Movies That Scarred Me For Life

In my current Life and Laughter column, I discussed scary movies and how they basically ruined me. Here’s a more complete list of life-altering movies that made me who I am today. Messed up.

The Wizard of Oz: The tornado in this movie scared the living s*** out of me. I was convinced that every windstorm would carry our home to a place with helium-voiced dwarves, apple-throwing treesĀ and green-faced witches. Still not sure that won’t happen. And don’t even get me started on the flying monkeys ripping apart the Scarecrow. Hello, therapy.

Salem’s Lot: This made-for-TV scare-fest featuring creepy vampires kept me from looking out the window for years. I still picture the pale vampire hovering outside the window, just waiting to come in for a drink. Or a bite. Who keeps their curtains open in the middle of the night????

Aliens: I never actually watched this movie but my dad had a graphic novel depicting the plot that kept me awake for about 24 months. I couldn’t stop staring at the page where the alien bursts out of the guy’s chest. Very nicely drawn–graphically correct. The drawing of the grown-up alien with slobbery blood dripping from his jowls was another definite nightmare inducer.

Planet of the Apes: Talk about evolution taken to the extreme. In this NOT-FOR-KIDS movie my dad made us watch, apes have taken over the planet (not apes like Newt Gingrich or Rush Limbaugh–but actual gorilla apes). It’s HILARIOUS now, but when you’re a little girl afraid of small dogs, the idea of apes locking humans up in cages was more than a little unnerving.

The only redeeming part of the movie (which also gave me nightmares) was Charlton Heston’s lines when he realized he was on earth the whole time.

“Oh my God. I’m back. I’m home. All the time, it was… We finally really did it!”
[Heston screaming]
“You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!”

Freaked me out for many, many years.

What movies messed up your childhood?