I poked my tiny fingers through the holes of my grandma’s old blanket. I pulled the fabric closer to me and kept my eyes shut tight. That stupid blanket was doing a piss poor job at blocking me from seeing what was happening on the screen. It also didn’t help that I kept peeking, despite the kid terror that shook through my body.
But who could blame me for looking? A little girl my exact age was touching a creepy ass ghost hand that just randomly pushed itself through her television set. That’s super messed up. I had to see what was going to happen next.
Questions began to flood my little mind. How do dead people have access to technology? Do all TV sets come stocked with a weird ghost limb that shoots out at a moment’s notice? And most importantly, what the hell were my parents thinking when they decided to let me watch this movie?
Carole Anne was about to walk through that goddamn multidimensional portal inside her TV. And in a way, so was I. Because I was a first grader watching Poltergeist, a horror movie that messed me up and never left me the same.
Fuck you, Steven Spielberg.
No matter how dumb the plotline is or how much disbelief I need to suspend, every single horror movie sucks me into its addictive world. And it doesn’t stop there.
You’d think this traumatic experience would keep me from ever wanting to watch a scary film again. But you’d be totally wrong. Poltergeist ignited within me a lifelong obsession with any movie designed to terrify. And I hate every single one of ’em. The sad truth is that horror movies have ruined my life, but I just can’t bring myself to stop watching them.
No matter how dumb the plotline is or how much disbelief I need to suspend, every single horror movie sucks me into its addictive world. And it doesn’t stop there. Not only do I begin to connect the action onscreen to stuff that happens in real life, but my subconscious starts to convince me that all of this shit is most definitely going to happen directly to me.
After seeing the movie Candyman, kid me spent hours of my life taking turns pooping with my little sister, because we were both too afraid to be in the bathroom by ourselves. Stephen’s King’s It had me finding any alternative route to walking past storm drains. A Nightmare on Elm Street left me paralyzed before bed, as I laid there trying desperately to stop seeing Freddy Krueger’s face above me. And don’t even get me started on how long I avoided forests after watching The Blair Witch Project.
By the end of every one, I’d spend days — sometimes weeks — proving to myself that I wasn’t the lead in a real life horror movie. Once I did, I’d solemnly vow to never allow myself to watch anything scary again for the rest of my life.
And then, when I least expected it, a trailer would drop for the newest screamfest. And I’d fall for that creepy bullshit all over again.
The sad truth is that I’m now a grown ass woman in her thirties, and I can’t fall asleep anywhere without checking every single nook and cranny for invading ghosts and monsters. I always sleep with a light on, and I always make sure to keep my feet tucked under my covers. I never let myself fall asleep with my back to the edge of the bed. And whenever I move into a new place, I immediately try to negotiate with the potentially non-existent spirits that live there.
Basically, I’ve adapted to become a living, breathing sage stick.
I rationally understand that I need to stop watching horror movies as soon as humanly possible. But I never actually will.
I don’t know what’s scarier, the movies themselves or the depths I go to in my mind to treat them like they might be documentaries. And when Halloween rolls around, the haunted houses and spooky hay rides drive me up a fucking wall. I have no business buying a ticket for either, but there I am waltzing through one and digging my claws into someone’s hand while I squeeze-hold it. One time, a fake masked bad guy with a plastic chainsaw chased me down the street at some Halloween fest, and I genuinely believed I was about to be murdered.
I rationally understand that I need to stop watching horror movies as soon as humanly possible. But I never actually will. Because, as we all know, the thrill of being scared is highly addictive. And I’m a goddamn fool who genuinely believes I’m stronger than my addiction to screaming loudly and often.
I’m so not.
Maybe one day I won’t wake up in the middle of the night and assume the demonic entity from The Conjuring is going to get me, or look at the corners of my bedroom ceiling and think I’ll see Toni’s Collette’s possessed character from Hereditary. But for now, I’ll continue sticking my feet deep into my covers and keeping Christmas lights on all year long.
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