The Norman Bates Effect

4 Oct

OK so horror films are always a bit silly aren’t they? But we watch them regardless. Amongst my group of friends, one of them regularly pipes up “Laura it’s your turn to choose the film” and I feel all smug and included. Briefly. But then it normally goes like this.

Me “How about Mermaids?”

Boys “No.”

Me “How about Cool Runnings?”

Boys “No”.

Me “How about Rush Hour? Bad Boys? Aladdin?”

Boys “No. No. Absolutely not”.

Me “This really isn’t me picking if I’m not allowed to pick. Huff.”

So this weekend, Emma was put in charge of picking the film. She chose Dawn of the Dead. In fairness, she had mistaken it for Shaun of the Dead and thought we were going to be watching a comedy about two video gamers running around trying to get to the pub and killing some amusing zombies on the way, rather than a ‘serious’ horror films about zombies, vicious biting and death. But we had to watch it anyway because by the time she had realised and we had corrected her, someone had pressed play, which is completely concrete in the living room movie rules. Sigh.

We all half-heartedly watched it for about half an hour with someone regularly piping up “Are we still watching this?” “Is it still on?” or something to that effect. Because it was ridiculous.

But it got me thinking about horror films and the effects that they have on us, as Emma watched the zombie boyfriend sucking the blood of the screaming girlfriend through her fingers, despite knowing what was going to happen. When I was younger I watched Stephen King’s IT. It was a film I was not supposed to be watching at a sleepover, and for months afterwards I didn’t walk too close to the drains in the street for fear that a menacing clown hand would poke out and grab me by the ankles. The fact that I wouldn’t fit down the drain hole was irrelevant; I did not want to be murdered by a clown, and therefore I would walk in the centre of the road, or far across on the pavement so I couldn’t be reached.

Psycho is another one. I studied the Alfred Hitchcock version at sixth form as part of my English Literature course, and I had no problems with it then. Mainly because we watched it so many times, and often with the sound off to investigate the effect of sound on an individual and how it builds up tension. But now, when my housemates are out I always go check the front door before I go in the shower, and I’m always slightly concerned that I might meet my death to a knife wielding maniac. The tension is lost slightly as I have one of those slidy shower doors and no white shower curtain, but as I have an ensuite with no lock and a bedroom with no lock, sometimes I will even go and have a shower in the girl’s bathroom so I have the option to lock the door. Crazy? Maybe. Premenstrual? Perhaps. But still, it makes me feel less expectant of imminent death.

For my twelfth birthday I had a sleepover and my mum let us rent a horror film. We rented I Know What You Did Last Summer. Bad idea. For weeks I would check my enormous wardrobe for a man in a rain mac with a fish hook in his hand before I went to bed. Luckily I had one of those beds that had another one underneath, so I didn’t have to check there for nasties.

And I still do it. I am twenty five years old, and if I have seen a horror film I will always check. We watched Insidious the other night (terrible film about possessed children) and despite being pretty sure I wasn’t being haunted by any undead kids, I still had to check my shower room for infants before watching Despicable Me to cheer us up.

But tonight, when bedding in for a girly night with my bestest, we will probably watch a horror film, freak ourselves out at the noise coming from the cupboard and then one of us will sleep in the others room to ensure that if a murderer is on the loose, there is more chance of one of us surviving and being able to avenge the death of the other one. Or something 🙂

Which films scared you as a child?


34 Responses to “The Norman Bates Effect”

  1. Sam October 4, 2011 at 7:19 am #

    My completely over active imagination means I hate horror films on principal. I can sit in the dark for 20 minutes and convince myself there is a man in the corner of my room holding a knife and preparing to attack me and cut out my insides. During this time I, of course, do not turn on the light because my common sense never prevails.

    Gothika scared me as a teen and that doesn’t even constitute a true “scary movie”.

    • tinkerbelle86 October 4, 2011 at 4:46 pm #

      Gothika really scared me too! i think that the worst ones for me are the ones not supposed to be scary. like A Beautiful Mind. Jeez, that one really messed with my head!

  2. The Northern Plights October 4, 2011 at 7:20 am #

    As the Grandson of an Empire Scout, the only film which scared me was Zulu 😦

    ~The Dippylomat esq.

    • tinkerbelle86 October 4, 2011 at 4:47 pm #

      my grandfather regularly tries to make us watch that with him of a Christmas. Shudder

  3. An Observant Mind October 4, 2011 at 7:35 am #

    Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.” If i saw it now, I’m sure it would be laughable, but as a kid watching it, it was terrifying. I never looked at birds the same way until I was about 30! 🙂

  4. Sharp October 4, 2011 at 9:07 am #

    mistaking dawn of the dead for shaun of the dead.. that’s epic :’)

    • tinkerbelle86 October 4, 2011 at 4:45 pm #

      it happens a lot. have you read my posts about Life According to Emma? You really should… 🙂

  5. Dazzle Rebel October 4, 2011 at 9:59 am #

    Watership Down was horrific when the evil rabbits come. Can’t believe it’s a kids movie!

  6. zendictive October 4, 2011 at 11:11 am #

    nightmare on elm street did it for me, couldn’t sleep well for days (!_!)

  7. kayjai October 4, 2011 at 11:27 am #

    Poltergeist…I still can’t look at at static-filled tv screen…

  8. Jennifavor October 4, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

    Wolf with Jack Nicholson, mostly things with Werewolves, I’m not sure why.

  9. barrycyrus October 4, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

    The Others. For suspense, the classic The Night of the Hunter or something

  10. thewaiting October 4, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

    The first movie my mom ever took me to as a four-year-old was My Little Pony and the Purple Smooze. Yeah, we had to leave the theater. I couldn’t handle the horror of the Smooze.

