When I was 15 years old, I bought a ticket to a PG-13 movie and snuck into a rated R one with my friends instead. Not that memorable or delinquent of an offense. In fact, I’m nearly positive most other kids act way worse. And considering that’s probably the biggest thing on my conscious from my freshman year of high school, I’m really not that disappointed in myself. If I could go back to that moment now, though, I wouldn’t even walk into the theater. I would’ve stayed and watched Get Smart or whatever the heck we bought tickets for, because thanks to my immature actions, I’ll regret that decision as long as I live.
It was The Strangers. Even seeing those words typed terrifies me. I may have even mentioned to you before that that are few things in life that scares me as much as the characters from this film. The plot is based on true events and the characters and their masks scarred me. The worst part is – I can’t remember what I ate for breakfast, the storyline of a great book I read just last month, or my Facebook password. But for some reason, I can’t get a single part of this movie out of my head. 6 years later.
Not a day goes by that I’m not seeing them around a corner in my house or outside somewhere late at night. When I’m home alone, forget it…
But why does that scare me so much? I’ve only watched it one more time since, when my boyfriend begged me to watch it with him a year after the first time. Even though I spend 99% of the movie blocking my eyes, it doesn’t really make the situation any better. All this time has gone by, and I still expect to see one of the murderers standing in the shadows where I look up.
I really don’t know why this particular thing haunts me so much. I have seen quite a few scary movies and thrillers, and I never like them, but nothing has stuck with me like this one has. It has trumped every other one and remains in the back (and frequently, the front) of my mind to scare me every single day.
So why is it that I’m horrified and actually scarred by a scary movie but fail to be scared by things like the imminent future and other tangible, scary thoughts?
I’m not sure if it’s because I feel like I can handle whatever thing like that is thrown my way, but if one of the strangers appeared (or, God forbid, all three of them) in front of me, I’d just drop to the ground and cower, convulsing. I may not be the strongest, and I am certainly not the bravest, but I do feel comfortable facing many things. The movie characters just aren’t it.
I guess this whole ridiculous fear thing puts life into perspective and provides a life-lesson at the same time. Yes, things are scary, and it seems a little freaky that in less than a year from now, I will have to be a grown-up and will be done with college.
Yes, this story also attests to the fact that I, or any young teenager, for that matter, shouldn’t have been sneaking into a movie theater to see a movie that is too old for them, whether or not their parents approved. I can’t remember if my mom knew ahead of time or if I explained the entire plot of the movie to her the next day. Either way, I don’t think she knows how much it plagues me, and even if she did, she would tell me that I am the one who made the decision to watch. No one told me I had to, and no one held me down and forced me to watch.
So for now, I have to live with this (ridiculous) fear and face the facts that I’m the reason I have these fears. Maybe one day I’ll forget about it…doubtful, but certainly possible. Maybe when I become this long-anticipated “grown up” that everyone always mentions, life will move on and my goofy fears will be left behind. Until then, I’ll keep running back to my bed when I have to run to the bathroom late at night (sorry Mom & Dad), and you should take a look at the movie. Or don’t if that kind of thing would ruin you. If you want to be even more disturbed, check out the book, Helter Skelter, by Vincent Bugliosi. Much of The Strangers was based off murders conducted by the Manson clan. I’m gonna go turn off the light and very quickly hide my entire body under the covers until sunlight…………………………..