Weekend Movies and the Truama Inflicted By Older Brothers

Movies were a big part of my childhood growing up. Being we lived in a rural town, there wasn’t much else for us to do as a family. So nothing was no more exciting than on Friday evening when my mom got home than going to the movie store and renting movies. You got to go and pick out the one movie you had wanted to see since you saw it advertised on television for the movie theaters. I was always drawn to the horror movie section when we’d go in there. Even when I was little, and my parents wouldn’t let me watch those movies yet. The terrifying covers of the boxes just captivated me and terrorized me at the same time.

The Exorcist(1973)

The Exorcist was the first horror movie scene I ever remember seeing as a kid. I wasn’t supposed to be watching it. I was young. Probably not even five years old. I had two older brothers who were teenagers at the time. Somehow, I wound up in the room while they were watching it, and I saw the scene where her head spun around. At that moment in my life, I decided that was it for me. I jumped up and ran out of the room, screaming and crying to my mother. My brothers laughed at me. It was late in my teens before I ever decided to watch that movie.

The Amityville Horror (1979)

I never saw The Amityville Horror till I was older and could handle it. But I was terrified of it at a young age. See, my brothers told me the story of it. They also had the book. I remember the book so vividly in my mind. It was a thick paperback book that had a picture of the house on the front of it. I’d see the cover, and it would instantly bestow fear onto me. Another thing was my grandparents had a front door on their house that had windows at the top of it that looked like the Amityville house’s windows. So I couldn’t be in their living room at night without my sister.

This is the cover

Alien (1979)

My brothers got me with this one as well. I was a little older when I saw this than I was with The Exorcist. So, I made it a little further into the movie. When the alien popped out of the seed pod and attached to that guy’s face, that completely blew my mind; but when it became too much for me was when it detached itself, and the alien erupted from the guy’s abdomen, I was done. This time I graciously exited the room, though.

The early childhood trauma thrust onto me by my older brothers didn’t deter me from horror movies, though. As I grew older, I always had an appreciation for a good horror flick. The only thing was, they just never packed a punch as those three movies did. I watched all The Nightmare on Elm Streets, Friday the 13ths, and Stephen King novels made into movies, and they all just never got me there. I guess it was kind of like being an adrenaline junkie. You do that thing that gets you off that first time. Then you spend the rest of your life trying to get back to that feeling.

WARGAMES. Nuclear War Induced Childhood Anxiety Disorder

This evening after work, I came home, and the movie Wargames was on TV. I had to give it a watch because I hadn’t seen it in forever— like since I was a kid. You might remember the movie? Matthew Broderick played the main character. A kid that hacked the computer system at NORAD and started it simulating a nuclear war with Russia. Bringing the world to the brink of nuclear destruction. At the end of the movie, the computer program figures out nuclear war has no clear winner and is not worth engaging in, everybody breathes a big sigh of relief, and everyone is happy. Then the movie goes off. If you haven’t seen it, give it a look. It’s a pretty good movie.

The thing about this movie is this. Nuclear war was the cause of so much anxiety for me as a child. I knew the Russians were coming. I saw Rambo: First Blood Part II. I also saw Red Dawn. The original, with Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen. I worried so much as a child about nuclear war. It was crazy. I just knew that I was never losing my virginity, graduating high school, or ever having an adult life. You couldn’t fathom the amount of relief I felt when at 14, there was a coup d’é·tat that toppled the Soviet regime and effectively, in my mind, significantly lowered the chance for nuclear war. Then life went on.

As you may have realized already, as a child, I had an overactive imagination. The crazy thing is that I wouldn’t change it for anything. I look at life now and back at those preposterous thoughts and appreciate those worries more than the ones of my adult life. I also appreciate the killer movies that entertained me as a child, just a nostalgic thought for the evening