Friday, October 24, 2014

A Nightmare on MY Street


It's a week before Halloween, and I'm looking for good, scary movies to be rerun on the old boob tube. Sometimes it's fun to have a good scare...or a bad scare! Perhaps it is similar to the adrenaline rush some folks get with thrill seeking activities. All I know is that I have always been a fan of scary movies.


When I was young, I'm ashamed to admit that Barnabas Collins on Dark Shadows really held my attention. I look at those reruns now and I realize I must be mentally challenged, albeit undiagnosed. Maybe bright, shiny pieces of tin foil would have held my attention just as well. Nothing about Dark Shadows was scary except the quality of the screenplay. I take that back - the incredibly slow pacing of the show is frightening, too. Back then, commercials were an act of mercy.

As I became an adult (assuming you buy the fact that I did become an adult), I was disappointed in the lack of truly scary flicks. Gore and sadistic killing replaced a good plot. Lame! In my opinion, some of the best horror films wove the tale around things you never actually saw; the story contained elements the viewer could connect to and slowly - you were pulled. When that happens, you have the potential to be truly scared.

In 1984, Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street was released. I have to admit that the premise didn't sound all that enticing and so I didn't see it till a couple of years later. 

When I finally did see it, I just happened to be visiting my Mom when it came on cable. While sitting in her living room with a house full of other guests, the television was on in the background and my mind wandered away from the conversation and I started to watch it when it came on. Very quickly, it was like everyone disappeared as I became engrossed in the story. It scared the jeepers out of me.

If you're unfamiliar with the story line, it involves a group of teens who are being stalked by the menacing knife-glove wearing Freddy Krueger. In their dreams, he taunts and torments them till it's all over, both in dreamland and in reality. Early in the film, the main character, Nancy, dreams about Krueger and awakes with slashes on her nightgown. Yow! Soon she figures out that her other friends are having the same frightening dream complete with the scarfaced Krueger and like the moronic screen teens of folklore, it doesn't occur to anyone not to go to sleep. 

I was uber-empathetic, holding my breath, and grabbing the couch like no body's business while I obsessed over their fates. Afraid to go to the bathroom or down the dark hall, I sat there with the big eye. This movie was full-on creepy and scary. A disfigured razor gloved guy who stalks you in your sleep - and kills you! Run, kids, run! Uh, never mind, don't run! Drink a ridiculous amount of growth stunting, sleep depriving coffee! Do something or else you're doomed! Energy drinks, kids! Sleep in shifts!

One of the next victims is attacked in her dream as her horrified boyfriend watches. Invisible attackers slash at her and her body is pulled up the wall as she screams his name. Of course, he gets blamed and hauled to jail where Krueger gets to him, too.  Immediately, I knew that I was going to have a nightmare about that scene. And if I have a nightmare, and Freddy Krueger is in it, how can I be sure he won't do a number on me? Crimeny, this is gonna be bad.

Later in the film, Nancy's mother reveals that there really was a Freddy Krueger, a child murderer who got off the hook. Parents took matters into their own hands and burned him alive - and now he is out for revenge.

Looking around the living room, I remember thinking, "Why is no one else glued to the tube?"

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!! I remembered I had to drive home and enter my dark apartment when I left her house.

You have to watch the movie for yourself. Truly, this was a scary flick that made me have my own nightmares for many nights, caused me to suspect something was in my walk-in closet (which I previously loved), made me think someone was looking in my bedroom windows and dang it, I may have peed a little during one of the scenes to avoid the dark walk to the bathroom. Would I lay another run-on sentence at your feet if it weren't absolutely necessary? 

The nightmare was on my street now.

As bad as that sounds, I wish I could see more movies like that. Minus the pee part, of course.

What was the scariest movie you ever saw, peeps? Come on, 'fess up...it's almost Halloween!


27 comments:

  1. In 1957, I watched Dracula on our family's 1st TV --a Zenith that heated up half the front room-- and fainted halfway through it. My parents revived me and put me to bed. That would have to qualify as the scariest movie I ever saw. Otherwise, I had perfectly normal childhood. I like your blog and am following.

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    1. Dracula was scary! I think i have a thing for the shows where someone or something spans decades of time, too - so Dracula has it all.

      Thanks for following!

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  2. Good morning, dear Cherdo!

    Horror movies are right up my alley! My big brother started taking me to see them when I was three and I quickly became a fan of the genre. (SPOILER ALERT: Janie Junebug is going to tell us she doesn't like scary movies.)

    I agree that Dark Shadows was an extremely dry, slow paced, boring, low budget production. I never understood what all the fuss was about. I am very familiar with Nightmare on Elm Street because the TV station where I worked aired the movies and Freddy's Nightmares, the syndicated television series spun-off from the successful franchise. I was involved in producing promotions for the movies and the TV series. One of the perks of working in the business was receiving a life size Freddy Krueger cardboard cutout used in promotions. I took him home and placed him in my living room next to my life size cardboard cutout of Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (another freebie I received at the station) and my gallery of framed horror movie posters. (My mother did not enjoy visiting my bachelor pad!) My favorite Nightmare on Elm Street movie was #3: Dream Warriors starring Patricia Arquette.

