The Spotlight: “Scary” Movies & TV

A friend and TBBC crew member asked me today, “Can you recommend a movie that really scares me?” Now, after going through all the obvious answers that we can agree upon as a society: Jaws (1975) (I was convinced Jaws could appear in a pool thanks to this movie which ruined weekly trip’s to Nanna’s pool), The Exorcist (1973), Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) and Deliverance (1972). Man, the 70s were dark, huh? I started thinking about my personal fears and things that “scare” me. Let’s face it, these days the news is scarier than the horror movies being released. I’m on the edge of my seat anytime our “beloved” POTUS is mentioned.

When I was around 9 or 10, I watched Dolls, Demonic Toys and Child’s Play  (we’ll get to my parenting issues later), which immediately convinced me to collect and garbage bag all of my expensive porcelain dolls from my grandmother. They stayed in the bottom of the closet for years. So when I was a kid, anything with dolls would have scared me. As an adult, the truly scary movies actually say more about me as a person than the horror movie industry so enjoy this little tour of my mind and the potential therapist bills.

  1. Idiocracy
    2006. 84 minutes. Rated R.

Speaking of POTUS, this movie should scare EVERYONE because every year, it’s more like a documentary. The year is 2505, and by accident an average guy named Joe (Luke Wilson) (I see what you did there) ends up being the smartest guy left in the world after he wakes up from a 500-year cyro-sleep. He’s not really that smart, everyone else just got dumber. He wakes up in a world where water has been replaced by sports drinks, Starbucks gives out hand jobs, and “the #1 movie in America was called ‘Ass.’ And that’s all it was for 90 minutes. It won eight Oscars that year, including best screenplay. Who knew the creator of Beavis and ButtheadMike Judge was a prophet?

2. Duck. 2005. 96 minutes. PG 13.

I love my boyfriend very much and if he died, I would just give up and, if I could still afford the mortgage payments, buy a pug, maybe a few more cats, and commit myself to spinsterhood. Seriously, I’m an introvert librarian in a field of mainly women and the odds of finding someone else that I could love are not very good… which is why being old and alone can be a very scary thought. Duck is a sad but heartwarming story about a widowed old man who meets a duck (yes, like quack, quack duck) who has also lost his family and they form a friendship. I’m really hoping for life extension/fountain of youth type stuff in the next 20 years.

3. Blue Valentine2010. 112 minutes. Rated R.

Going along those lines of true romance, how does a seemingly loving relationship dissolve? Where is the moment where you realize it doesn’t work and you escape it? I’ve talked about Blue Valentine in my spotlight post about Ryan Gosling. It’s heartbreaking, because sometimes love is messy. My mom has been married a few times and I’ve always wondered, did you know then that it wouldn’t work?

4. Revolutionary Road2008. 119 minutes. Rated R.

A young couple (Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet) with so many hopes and dreams are squashed by their choices to become the modern nuclear family.  This one scared the crap out of me. I started a bucket list and re-emphasized why I will never have kids.

5.  Still Alice. 2014. 101 minutes PG-13.

What makes you, well you?  If you lose all your memories, are you still the same person?  Alice (Julianne Moore) was a healthy doctor with a successful career and loving family who was diagnosed with Early-onset Alzheimer’s,one of the scariest health-related things in the real world. This movie is about her descent into forgetting and the affects on her family.

6. Handmaid’s Tale. 2017. 1 Season. unrated.

This dystopia plays on fears worse than stupidity for me.  You are trapped in a society where you are forced to be a baby machine for wealthy couples. That is your entire purpose. If you don’t live up to that purpose, life could get much worse.  Still, you are forced to dress like a nun, can only go to the grocery store (my worst errand), and once a month forced in a “ceremony” to copulate with a stranger while his wife holds you down.   Feeling helpless, trapped, and losing control of your life are all the stuff of nightmares.

7. This is Us. 2016. 2 Seasons. Unrated.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the writing on this show. I love how the writers play tricks on you and you think Okay, I know this one, XYZ is going to happen and by the end of the episode, surprise… it was something completely different.  The show follows the life of the Pearson family from present day to flashbacks in time that parallel what is happening and why. Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) have a beautiful (almost perfect..even though Jack had a few problems it was pretty damn good) romance and end up with three wonderful children (who grow up with a few issues when their father passes away early in their formative years) because the whole point of the show is nobody’s perfect but if you have a loving family and happy memories to fall back on everything will turn out OK.  This is why this show messes with me. You start to think, Okay, where are my happy family memories? (Don’t you wish you could remember all that sage advise your parents told you over the years like it was a movie?) Where are the moments that I look back on in times of struggle or look to for understanding more about myself? Who do I rely on when times get tough? Point is, you’ll probably cry during these episodes but maybe from something unexpected. Milo is still the man though. He’s the Ryan Golsing effect. 

So to take a que from This is Us, I hope this post was a little unexpected, maybe a little Freudian and plenty scary. Please comment and share on your “scary” movies.

Author: Jessica

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