Thursday, October 6, 2011

Scariest movies ever, Part 1

In honor of October and Halloween, I will be blogging about things that scare me this month, all right? Okay, so let's start off with the mvp of the Halloween season, scary movies.

I grew up on scary movies. I've always loved them. I was watching Creature Double Feature on Channel 56 as far back as I can remember. Some of you may or may not know that I spent much of my childhood in and out of the hospital, with stomach problems. One of my earliest memories is watching some old version of "The Mummy" with some of the older kids in the hospital ward, late at night. Absolutely freaking terrifying. At least it was when I was six or seven years old.

Let's start off with the only movie that truly scarred me for life and gave me an honest-to-goodness phobia. I think this was sort of the perfect storm. I've always had an over-active imagination. This is a good thing for an aspiring writer, but maybe it wasn't so great for a scared little kid. I tried to google a name for this phobia. There are some phobias that are close, but not quite right, like for instance, aquaphobia (fear of water and swimming), thalassophobia (fear of the sea) and galeophobia (fear of sharks). None of these exactly describe what I felt, so I came up with my own name for it. Let's call it "scary-things-live-under-the-water-and-want-to-eat-me-phobia." The movie is, of course, Jaws.

I saw Jaws in the movie theater when I was eight years old. Now, don't be too hard on my parents. It was only rated PG, remember, and I was the kind of kid who watched scary movies on tv every Saturday afternoon. Can you believe they got away with giving Jaws a PG rating? I heard they invented the PG-13 rating because Spielberg kept pushing the limits with movies like Jaws, Gremlins, and Poltergeist. Okay, so I don't want to go into too much detail that would mirror much of a story/article I wrote called "Shark Bait," but let's say swimming anywhere that I could not see what was under me became a nightmare.

I'm not sure I even knew the movie was about a big man-eating shark when I went to see it. Remember that first scene, where the skinny-dipping girl get's attacked and bounced off the buoy? What a way to start a movie! It was so much worse because you didn't see what was happening below the water. You could only see the girl's terror above the surface as she got pulled back and forth by some unseen force. John William's musical score from Jaws is probably the most fitting and recognizable soundtrack ever. It does such a great job of building tension throughout the film. There are so many tense scenes in the movie, like the boys on the sailboat or when Richard Dreyfuss dives the wrecked ship and the head pops out at him.

Jaws is, for me, one of the scariest movies of all time. Oh sure, there are others that do an even better job of keeping you on edge for most of the film, and I'll get to them too, but Jaws made me afraid to swim for a long time. How many movies can claim their scares last for a decade or two?