WES CRAVEN’S NEW NIGHTMARE had just come out when I was around 4 or 5 years old. The T.V. spots were saturating the airwaves and all I remembered from them were a little boy, a furnace, and a “witch” with razor hands and a mouth that could expand and swallow children whole. At the time, I thought it was a version of Hansel and Gretel. I was not a fan of scary things. I remember going to see THE SWAN PRINCESS at my local multiplex and almost having a panic attack when I discovered MARY SHELLEY’S FRANKENSTEIN was playing right next door. Somewhere in my tiny little mind, I thought my parents might get confused and walk into that auditorium instead.
The video soon came out and its presence was unavoidable. It was everywhere! I’d sneak a peek at the back of the box and wonder how terrifying this film must be with images like that, so proudly displayed. My local Party City even got a huge, cardboard standup of this razor fingered witch and that made shopping for Halloween costumes awfully difficult. They positioned it right by the exit. Smart move!
I had the worst dreams about this witch. I dreamt that I’d come home from school on a nice, sunny day, walk into my room and there she’d be, smiling and tapping at my rather large window. It got so bad that, in real life, I’d come home from school, jump on my bed, praying that if I jumped quick enough, the witch wouldn’t be able to grab me under my bed. I’d hope every day this wouldn’t be the day the dream became a reality.
I went off to a summer day camp a few months later and this group of older boys (couldn’t have been more than 9 or 10 years old) kept talking about all these scary stories. They told me about a burnt child murderer with razors for fingers, a masked madman who only comes out on Halloween, and a little boy who drowned…in the lake around the camp, who will return and kill those who don’t follow the rules.
Keep in mind that this was the summer before SCREAM was released, so slashers had been dead for awhile at this point. I never saw ads for such films, except NEW NIGHTMARE. This was all new to me. I started scouring the newspaper and TV Guide, hoping to find these films. I loved the simple, terse descriptions they gave of each film “Halloween- Babysitters stalked by a killer on All Hallows Eve!” SOLD!
My late father and I would watch these films every Friday and Saturday night together. Looking back, it’s some of the best memories I have of my Dad. He’d lead me into darkness, we’d face my fears together, and discuss them the next morning over breakfast at Waffle House.
I remember seeing FRIDAY THE 13TH 7 & 8, THE FLY (’86), A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2 & 5, and HALLOWEEN 1 & 2 during this time. Since then, I rarely have nightmares. Who knew horror films could be such great therapy?
UNK SEZ: Thanks for the traumafession Chris! Multi-talented Chris Moore is the writer, director and star of the slasher inspired flick PERVERSION. You can check out the trailer below, find ordering info HERE and jump on over to our pal Pax’s pad BILLY LOVE STU for a review over HERE!