    The scariest movie I ever saw has to be The Thing From Another World (1951). The alien carrot man, played by Gunsmoke's James Arness, gets only a few seconds of actual screen time, but his menacing presence is felt throughout the movie and the viewer witnesses the carnage left in his wake. The terror unfolds at a remote scientific outpost north of the Arctic Circle. Communication with the rest of the world, including anybody who could come to the rescue, is cut off as is the heating system when the intelligent creature tampers with the generator. Filmed in black and white, The Thing is a very suspenseful film and the constantly overlapping, rapid fire dialogue adds to the realism. The 1982 version of The Thing is also among the most chilling motion pictures I've ever seen. Sled dogs harbor the alien life form and spread it to humans. Which of the men at the isolated Antarctic camp are still human and which ones are aliens? Who can you trust? No one! The Thing (1982) is a very bleak and depressing film but I like that in a movie and it's scary as heck.

    Hey, have a wonderful weekend, dear friend Cherdo!

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    1. Your bachelor pad sounds like some of my first apartments, i.e., i did whatever made me happy. If you ever dated a vampiress, I'll be she loved it. Wait a minute...now I have a question about the origins of Mrs. Shady...

      Every time you tell me about your years in the biz, it makes me think you had the coolest job ever. All the things I dig, wrapped in to one. Music, movies and television...plus perks! That would be such a fun job, though I fully understand the huge amount of work behind the scenes.

      When you are a young person, you don't have enough experience to choose a career, ha ha! I came out of high school with a limited idea of the vocations available to me. My main focus was being able to support myself and moving out on my own. Young people think small, ha ha ha.

      The Thing was super scary! Who do you trust? What's out there in the cold? I need more popcorn!

      Thank you for your most excellent response, Shady, and have a sunny (isolated...God willing) day!


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  3. Hi, Cherdo,
    I remember Dark Shadows from my childhood. My family never missed it, but I was terrified of watching it. Haven't looked at it since adulthood, but I think that's what turned me off horror movies. Never developed a liking for them. I think I fear meeting creatures from the telly inside my house.

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    1. When I was young, I never missed it and i was so excited to see it on Netflix. Watching it as an adult made me think I really was desparate for entertainment. I remembered it as so frightening and loved the many characters and backstories. Perhaps i have a very low IQ.

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  4. You know, I never watched that many scary movies as a kid, because I'm SUPER visual and never would have gotten those things out of my head. NEVER. I read scary stories instead. My hubby is a big horror fan though, so I've watched quite a bit as an adult. There was one, and I can't remember the name of it, not very long ago about tooth fairies that inhabited this old house and came after the kid in it. Totally freaky--and not in a gory way. Oh! Don't Be Afraid of the Dark. Awesome movie.

    Unleashing the Dreamworld

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    1. I think that one was called The Tooth Fairy, but I'm not sure. That was a creep-a-palooza, for sure.

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  5. I like to watch the news.
    That's way too scary.
    Give me Freddy Krueger anyday.

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    1. You got that right, Al! It even has beheadings; what.is the world coming to. ..

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  6. I think the scariest movie I ever saw was 'Terms Of Endearment'. That movie horrified me so much that it chased me right out of the movie and TV industry and into the corporate security industry.

    Truthfully, 'Horror' is not a genre I like much, but the small handful of Horror movies I do like, I like a lot! And the only type I like is Psychological Horror. I do not like the blood and guts, "slasher" kind of movies. 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre'? Fuhgeddaboudit! Never saw it. Knew I'd hate it. Never saw 'Nightmare On Elm Street' either, because I'm pretty sure it ain't my cup o' blood.

    Favorites include 'JACOB'S LADDER' (not just my favorite Horror movie, but one of my Top 25 favorite movies, period). Also, John Carpenter's remake of 'THE THING' (mentioned above by Shady) is great. There's a nearly forgotten, low budget movie from 1976 starring Burgess Meredith (including Christopher Walken and Eli Wallach) called 'THE SENTINEL'. There's some gore and some horrific scenes, but most of the movie consists of psychological horror because the audience is left trying to figure out what the hell's going on and why. I still like 'The Sentinel'.

    Also, I'm a big fan of the original 'THE WICKER MAN', but the remake with Nicholas Cage was "HORROR-IBLE"!

    When I was a little kid, the movie that scared me more than any other was 'TROG' - Joan Crawford's last movie (what a way to end a movie career!) When I saw it years later as an adult, I found it literally laughable.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. You mentioned The Sentinel - yes!!! That was so very scary and i never passed an old apartment building without looking up at the top window....shivers! Why isn't that one on every horror fan's list?

