Everybody remembers the first time they saw Invasion of the Body Snatchers, right? I mean, I remember it. Specifically, I remember two things: a dog with a human’s head and pod people going “Arrrgh” or somesuch. Forever after, I was terrified that I would wake up one day and my dog would have some old man’s face on its head and not for a good reason, like it had eaten most of our neighbor and was saving the face bits for last. No, it would be because the invasion has begun.
And here’s some other stuff that I’m still irrationally frightened by.
1. “Don’t Look Now,” the short story by Daphne Du Maurier. The woman who brought us “The Birds” (yes, the same “The Birds” that the Hitchcock film was based on) brings us this tale of a man discovering he’s psychic and … hey, where the hell did that serial-killing dwarf come from?
2. “Don’t Look Now,” the film. Serial-killing dwarf, schmerial-schmilling schmwarf: this film featured a graphic look at Donald Sutherland’s naked ass.
3. “Lady and the Tramp.” Siamese cats can sing? They can sing.
4. Stephen King’s “The Boogeyman.” Dear Mr. King: Thank you for writing a story that I read as a 10 year old (what the hell were my parents thinking, letting me read the works of King at age … fine, I was in high school….) once I was finally mostly over my fear of there being a horrible Lokifire-eating monster in the closet (yes, it was high school, all right? No, I wasn’t a bed-wetter. Monsters can smell your terror in urine, hello) that proved, yes, there is a horrible monster in the closet, and it doesn’t just want to eat you, it wants to eat your whole family. Also mess with your head a bit before it does.
5. “12:01 PM.” Unlike the cheerier (?) Groundhog Day, this poor bastard was stuck in a time loop that he would never be able to escape, no matter how much he redeemed himself, plus it was only an hour instead of a whole day and dear god, please let me be one of the lucky ones who is unaware time is skipping like a record, please, please please.
6. “I have no mouth and I must scream.” Computers … so scary … computers … end of humanity ….
7. “Ticks.” Yes, it was dumb. Yes, the special effects were bad. Yes, I screamed like a little girl when something scampered along the ground near the garbage can the next morning, because it was almost certainly a giant tick. (It was probably a rat.)
8. “Twilight Zone: the Movie.” Giant rabbit out of a hat! Giant rabbit out of a hat!!!!
9. “The Sun Dog,” also by Stephen King, the bastard who doesn’t want me to sleep again, ever.
10. “Friday the 13th.” Not because the movie was so scary, but because I had a friend who decided I was an innocent and thus could not see the sex scenes (probably she just hated me, now that I think about it), so she always had one of her older brothers hide my head under a pillow when the characters got busy. Smothery!