I can’t figure out why). It probably started as a child. My parents were into their horror films and on Saturday afternoons we’d head to the (slightly dodgy, now I think about it) video shop up the little lane by the travel agents to choose the evening’s entertainment. This was in the good old days before the nanny state intervened and decided for us what was and wasn’t suitable viewing, and the shelves were positively groaning under the weight of triple-x-rated material. The films back then weren’t very sophisticated – all they needed was some gratuitous violence, a bit of random shagging and no discernible storyline and they were set. So, my parents would watch their films on a Saturday night. I would watch them on a Sunday morning. With my Mum. From the age of about seven. I saw them all – Driller Killer, The Evil Dead, Superstition (that one was actually left with the babysitter to entertain us when my parents went out one evening. We particularly enjoyed the hapless-teenager-being-cut-in-half-by-a-sash-window scene), The Hills Have Eyes, I Spit on Your Grave. No such thing as censorship in our house, thank you. My Mum would also video the hour-long “Hammer House of Horror” episodes off the telly for me. I had some spectacular nightmares as a child, and still have a fear of opening a curtain after dark in case an enormous werewolf is outside.

I also had a book that used to scare the bejesus out of me. It was called the Hamlyn Book of Horror, and was a sort of Bunty annual for the depraved. If I think about it now it still creeps me out. The inside cover featured a black and white photograph of a severed hand on the windowsill of a country house, and that pretty much set the tone. There were stories, pictures and information on all sorts of nasty things, notably the Countess of Bathory (who bathed in the blood of virgins), the horrors of being buried alive, a lovely illustrated section on how Vlad the Impaler used to line the track leading up to his castle with bodies on sticks, and my old favourite – werewolves. The werewolf chapter was so scary that I couldn’t even look at the page. If you put the book in front of me now I probably still couldn’t look at it. Eventually, the book began to freak me out so much that I relegated it to the bottom shelf of my bookcase, placed horizontally with the spine facing inwards so that I couldn’t even see the title. I came across it by accident once while looking for something else (my Bumper Book of Serial Killers, probably) and it literally made me jump. But I’m still fascinated by it, in a weird way, and am having to restrain myself from ordering it online just to see it one more time.

Small Person, however, is a total wuss. Never mind werewolves – she had nightmares after watching the film about the were-rabbit. When I sit her down in front of Zombie Flesh Eaters at the weekend she’s going to shit herself. Still, it’s character-forming, and it never did me any harm.

18 Comments:

Anonymous Whinger chimed in with...

I still cannot even think too long about Alien after having seen it at too young of an age.

So scary. I can handle gore in films like nothing else, but if there is potential for something jumping out at me, I must watch it from behind the safety of my hand or with the sound off.

28 February, 2006 19:35  
Blogger funny thing chimed in with...

I still think back to some welsh film where a bloke gouged out his own eyes. Aaaargh!
I've always been slightly worried about my own hands ever since then , just in case they are taken over by some force.

SP will be fine, as long as you tell her she's protected by a guardian angel (as long as she does what she's told)....

28 February, 2006 19:48  
Blogger mig bardsley chimed in with...

I used to watch Dr who and the Daleks with a cushion ready to hide behind and a handful of bananas.
(No I'm not sure about the bananas either)

28 February, 2006 20:22  
Blogger Jemima chimed in with...

I used to indulge in those horror compendiums. Then crap myself as darkness fell. There was one about an african carving that had its protective charm dislodged and tried to kill its owner. Yup, I've been checking under the bed and behind the curtains ever since.

and the word verification of 'grqkan' isn't helping as that is exactly the noise a homicidal carving would make as it stood in wait for me.

28 February, 2006 21:39  
Blogger Tickersoid chimed in with...

I was brought up on 'Hammer House of Horror' films. The only emotion they induced was boredom. The supposedy scary bit, was always in the last reel by which time I had fallen asleep.
The first time in my entire long life, that I actually saw something that, literally filled me with horror ( such that I was incapable of shutting my mouth )was a few days ago when I saw the mpeg linked from 'tazzy and Piggy's blog, which showed someone mutilating their own 'dangly bits'
I had to turn off for the genuine fear of fainting. I kid you not!!!

