It’s a Horror to Know You: Joanna Wilson of Christmas TV History!
1. What is the first film that ever scared you?
I can easily point to Jaws (1975) and tell you that that movie scared me so bad, decades later I still live with the consequences! I’m horrified of natural stuff in the water. Since I’m a triathlete, I need to regularly swim in lakes to compete and my heart rate maxes out before I even step into the dark water. That movie changed my life. I can’t tell myself sharks only live in salt water–my fear is beyond reason. I’m terrified of sea weed, minnows, turtles, and whatever floats. Don’t tease me about it because it’s not funny.
2. What is the last film that scared you?
Communion (1989) I grew up frightened by Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), TV episodes of Project UFO and late night viewings of the TV movie The UFO Incident (1975). So when I finally saw Communion, it just took me over the top. I tried to get over that movie by watching it over and over–it didn’t work. Then I read the book but that didn’t help. Next, I read all of Whitley Strieber’s books–then I had trouble sleeping. Mostly, I’ve resigned myself to welcoming the aliens when they eventually come for me.
More recently, I saw 2007’s No Country for Old Men and Javier Bardem’s character–a monster, really–gave me nightmares. Some of my friends have suggested I read the book, and I have responded the same way to all of them: “F*ck YOU!”
3. Name three Horror movies that you believe are underrated.
Night of the Hunter (1955)–Robert Mitchum is so macho and hot (I’m thinking 1958’s Thunder Road) but here, he’s a child stalker hiding behind a minister’s collar. His fire and brimstone, anger and self-righteousness really frightens me. I always shout out loud at the two adorable children on screen to keep running! I can’t help it.
Elephant Man (1980) I begged my mom to take me to see this at the theater when it came out. I was clearly too young because it haunted me. It was hard for me to bear how much pain and isolation this man endured. Years later, Blue Velvet became my favorite film and I learned David Lynch directed Elephant Man as well. I actually became proud of my earlier psychological trauma.
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986) This movie is especially terrifying because it was inspired by an actual person. Actor Michael Rooker was a little too convincing.
4. Name three horror movies that you enjoy against your better judgment.
Poltergeist (1982) I’ve seen this movie so many times it shouldn’t have any effect on me but it still does. I hate it when I can hear stuff move or fall in another room. Another movie that changes your life.
Pet Semetary (1989) I read the book before I saw the movie so I remember the terror from the book. The movie isn’t nearly as scary to me as the book but I’m still entertained by it. Actor Fred Gwynne is the icing on that cake.
Silent Night, Deadly Night 5 (1991) Yes, you read that right. I’ve debated this movie’s merits at parties so many times, I think I’ve talked myself into loving it. Mickey Rooney is such a Hollywood institution–he has seen it all. I love him for being in this ridiculous movie.
5. Send us to two places on the Internet!
Made for TV Mayhem — Amanda By Night knows it all when it comes to TV movies.
Awful Library Books — library discards make up at least half of my personal collection.