Yes, our children nowadays have their favorite scary movies and chances are, if you’re somewhat old fashioned like me, you do not relate. This is not a bad thing. Sharing your favorites with your kids can be an educational experience for both of you. For instance, take the 2006 remake of the 1979 “When a Stranger Calls”. In my opinion, it lost some “scariness” with the use of cell phones. While discussing this flick with my now 20-year-old daughter I had to explain first, that this movie was a remake. Second, how the old home phones worked. When the stranger called the babysitter from inside the house, we did not have caller I.D., nor did we have a location settings on our phones. (Insert picture of an old rotary phone here and watch your teen LOL) Remember when, if you were lucky enough, you had two phones in the house. This usually consisted of one on the main level and one in the basement. You could dial your home phone number, from let’s say the basement because that’s where the scary stuff happened, and when you replaced the handset to the cradle it would ring. You would then have to pick it up at the exact same time as the person picked up the other handset on the other phone and you could talk to them. No button pushing, no contact list, not even a redial. Hmmmm. I’m speaking a foreign language to “today’s kids”. But that’s what made the movie so scary! Not to give away the plot, but the stranger was in the house and the babysitter did not know this until the local authorities “traced the call”, which is another concept not fathomed today.
Let’s see, there are others too. “Psycho” was modernized along with “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and the most recent “Dark Shadows” in which they created a movie from the old TV series we used to run home from school to watch in the mid to late 1960’s. Let me tell you, this was a news flash for my kids when I told them! If you are fans of these types of movies, why not plan a movie night with your children, if you dare, and watch both the old and new versions. Could prove to be interesting. Or, for another entertaining venue in your home, pick one of the classics to watch together. “The Exorcist”, “The Shining”, and “Frankenstein” are just a few to mention.
Alfred Hitchcock might not scare the pants off of today’s kids, but let me tell you a story. In my house growing up my parents were, as most parents, concerned about what we watched on television. When my older brother was a young teen the big event was “The Birds” airing on ‘the tube’. The buzz around schools was definitely about who was able to watch this movie and who wasn’t. My brother convinced my mother he had to watch it for a school project. Naïve, yes, but nevertheless she wanted him to get a good grade and there were worse things he could have been out doing. However, the rest of the family had to go out that evening. The movie began just before dark, so he took his seat, began watching and we left. When we returned home we found the house completely dark and my brother right where we’d left him. Too scared to move. Too scared to turn on any lights, change the channel or turn off the TV. Keep in mind, that because there were no remotes, you had to physically walk to the TV to accomplish this. That movie is still considered a comedy to me.
Another one? Ok, Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray”. This was made in the 1940’s, the 1970’s and 2009. My mother and I began watching the 1970’s version one night. History lesson: Again, since there was no remote control, there was not an ‘info’ button. You didn’t know what a movie or TV show was about unless you subscribed to the newspaper or TV Guide. This movie attracted our attention, however, sent my father shaking his head and going to bed discouraged that he could not watch the news (yes, the household only had one television). There we were, just the two of us girls. We were captivated and then… (Insert horror movie music.) THE DOORBELL! We, just like my brother, were too scared to move. Huddled together on the ‘davenport’ (another historical word that my children chuckle at to this day) not able to answer the door. Even what seemed like hours after the movie, we were so scared we didn’t want to walk down the hall to go to our bedrooms. How we mustered up the courage is still unbeknownst to us today.
Maybe this Halloween season is a great time for you and your loved ones to visit new and old movies together. It sure brought back great memories for me! Oh, and my apologies to whoever came to visit us that frightful night of Dorian Gray. Hope you didn’t travel a great distance.