One of our grandchildren — Kaiya — loves horror movies. The scarier, the better. She wanted to watch Coraline when she was 5, when the other grands were begging her to turn the channel because they were scared and wanted to watch Adventures in Babysitting instead. “No,” she would say. “Adventures in Babysitting isn’t scary.”
That, of course, was the point the other grands were trying to make.
Kaiya is now 14 years old, and still loves horror movies. And they’d better be really scary. She tells me that the only kind of horror movies she doesn’t like are those with dolls as the perpetrators. Her father — my son — is right along beside her when it comes to scary movies. Together they have watched It, all of the Halloween movies, The Shining, and the entire franchises featuring Freddie and Jason. “They’re not even scary,” she told me.
Neither my son nor my granddaughter get their love of scary movies from me. I will admit that my mother would let me watch the Saturday night scary movie that ran on our local CBS station, beginning at 10:30 following the news. The only caveat was that I had to go to bed with my younger sister (with whom I shared a double bed) and stay awake until she fell asleep. Then I would have to carefully roll out of bed onto the floor, keeping my fingers crossed that she didn’t wake up. If I was successful, I could watch a scary movie that — truth be known — I didn’t really want to watch at all.
That, however is when I saw House on Haunted Hill the first time. This 1959 film features Vincent Price as a millionaire who offers five people $10,000 each to anyone of them who spends the entire night in the incredibly haunted mansion. House on Haunted Hill became the definition of horror movie to me. It scared the devil out of me as a 10-year-old, but now I’m old enough to know that the skeleton is made out of plastic and the floating ghost is simply on wheels. That’s why it’s a must-see for me every Halloween. So campy and so reminiscent of my childhood.
Having said that, I will tell you that the movie that scared me the most was The Sixth Sense, starring Bruce Willis back when he had hair. He plays a psychiatrist who is treating a little boy who sees dead people. So do the viewers throughout the movie. There is one scene in particular that totally unnerved me. A dead woman walks from one room to another right in front of the little boy. Her head is partially missing. Ugh.
For years after that, when I would go upstairs after my husband had long since gone to bed, I would stop at the top of the stairs, take a deep breath, and run down the hall before that woman would walk out of our bathroom into one of the bedrooms.
Of course, when I admitted my fear to Kaiya about my fear of that movie, her response was, “Nana! That movie isn’t even a little bit scary.”
Scary enough for this grandma.