I’m a pretty big wuss at the best of times. When given the choice, I always go with “moderately frightening” over “absolutely terrifying”. I never watch horror movies or slasher films and I avoid haunted houses at Halloween.
Last summer I was even freaked out watching back to back episodes of Are You Afraid of the Dark? (The clown and the stolen cigar episode still gives me the heebie jeebies.)
But the scariest movie I have ever seen? The Watcher in the Woods. That’s right. In a world where scary movies are a dime a dozen and gore is literally splattered across film screens everywhere, the movie that scares me the most is a PG release by Disney from 1980.
I haven’t watched the film in a decade, but I still feel a little tingle of terror whenever I think about it. The premise was pretty simple. A family moves into a creepy house in the countryside where they quickly learn a girl disappeared “under suspicious circumstances” years before. Throw in a creepy man who lives in the woods, an alien portrayed by a light beam and a girl trapped in mirrors and you’ve got yourself a genuine scary movie.
I can’t even count the number of times my sister and I watched this only to end up awake all night talking, not because we had anything to say but because both of us were too terrified to sleep.
Over the years there have been several instances where I almost rewatched this movie. I even went so far as to rent it one Friday night last year when I still lived on my own, but it remained in its case. I have had too many wonderful childhood memories ruined by being revisited and I can’t bring myself to destroy this one too.
What am I so afraid of, you ask? Well, what if I watch it again only to see it for the campy, dated film it is? What if I end up sitting through an hour and twenty minutes of bad movie, instantly overriding all the great memories I have of being scared with my sister?
Or worse, what if I watch it again and it’s still terrifying?
I’ll just stick to the memories, thank you very much.