As a child, I was scared of most things. I had nightmares regularly as well as sleepless nights due to them. One movie had the biggest effect on me however, giving me nightmares for almost a month after seeing it. Sadly, that movie wasn’t a movie intended to scare anyone despite it being based on a Stephen King story. That movie? STAND BY ME.
Yes, the coming of age story involving a group of friends in search of a dead body was a weekend VHS rental that my dad picked up while my mom had to take a trip out of town. It was a movie about kids getting into trouble, so my dad didn’t think it would be an issue despite the R rating. And for the most part, he was right.
I enjoyed the story of Gordie, Vern, Teddy and Chris trying to search out that thing they’ve not seen before, their troubles with Kiefer Sutherland and his crew, even the junkyard dog. I absolutely thought the tale of the barforama was hilarious despite being an easy vomiter myself. The scene that took it over the edge though was when the boys were in the water and realize that they are set upon by leeches, ending with Gordie passing out after removing a bloody leech from his underwear area.
Leeches haunted me for weeks afterward whenever I closed my eyes. Had dreams of them coming after me, like hungry vampires. My parents tried everything to get me over them, even explaining how leeches used to be used by doctors to clean wounds. Eventually the fear faded. Getting over that fear though helped me overcome others and turned me into the horror nut that I am now.