Traumafession:: Jamie P. on Watership Down, Lord of the Rings & Friday the 13th

I grew up with a father into science fiction and a mother into horror.

My father took me to see Watership Down in the theater in late 1978 or early 1979. Either way, I was 5. All the bunny rabbits were instant friends. Yes, they got into fights and some scary stuff right off the bat with Fiver’s psychic vision of impending bunny-doom if they didn’t flee the warren. Their voyage to their new home was a struggle, but they made it and had happy bunny families and lived happily ever after…

No. Instead of ending the movie there, we got to see the Black Rabbit of Death come to take away all my bunny rabbit friends. The Black Rabbit of Death haunted my dreams for years. I don’t even want to listen to that song from the movie. Why did we need to see the bunnies off to another plane of existence? Perhaps because of Lord of the Rings, where Tolkien grinds us down to make us read about the passing of all the Ring Bearers and of the Elves.

Lord of the Rings, another 1978 movie I should not have been taken to see. Looking it up on Wikipedia I see that there was substantially more of the film than I remember. Because for me, the movie ended when Boromir was pierced by orc arrows and dripping with blood, in his drawn out death scene, apologizing for trying to steal the Ring.

Now for mom and grandma. Friday the 13th, the first movie from 1980. I was now a stalwart 6 year old. Who doesn’t know what happened in the movie because he was hiding under the theater seat for almost the entire thing. This is a serious WTF were you thinking situation: your mother and your grandmother are laughing at you, a 6 year old, for being terrified of a slasher horror movie. No comfort; no he’s too young, we should go. They thought it was funny for me to be hiding in the sticky goo under the seat.

And yes, I was hiding for most of the movie. But then I was told the scary parts were over and it was ok to emerge from my sticky warren of fear. They weren’t. Nasty decomposing monster Jason jumps out of the lake, a surprise for everyone. And traumatic for me.

Oh and Jaws. Two and a half years old and taken to see Jaws. Bad parents. Bad.

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8 years ago

I don’t know if that’s as much traumafession as it is child abuse.

Hail Ants
Hail Ants
8 years ago

Watership Down is most definitely NOT for little kids. BUT, I saw it on HBO in 1980 or 81 when I was about 15 (it never got a major release in the US) and found it to be an amazing film. I later read the book and was surprised at how little they cut out for the film. But yes, its an emotional rollercoaster. To this day I cannot listen to Art Garfunkel’s ‘Bright Eyes’ without weeping.

But you wanna talk nightmare films? Do NOT watch Plague Dogs!! It was written by the same author and animated by the same team. It makes Watership look like a Disney movie…