  11. susielindau October 4, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

    I love Stephen King and could not finish the book “It” because it gave me nightmares!! OOOoooo! Not a fan of slasher movies, but give me a psychological thriller and I will be front row center!
    Great post!

  12. poshpea October 4, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

    Lol Shaun of the dead has got to be one of my fav. movies of all times. I like Dawn of the dead too. I would have to go with Nightmare on Elm St. Although as a child I obsessed over Freddy Kruger (Strange but true, had quite a collection of dolls and such at about the age of 7) He scared me to death lol. I’ve had many nightmares about that man :\

  13. imagesbytdashfield October 4, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

    Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz rule! But I couldn’t take a shower without locking the door after seeing Psycho for a very long time. Clowns are creepy enough without Stephen King getting into the mix. Then again I watched and read every last book/movie about Hannibal Lecter and other than the last movie being horrible – didn’t get scared one bit. Have you ever seen the first Alien movie? Classic!!!

  14. BrainRants October 4, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

    Not sure what it says about me but I found horror movies funny as a kid… hmm.

  15. samanthasohyuling October 4, 2011 at 3:08 pm #

    I avoid horror films at all cost. I once forced myself to wake up from a nightmarish dream of myself in a “House of Horrors” kinda thing where monsters jump out at you or grab you in the dark. I thought that was pretty impressive hahaha

    By the way, just started following your blog, very interesting! 🙂

  16. Alisha October 4, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    Friday the 13th, when I was 12 was probably the worst. That said, always choose Shaun of the Dead over pretty much anything. God I love that movie.

    • tinkerbelle86 October 4, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

      Me and my sister watched Nightmare on Elm Street once. I laughed. I dont remember her laughing. She was a bit younger!!

  17. gingerfightback October 4, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    Jaws – the head in the bottom of the boat still freaks me out and i can barely raise a paddle in the old briney still after all these years. I mean a Great White off the beach at Weston?…..but you never know…….

    • tinkerbelle86 October 4, 2011 at 4:43 pm #

      I know, right? When I went to Universal Studios we went on the tour and I was slightly concerned the shark might be real and not plastic. LOL

  18. prenin October 4, 2011 at 4:27 pm #

    I have a horror of horror movies, especially as I have Paranoid Schizophrenia which leads to the obsessive fears I so DO NOT enjoy!

    Worst movie I ever watched as a kid?

    Fiend Without a Face…

    ‘Nuff said – the old B&W movies didn’t need blood and gore to make them good!!!

    Love and hugs!


  19. Thesweetkitten October 4, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

    The Thing, it was the first movie with so much gore that I had ever seen.

  20. Gretchen O'Donnell October 4, 2011 at 7:10 pm #

    “real” scary movies…like Psycho…scare me way more than “fake” ones with lots of special effects. Those i just say, “whatever” but the real people ones…those are bad. can’t watch those!

  21. countingducks October 4, 2011 at 8:09 pm #

    Got to say I’m a total whimp about Horror films and can hardly watch them, but don’t tell anyone

  22. gojulesgo October 4, 2011 at 9:21 pm #

    Ha! I like the ‘once play has been pressed that’s it!’ rule. Although I could never stick to it myself.

    I think not a movie, but a short clip from the show “Flipper” that I happened to see as a child (show about a kid and a dolphin), scared me for life – and by that I mean scarred me for life. I never really watched it, but saw this scene where the kid gets stung by a scorpion on the beach. After that, I had nightmares of talking scorpions in my basement, and am still terrified of them to this day.

    • tinkerbelle86 October 5, 2011 at 9:52 am #

      Juuuuules I got to pick the film last night! i think potentially my moan was noted. I chose Evolution amd was allowed to watch it the whole way through. result! i have never heard of anyone scared by Flipper. point to you.

  23. Sandra Bell Kirchman October 5, 2011 at 6:38 am #

    All my life, I have tried to avoid horror movies. I’m with the person with the active imagination, only it doesn’t take me 20 minutes to imagine death and mayhem. The two that scared me the most…”The Thing” – the original. I was a young kid and it was showing for the Saturday afternoon matinee. I thought it would be okay, but it wasn’t. It was dark and beginning to brew up a storm when I left, pedalling my bike down the boulevard beside the breakwater. The waves were crashing against them and it sounded like the clump, clump, clump of gigantic vegetable feet coming to suck my blood out of me. I didn’t know I could make that old bike go so fast.

    The second one was “Psycho.” I wasn’t comfortable taking showers for nearly 25 years. It really didn’t matter what kind of shower curtain or glass. I figured the killer would be inventive enough to work around it. At times, I was frantic to get the wet hair out of my eyes so I could watch and see if anyone was approaching the shower. Somehow, if I could see, it would be all right. No one said fears were rational.

    Great post. And yeah, I liked “Shaun of the Dead” too.

    • tinkerbelle86 October 5, 2011 at 9:51 am #

      god that sounds terrifying but is also quite amusing 😀

  24. therealsharon October 5, 2011 at 4:45 pm #

    I LOVE Horror movies! I used to sneak and watch them with my brother as a kid….which in turn, gave me nightmares. I would especially have them of Freddy Krueger from the Nightmare on Elm Street series…..I mean, come on! He kills you in your sleep! How can that NOT be scary for a little kid?!
    Now none of them really bother me, I guess I have become numb to them.

  25. Team Oyeniyi October 13, 2011 at 10:47 am #

    I can honestly say I’ve never been a fan of horror movies and avoid most of them like the plague! Watch on!

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