Most people experience their first horror movie when they’re in their mid-teens, sneaking that awful sounding 18-rated slasher movie into the house under a pile of homework and P.E. kit, later hoping they don’t end up with a change of underwear moment while hiding in the dark watching as some knife wielding monster chases a shrieking woman with her baps out through a forest.
Now-a-days (geez, that makes me sound old!) people probably snaffle said movies from Piracy sites and don’t even question the age restrictions.
But me, I watched my first horror movie at the age of 3. Yes, you read that right, I watched my first horror movie at 3 years old.
And the movie in question? …That was ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street‘.
This wasn’t an accident either! Not that I willingly picked that film you understand, I probably didn’t even know my arse from my elbow at that age…though I could recognise ‘The Incredible Hulk‘, which explains my love of the stroppy green git in the current movies. Never understood the purple pants thing though.
At the time I was being looked after by my grandmother and step-grandfather (as both my parents worked and couldn’t afford child care), my grandmother having raised quite a clan seemed the logical option what with most of them having turned out rather well.
Most of my memories of her involve her chasing me around the sofa with a belt in her hand because I was interrupting ‘Sons and Daughters‘, does anyone remember that soap? I need to state that she never struck me, it was purely for shock value and the running was excellent practice for when I reached the education system (where I did get the hell kicked out of me).
So maybe it was purely a lapse of judgment that day on her part, or maybe the horror stories had been a regular thing, but Freddy just left that lasting impression on me. The story goes that I was plopped infront of the TV with my toys in tow, granny put the film of choice on and settled in to watch the gore…except she wasn’t the only one paying attention. I was used to watching my mild mannered Dr. Banner losing his temper turning green and beating up the baddies, what I wasn’t used to watching was someone being dragged into their bed then becoming a blood geyser and showering the ceiling with innards!
That was new to my noggin.
What is also a questionable part of the story is whether or not my granny was indulging in a ‘smoke’ at the time too…as I say, I don’t recall the details, this is not something that was ever clarified but there have been rumours.
I can only imagine the amount of havoc all this caused my fragile 3 year old mind…actually I don’t need to imagine as despite the fact I don’t remember that time of my life (be it age or Freddy caused), my mother does and she remembers me screaming blue murder in the night. All night. For many a night.
Initially my parents couldn’t work out why I’d started having nightmares…until my granny mentioned Freddy and said “she was hardly likely to understand it was she? It was just on TV”.
There were a few cross words about that…obviously.
Fast forward a few years and many babysitting ‘errors’ later (by different sitters) and I’d also witnessed various Stephen King movies (‘IT‘ and ‘Children of the Corn‘ being the ones I remember most), ‘Fright Night‘, ‘Hellraiser‘, ‘Candyman‘, ‘The Exorcist‘,’ The Omen’, ‘Friday 13th‘, ‘Halloween‘, ‘Poltergeist‘…I think it was safe to say I was hooked on horror movies at that point.
This addiction to horror movies (and subsequently horror stories) has merely developed over the years, I still love tales designed to scare the shit out of you. Dark, twisted tales that invite you in and then play on your fears. October 31st became a day I counted down to…a day I still count down to.
I did try and share this love of horror with my sibling, but he didn’t find me saying “Candyman” in the mirror very funny…in fact I remember him and my cousin hugging each other and screaming “stop it! He’ll get you! And you’ll be all dead and stuff!” at me…I’m such an evil git at times.