Scary Movies Turn Me On

Kelly H. always had the best slumber parties.

I think it had alot to do with her advanced breakdancing skills (she could actually spin on her head) and the well-stocked toilet paper arsenal hidden in the linen closet. An invitation to the Hayes Home promised a "worldy" ten-year-old such as myself all of the following in abundance: junk food, blue-eyeshadow makeovers, Truth or Dare, NKOTB, girl-talk, boy-talk, prank calls, dance-a-thons, frozen panties, shaving cream, and promises of childhood accomplishments never to be forgotten. In other words, She who fell asleep LAST ruled all.

One such party found me, wide-eyed and delirious among the bodies of my fallen comrades, watching the scariest movie that I had ever seen in my life: Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971).  I remember not sleeping for days after seeing this movie and having nightmares for months. From that night on, Jessica found itself filed away in the part of my mind reserved for small spaces, large snakes, dirty water, and public nudity. And for the last sixteen years, it has remained, for me at least, the scariest movie in existence.

Funny thing is, until yesterday, I couldn’t even remember what the damn movie was about.

Last night, however, my sister called from the video store with the surprising news that Jessica had been released on dvd.

Do you want me to rent it?

Of course… have you seen it?

Nope. You’re the only person I’ve ever heard even mention it.

This unpopularity, combined with the dvd release, makes me wonder if a remake is in progress… Anyhow, I made sure that the kids were all in bed, the kitchen was clean, and the nightlight in the hallway was working properly (just in case). Kellye and I then sat down to two hours of haunted hippies and underdeveloped plots.

Needless to say, Let’s Scare Jessica to Death no longer scares me to death. As an adult, I found all of the "loose-ends" typical of a 70’s horror flick annoying and the dialogue (also typical of 70’s horror) beyond cheesy. Elements of the film did, however, bring back vivid memories of my childhood terrors (that dead woman reaching for you from under the water was one scary bitch) and justified any and all begotten nightmares.

And today, sadly, I find myself not as scared of it all – the movie, the nightmares, the memories – anymore. The great slumber party/scariest night of my life anecdote is as dead in the water as the aforementioned lady and the life lesson of childhood fear vs. adult logic is relearned.

But I think I’ll go out and find those Bloody Mary movies… just in case.

October 27, 2006
Categories: Daily


1.©2006 by Courtney Hebert as Judith Shakespeare.
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