Wednesday, August 5, 2015

40 Years of Terror

I have been obsessed with horror films since I was a little kid. It’s true. I remember watching movies like A Nightmare on Elm Street and Child’s Play when I was in elementary school. Maybe not the best thing for a kid to watch, but I loved horror and I could not get enough! Even if a film gave me the heebee jeebees, I would watch it over and over. I liked being scared. The movies that were always the scariest to me weren’t ones with ghosts like in Poltergeist or with villains like Jason Voorhees. The ones that always got me were films where I felt that I could be in that exact situation. 

Horror movies that had less of a supernatural terror always made me crap my big girl panties! Now, don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t saying “Candyman” in the mirror three times or hanging around clowns just in case I bumped into Pennywise, but at least those didn’t feel as real as some horror flicks. Scream freaked me out, despite how much I loved it, especially when I went to the bathroom alone at school. Who knows who could be hiding in a stall with a knife! Teen slashers always got my blood flowing. Urban Legends and I Know What You Did Last Summer always made me a little paranoid. The Blair Witch Project creeped me out, mainly because I live in Maryland and had a tendency to play in the woods. Now, even with all of these unstable teenagers, the film that scared me the most had a villain that wasn’t even human. Nope. The film I’m talking about had a great white with the best theme song ever. Yes, I am talking about the shark in Jaws!

Movie poster for Jaws 1975
While I didn’t remember much from the film after the first time that I saw it, I do remember the impact it had on me every single time I went into the water. Every time I went to the beach I always had the thought of a shark attack in the back of my head. If a fish or piece of seaweed touched my leg underwater I would have a mini panic attack. I would jump up and wouldn’t want to touch my feet back down to the ground. There were times when I would go into the ocean and wouldn’t touch my feet to the ground once I made it past where the waves break. And if you think that is bad, I used to freak out in pools. Yes… those big things with clear water and chlorine that no shark would survive in. I had myself convinced that there were sharks hiding in the deep end and in the grates at the bottom of the pool. I would never swim over them or even dare touch them with my feet. Luckily, this phobia ended when I was in middle school… thank god! I still can’t believe I let a movie have that much of an impact on me, but like I said, Jaws was a terror that felt possible.
Still from Jaws 1975
Jaws has now been out, terrorizing beach goers for 40 years now! That’s amazing! I was lucky enough to attend one of the screenings for it’s 40th anniversary last month. It still had it’s moments. Cheap shots that made me jump, drunken sailor singing, and Bruce! Ohh, fun fact, they named the shark Bruce on set. I probably would have named him something like Snuggles or Mr. Wigglesworth, but that’s just me. No judgement. Bruce is a great name… if it is followed by Campbell. 
Still from Jaws 1975
I could sit here and give you tons of trivia about this film, like how Jaws was the highest grossing film for 2 years until Star Wars came out… bastards! But I won’t do that. What I will do is say this… if you have not seen Jaws, do yourself a huge favor and see it on the big screen while it is still out in theaters! All of those anti-piracy ads are right, nothing compares to seeing a movie in a theater. The lights are out, the screen is huge, and for 90 minutes, you are completely focused on the film. Every detail, the music, the props, the characters, and the storyline. For me, the best part is not having any distractions at the theater and letting the feelings of fear and anxiousness take over as I’m on the edge of my seat wondering when that damn shark is going to pop back up again! Okay… maybe I know when the shark is going to pop out of the water, but you get the idea. 

In any case, Happy 40th Bruce! You family vacation to the beach ruining bastard!


Krystal Lake