How the horror movies of the 80’s shaped a young, impressionable girl (me)
I was scrolling through Direct TV the other day when I saw that A Nightmare on Elm Street 3, Dream Warriors, was playing on one of the many movie channels.
“We’re the Dream Warriors…don’t wanna dream no more!” I sang to my husband (and yes, there is actually a song called “Dream Warriors.” Google it). He gets me because, after 16 years of marriage, we’ve basically become the same person.
“Maybe tonight, maybe tonight you’ll be gone.” He muttered while checking email on his phone.
And horror movies.
After the age of 11 or 12, my mom became a Christian and from then on I was raised in a strict, Christian household. But since my parents were divorced, and my dad wasn’t a strict Christian, let’s just say that I was able to watch movies at my dad’s house. And watch movies I did. My sister and I watched all of the horror movies that were popular during the 80’s: A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, the Shining, and The Exorcist, to name a few. I’m not super proud of the fact that I watched so many of these movies, and I certainly screen my own kids from watching movies like these.
But before we get started on how these movies shaped me forever, do you recognize this house? Of course you do. And I bet you know the famous line of that famous movie, too.
So here are a few ways that growing up in the 80’s watching horror movies affected me, plus my own ghost story to boot.
One, Two, Freddy’s coming for you:
I actually thought that there were a ton of deranged men out there that wanted to hurt me and were lurking outside of my house on dark nights. As a teenager, I would make sure all the curtains were drawn up tight, and if there was a small slit between the curtains, I couldn’t stand it. When I slept at night, I had to make sure all my limbs were safely inside the perimeter of my bed. Watching horror movies also opened up a door to my interest in the paranormal. I dabbled with Ouija boards and read occult themed books for teens written by Christopher Pike. To this day I am more alert and wary.
Three, Four, better lock the door.
To this day, I am always making sure the doors are locked. And windows. Sometimes late at night if I’m up I will look out the window just to make sure there is no creepy man lurking in the shadows. I tell my kids to be super careful about strangers, lurking cars, or people (in hockey masks) watching them curiously. (hmm…I wonder what Jason’s mom would think of all this.)
Five, Six, grab a crucifix.
I would say this is the number one way I’ve been shaped. That despite the crap I put into my head and all the scary books I’ve read, God is more powerful than anything that goes bump in the night and that He can bring me peace and calm when I get scared. So if I am scared, I just pray and ask for his peace and his protection. There is a reason that the crucifix was effective against all of those ghosts, demons, and zombies.
[Insert my “ghost story”]
One time I was staying with my aunt whose house is really and truly haunted. One evening, late at night, her baby boy started crying in the room next to mine. There was a back-staircase between our rooms and I heard someone coming up the stairs [note to self, all homes with a back staircase are haunted]. I thought that those footsteps belonged to my aunt, coming to take care of her crying baby. However, after a few minutes, the baby was still crying. I waited for a few more minutes and felt relief when, once again, I heard footsteps coming up the stairs, this time much louder.
“Good,” I thought to myself. “The baby will stop crying.”
I waited and waited, but the baby kept crying. That’s when a very creepy feeling of fear started to settle over me: that wasn’t my aunt coming up them stairs, that was the ghost!!
I had a choice to make: stay in bed where it was safe but not be able to get to sleep because of the crying baby. Or get up, walk right on the landing of the (creepy, haunted) back stair-case, and try to settle down my frazzled baby cousin.
I chose to be brave!
I ventured into the babies room, feeling pretty creeped out, and saw the baby standing up in his crib, crying loudly in distress. I started to reassure the baby and then prayed over him out loud. I prayed that God would give this little one peace, remove the ghost, take away fear, and that God’s presence would fill his room. And I closed with “and I pray that the baby will get right back to sleep!!”
Guess what happened? As soon as I was done praying, the baby immediately stopped crying, laid down in his crib, put his little hands under his chin, closed his eyes, and promptly went to sleep.
Just like that!
Seven, Eight, never stay up late.
I go to bed at the same time every night, except when Erik (husband) travels. For some reason, I stay up later than normal. I think it’s because subconsciously I feel more in control. When I am sleeping, I am much more vulnerable. And on that point, when Erik travels I make plans in my head of what I will do if something bad happens. I also keep my cell phone right by my bed just in case.
Nine, Ten, never sleep again.
Thankfully, I sleep well even if I am alone. But I wonder how many people struggle with nightmares and being scared at night, all because of some of those horror movies of the 80’s?
In closing, watching the horror movies of the 80’s made me a more aware person in general and I’m not so naïve about people and life. You won’t catch me entering a dark room backwards, unprotected, reaching for the light switch that doesn’t work! Furthermore, I will bravely protect myself and my family, no matter what! I also know that God is more powerful than Satan, his demons, and all ghosts and goblins.
However, I have more fear in general and I trust people less. If I squint at you and look doubtful, don’t take it personally. I could be having a subconscious flashback from the Evil Dead. It bothers me that I have to check and re-check (at times) the doors in my house. I really don’t love that I get scared sometimes when my husband travels. And when my kids are outside playing and for some reason I can’t locate them, it would be nice to not think that they’ve been kidnapped by the Jeepers Creepers guy.
However, since I can’t “turn back time” (we are talking about the 80’s here) I guess I will just have to live with these over-protective tendencies.
And keep that crucifix close at hand, just in case!
(But keep it right-side-up, of course.) 🙂