Monday, September 10, 2007

Steph vs. The Scary Movie

I have a love/hate relationship with horror movies. I am drawn to the suspense and twisted imagery. I get trapped in the shock and fear that people walk among us who would do gruesome things to fellow human beings.

I hate them though, because after soaking in the grisly and dreadful details of some serial killer, I lie awake for hours at night mentally surveying every nook and cranny of my home in which said serial killer might be hiding, waiting for me to fall asleep. Is he contorted in the hall closet with 20 years of old and dusty CD's? Crouched over the kitty litter? Camping out behind my wedding dress?

In the No Horror (or true crime) Treaty of 1999 Danny and I agreed that I would no longer be allowed to watch any movies where people get chopped up into little pieces and stuffed into suitcases by their quiet, churchgoing neighbors.

As Danny pointed out, when I don't sleep, he doesn't sleep. He's kept awake not only from my tossing and turning in nightmare, but from the inevitable, "Danny? Are you awake? Can you turn the hall light on?" or "Danny? Could you just check that all the doors are locked again?" that issue forth from my mouth the very second he has fallen asleep.

The treaty does include a "special circumstances" clause. Normally I can watch a scary movie as long as the rules are such that I know I am safe from harm. For instance, if it is not Friday the 13th I have nothing to fear from everyone's favorite hockey-masked menace. And since my parents never participated, to my knowledge, in roasting a child molester in a boiler room on Elm Street, Freddy holds no grudge against me. I do not live in the Amityville house, my neighborhood was not built on top of a cemetery or Indian burial ground, I am not tunneling down a dark cave and the dead of the world have not risen up from the cemeteries. Safe, safe, and safe.

Any tale of a serial killer, stalker or otherwise run of the mill, average Joe murderer though is strictly off-limits under any circumstances.

Because I've had relative success watching horror movies under the special circumstances clause, I got cocky. That's how Saw slipped in there. It was 3 o'clock on Sunday afternoon and I was flipping through channels looking for somewhere to land so I could fold my laundry. The people involved in the movie seemed to be caught in some sort of run down building that doesn't exist in my neighborhood. 30 minutes in I was already hooked and learned that the Saw psycho picks people and takes them to his little twisted game rooms.

Danny tried to comfort me by saying, "But he picks people who are ungrateful to be alive." But how do I know what his judging standards are? I was awake last night wondering. Maybe he deems me ungrateful because I was sitting inside on a beautiful sunny day, because I don't visit my parents enough or because I don't eat organic every time and smoke an occasional cigarette. He could be outside my house right now judging me unworthy since I am the only woman on the block who has failed to procreate. There's no way to tell.

I tried to beat it. When I still couldn't fall asleep, Danny obliged me with a game of name every Susan Sarandon movie, Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Kevin Costner etc until my mind was so distracted trying to remember the name of the guy who played Tom in the Godfather that I forgot about the maniac hiding in my shower and fell asleep. (I woke up later to shout Robert Duvall!)

Will I ever learn my lesson? Or am I doomed to a lifetime of sleepless nights and checking under the bed? I guess the best I can do is lock my doors and stick to watching Golden Girls on Sunday afternoons. .

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