01 March, 2006 08:30  
Anonymous Other Half chimed in with...

Worst nightmare I ever had was after over-indulging in Marvel comics one Saturday afternoon. 4 hours straight of the Green Goblin can have a disturbing effect on an 8 year olds subconscious !

I am mystified that any parent can seriously consider Driller Killer and the Hills Have Eyes as suitable viewing for a child. I watched them as a teenager and they freaked me out.

01 March, 2006 08:48  
Blogger Wyndham chimed in with...

Hammer House Of Horror - that brings back a few memories - about as scary as custard!

Dexter, too, is both scared and obsessed by the Were-Rabbit in Wallace And Gromit. As is his mother.

01 March, 2006 09:55  
Blogger No one Really chimed in with...

That’s spooky, that’s almost a mirror of my childhood viewing. My dad would get us all those Vid’s when we stayed at his on a Saturday Night. You missed Cannibal Holocaust, but got all the main ones… I also used to stay up by myself and watch the BBC2 Late Night Horror Double Bill. Mostly black and white classic’s, with werewolves, and vampires etc…

To add a more spooky coincidence, I had the very same book; the picture of Vlad was him eating dinner surrounded by bodies on spikes, wasn’t it?

Bring back the carefree 70’s.

01 March, 2006 10:37  
Blogger Fifi chimed in with...

Don't forget Nanny's horrible Pan horror books too, Surly Sis...lovely reading with a glass of Schloer and some Dairy Milk before bed during those holiday visits..

When I was about 9 I had a book that had a black and white photograph of someone's brain coming out of their head which I kept obsessively looking at, and was terrified mine would spontaneously start doing the same. (After two children, I think it is gradually happening to me now!)

01 March, 2006 11:12  
Blogger Betty chimed in with...

Childhood is mostly spent being scared out of your wits by one thing or another. I can remember most of the 8 year olds in my class being terrified because THE ALIENS HAD LANDED on Cannock Chase and murdered a woman. Apparently.

01 March, 2006 12:27  
Anonymous Piggy and Tazzy chimed in with...

Roller-coasters scare the shit out of me too. I still go on them though and can't explain why.

As for horror stories, I was a fan of the 'Pan Books of Horror' when I was an even wee'er Cute Wee Me.

Gene Simmons? Are you having psychotic drugs for breakfast?

01 March, 2006 12:30  
Anonymous kyahgirl chimed in with...

jesus christ surly-I wish I could smack your mom upside the head!

I still get freaked out by shadows in the window on a moonlit night after watching a really scary version of Dracula as a kid. He'd stand in the window in cape before coming in to bit the sleeping heroine.

hmmm, still have a thing for vampires. I think I'd better send you an Anita Blake book...they have vampires and werewolves!

01 March, 2006 14:50  
Anonymous kyahgirl chimed in with...

'bite' the heroine *rolls eyes* (again I slacked off on the proof reading)

01 March, 2006 14:52  
Blogger First Nations chimed in with...

see, heres one of the few sane things my mother did...she was a movie fanatic, and we watched anything and everything together while she told me how the effects were done and how the plot tricks would inevitably work out.
the movie that scared me into weeping terror? one to avoid letting small person watch? FIRE IN THE SKY. the entire alien operation scene...and when the aliens lower that needle thing towards the poor guys' eye? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

01 March, 2006 16:53  
Blogger DavetheF chimed in with...

Countess Bathory was in fact the basis of the Hammer bloodfest called "Countess Dracula", with the naughty Ingrid Pitt in the title role. Cue undressed nubile virgins ...

01 March, 2006 20:15  
Blogger frangelita chimed in with...

My parents were pretty easy about film watching. There was just one my mum forbid me see possibly due to the blasphemic nature of it - The Exorcist. So I snuck out and saw it with my boyfriend. After a few beers, it wasn't all that scary. Were-wolfs, mind you...

01 March, 2006 20:58  
Blogger Kellycat chimed in with...

Wyndham - I too was terrified by having to sit down and watch Alien when I was six with my mum. I only made it to the stomach bit and that was enough. I still haven't watched any of the other Alien films and cannot cope with horror films at all.

Even Watcher in the Woods still scares the bejesus out of me...

01 March, 2006 22:04  
Anonymous Stu Savory chimed in with...

Oh Boy, Surly, do I ever have another book for you :-

H.R.Giger's "Necronomicon".

02 March, 2006 05:46  

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