      A Nightmare on Elm Street would not have been something I would have ever watched by choice. If i hadn't been drawn in to it at a relative's house, I STILL wouldn't ha.ve seen it, and I don't know about the sequels. You ought to give it a whirl to rank it on the creepy-o-meter.

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    2. Dang! You're the very first person I've ever mentioned 'THE SENTINEL' to who'd seen it.

      Suski mentioned 'Poltergeist' and, yeah, the first one I like a lot and is definitely amongst the small handful of 'Horror' movies I dig. (I never bothered to see the sequel[s?] as I don't often bother with sequels or "pre-quels".)

      She also mentioned 'The Shining' and some scenes of that I like a lot, particularly the scenes with the dead bartender, and the moment that Nicholson's wife suddenly discovers the writing he's been hard at work on the whole time they've been there (now that is true "psychological horror!")

      Shady mentioned Robert Mitchum's 'Cape Fear'. I consider that Film Noir, not Horror, but it's amongst my favorites in the Noir genre. (The remake with De Niro I consider to be one of the worst remakes of a Classic ever, pretty much tied in that category with the remake of 'The Wicker Man'. The remake of Judy Holliday's and William Holden's classic 'Born Yesterday' I just flat-out refused to see, but I have little doubt it must have been true horror compared with the original comedy.)

      ~ D-FensDogg

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  7. I loved "Dark Shadows," but I was like 6 at the time! I also love all the NOES movies. Freddy Krueger is a great character - so funny, so evil! My faves also include "Jeepers Creepers," "Silent Hill," and "The Haunting." Sometimes I like silly zombie movies, too. Truth is, I'll watch just about anything monster-related, even if it's awful. I'm not such a fan of movies about serial killers (unless it's Hannibal Lechter) because those are all over the news every day. They've become almost mundane.

    Have fun watching a bunch of horror films this month! :)

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    1. I'm not real picky the first time around, Lexa, ha ha. That is how I know about all the stinkers. :-)

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  8. I've read a lot of Stephen King books, and enjoyed every screen adaptation I've seen. (But the books were LOTS better.) My favorite was probably "The Shining." Even though the movie was changed quite a bit from the book, Jack Nicholas played a deliciously scary role.

    "Poltergeist" and "The Exorcist" were a couple other good scary flicks. Slasher movies, I do not like. Not since I watched an old late-night movie about Jack the Ripper when I was in my teens. I was baby-sitting at the time, and that movie scared the bejeezus out of me.

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    1. I absolutely loved the first 'Salem's Lot...it is still my favorite and I've read it multiple times. If you've missed that one, get it! Also loved "It".

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  9. I don't do scary as in horror movies. The most frightening movie to me is Robert Mitchum in The Night of The Hunter. Favorite Young Man has love and hate tattooed on his knuckles because of that movie. I never saw the original Dark Shadows series. It was probably not allowed in our house. The movie version with Johnny Depp was very funny.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Shady told me you don't do the scary flicks.

      The Johnny Depp version of Dark Shadows was smirky funny.

      Have a good weekend, Janie!

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    2. Janie mentioned Robert Mitchum and that brought to mind two more scary films, Mitchum tormenting Gregory Peck and his family in Cape Fear (1962) and Bob De Niro tormenting Nick Nolte and his family in Cape Fear (1991). Psychological thrillers are consistently more frightening than giant spiders and 50 foot women. (I can picture Janie as a 50 foot Junebug!)

      Susan S. also mentioned a film that scared the whole country when it was released, The Exorcist, which brings to mind Rosemary's Baby, another buzzworthy film that still has the power to scare the daylights out of me. (First thing I'm gonna do is check baby Gretchen's eyes!)

      Then there's Jaws...Sharknado...Sharknado 2...Sharknado 3...

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  10. I was never allowed to watch scary movies when I was a kid. That is probably a good thing, because with my overactive imagination, I probably wouldn't have been able to sleep for the rest of my life!

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    1. I think there's more kids who shouldn't watch than should. I'm amazed that some little kids watch the gore that is out there now. When I was young, most movies were tame - by the time this one came out, I was already 25 years old. I'm a geezer, Sherry.

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  11. I'm binge-watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Hulu Plus right now--something about it sometimes reminds me of Nightmare on Elm Street. That spooky dream-like quality that made it so scary in parts. I tried to watch it about 10 years ago and found it was MUCH more violent than I'd remembered, especially the part where the girl was gutted in her bedroom, as you mentioned. I had much more of a stomach for that when I was young.

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    1. When you watch it as an adult you actually think "hey, that's a child!" (or at least I do).

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  12. I don't do horror but I love a good thriller. Wait Until Dark come to mind...

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    1. Given a choice, a great psychological thriller will rise to the top!

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  13. I have been gone for a few days:) I have nightmares about Ultraman so scary films like Nightmare..freaks me out too much. I watched alot of 50's film schlock and "Tarantula" freaked me out and, yup, had nightmares. "Burnt Offerings" was another freaky film and the original "The Haunting"

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Thanks for your personal yada, yada, yada,
Love, Cherdo