Skip to main content

Stay Out of the Attic!

Erik's oldest daughter turned 16 today, so we are republishing a column from 2001, when she was just 4 years old.

Ever since I was a small boy, and watched them on TV or in the theatre, I've always had strong feelings when it comes to horror and scary movies.

They scare the bejeezus out of me.

Whenever I make the stupid mistake of seeing a scary movie, I have nightmares, I jump at strange xsounds, and I'm convinced that all the monsters in every scary movie I've ever seen, including Jaws, are under my bed, on my side. They stay away from my wife's side, because they know she owns a shotgun and I do not.

It's weird, because I'm not afraid of psychological thrillers like Silence of the Lambs, Basic Instinct, or Copycat. In fact, I enjoy them, and have seen them several times, and not because Sharon Stone gets naked.

It doesn't matter whether I'm at home (the monsters are in my closet), at a friend's house (the monsters are in his closet), or at the movie theater (the monsters are hiding in the popcorn), I'll be scared witless.

But no one takes my fears seriously. Just a few weeks ago, my wife, my sister-in-law, and her husband absolutely demanded that I go see The Others, the Nicole Kidman-Tom Cruise pre-divorce production, and they promised me "it wasn't so bad."

The Others is a "supernatural suspense thriller" about a young mother (Nicole Kidman) and her children (two pasty-faced English kids) who live in a house on the Channel Islands. The kids believe there are ghosts in the house, and Kidman gradually realizes her kids may just be right.

One reviewer called it "the scariest thriller of the year."

"The scariest thriller of the year!" I informed my wife a week later. "You made me see the scariest thriller of the year."

The last time I watched a scary movie was August 1989, 24 hours before I was supposed to start graduate school. I hadn't seen a horror movie for several years, and thought I could watch The Shining with no problem. I told myself, "I'm 21 years old and a college graduate, so I should be able to handle The Shining."

When it was over, I went to my dad's house, where I was staying that summer, sleeping in my sister's old room. As you would expect, I had nightmares, and woke up in a sweat. I slowly pulled the covers back with my feet, since the movement would be hidden by the covers (monsters can only see you if you move), and did the unthinkable: I opened my eyes.

That's when I saw something hovering several feet above me — a small white blob. Of course, my eyesight is so bad without my glasses, it could have been the Queen. However, since it was 4:00 a.m., I knew there shouldn't be anything hovering several feet above me, including the Queen.

I didn't know what I was seeing, but I couldn't look away. I wanted to stare death in the face when it came. I lay there, listening to my thudding heart, sweating profusely. And if I didn't get to the bathroom fast, I was going to have a bigger problem than just having my life force sucked out by the Queen.

As time passed, I began to remember the setting of the room, the various items my sister had left there from years past, and it suddenly hit me: I wasn't looking at a ghostly white blob or the Queen at all! It was just a stupid Winnie the Pooh mobile she'd had when she was a baby. I guess she had been nostalgic for her days as an infant and hung the stupid thing over her bed. I had been lying there for 30 minutes, trying not to wet myself, waiting to be pounced on by Winnie the Pooh and his friends!

I breathed a huge sigh of relief, but was so disgusted at my own wussiness, I stormed out of the bed, stomping on several monster hands, and went to the bathroom. Afterward, I was still too scared to go back to sleep, so I watched infomercials until I had to get up anyway.

Until I was dragged kicking and screaming to The Others, it was the last time I ever watched a horror movie.

And I'm not going to see anymore until I get a shotgun of my own.



My book, Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), is available on Amazon.com, as well as at Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores. I wrote it with my good friend, Kyle Lacy.

My latest book, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing is also out. You can get it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million in October, or get it for the Kindle or Nook.

---

Like this post? Leave a comment, Digg it, or Stumble it.

Comments

  1. I can recommend Insidious, I think you should watch that!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi, Nice post thanks for sharing. Would you please consider adding a link to my website on your page. Please email me back.

    Thanks!

    Joel
    JHouston791@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It depends on the site and whether it's humor related. But if it is, I'd be happy to.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I am accepting comments from people with Google accounts to cut down on spam.
Otherwise, spam comments will be deleted with malicious glee.

Popular posts from this blog

AYFKMWTS?! FBI Creates 88 Page Twitter Slang Guide

TFBIHCAEEPTSD.

Did you get that? It's an acronym. Web slang. It's how all the teens and young people are texting with their tweeters and Facer-books on their cellular doodads.

It stands for "The FBI has created an eighty-eight page Twitter slang dictionary."

See, you would have known that if you had the FBI's 88 page Twitter slang dictionary.

Eighty-eight pages! Of slang! AYFKMWTS?! (Are you f***ing kidding me with this s***?! That's actually how they spell it in the guide, asterisks and everything. You know, in case the gun-toting agents who catch mobsters and international terrorists get offended by salty language.)

I didn't even know there were 88 Twitter acronyms, let alone enough acronyms to fill 88 pieces of paper.

The FBI needs to be good at Twitter because they're reading everyone's tweets to see if anyone is planning any illegal activities. Because that's what terrorists do — plan their terroristic activities publicly, as if they were…

Understanding 7 Different Types of Humor

One of my pet peeves is when people say they have a "dry" sense of humor, without actually understanding what it actually means.

"Dry" humor is not just any old type of humor. It's not violent, not off-color, not macabre or dark.

Basically, dry humor is that deadpan style of humor. It's the not-very-funny joke your uncle the cost analysis accountant tells. It's Bob Newhart, Steven Wright, or Jason Bateman in Arrested Development.

It is not, for the love of GOD, people, the Black Knight scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I swear, if anyone says Monty Python is "dry humor" is going to get a smack.

Here are some other types of comedy you may have heard and are just tossing around, willy-nilly.

Farce: Exaggerated comedy. Characters in a farce get themselves in an unlikely or improbable situation that takes a lot of footwork and fast talking to get out of. The play "The Foreigner" is an example of a farce, as are many of the Jeeves &…

What Are They Thinking? The Beloit College Mindset List

Every year at this time, the staff at Beloit College send out their new student Mindset List as a way to make everyone clutch their chest and feel the cold hand of death.

This list was originally created and shared with their faculty each year, so the faculty would understand what some of their own cultural touchstones might mean, or not mean, to the incoming freshmen. They also wanted the freshmen to know it was not cool to refer to '80s music as "Oldies."

This year's incoming Beloit freshmen are typically 18 years old, born in 1999. John F. Kennedy Jr. died that year, as did Stanley Kubrick and Gene Siskel. And so did my hope for a society that sought artistic and intellectual pursuits for the betterment of all humanity. Although it may have actually died when I heard about this year's Emoji Movie.

Before I throw my hands up in despair, here are a few items from the Mindset list for the class of 2021.

They're the last class to be born in the 1900s, and are t…