The first truly horrifying movie that shook me to my very Afrikaans core was IT (no it wasn’t a documentary on the rise of the internet, it was in fact a very unsettling movie about a murderous clown). It was rated 2-11, back then you could watch anything before the age of two; the effects of which have been directly proportionate to the rise of therapists. I rented the ‘video’ (for those of you born after the 1980’s, a ‘video’ is like a big tape, which is like a big roll of film, which is like a toilet roll made out of soft plastic which people watch – got it? Good) and ever since my fear has manifested itself in the shower – I still can’t look at drains without imagining a clown slowly manoeuvring IT’s way through the pipes to tear me apart limb by limb. But IT’s old, like jokes about ‘will they see the iceberg this time in Titanic 3D?’
It’s been years since I’ve had that adrenalin-pumping, scream-out-loud-in-terror, sleep-with-a-spotlight-on fear. Until recently. Now I would like to just add, I understand that there are other movies out there that are probably way more disturbing than anything I have ever seen. Those underground horrors, that have been badly filmed but that creep into your psyche and cause you and your friends to all put on a pair of Nike sneakers and commit group suicide. I’m not interested in those, I wear Converse.
In saying this, the other day I came across one of these suicide-inducing horrors posing as a mainstream fright series – American Horror Story. Granted, it is a series, which makes it all the more frightening, as you never know if it’s gonna end. I have watched one episode and it has made me worse for wear. It stars Dylan Mcdermott (who constantly looks like he wants to have sex with someone), Jessica Lange (who constantly looks like she used to have sex with someone) and a chick that looks like an older Grace from Will and Grace (the one that constantly looked like she wanted to have sex with a gay someone).
The plot, as far as I could gather from the first episode, is centred around Dylan and Grace and their daughter (who resembles the anaemic chick from ‘The Girl With The Pearl Earring’ painting) moving into a haunted house and of course every Hollywood horror cliché takes place right there. Goblins, demons, shape shifters, creepy little people that move fast with the pitter-patter of their feet, ugly people – it’s all there!
I watched the episode about two weeks ago and since then I have not successfully slept through one single night. Sometimes I am so thirsty at night, but the fear of sticking my hand out to the bedside table and grabbing my glass of water only to be met with a wrinkly small hand with long nails touching my arm is too much to handle. I’m too scared to go to the bathroom lest a small child crouched in the corner should grab my ankle and gnaw at it with her sharpened yellow baby-teeth. I can’t open my eyes at night in case they fall upon a tall skinny man standing in the corner with a whitened face, no shirt on and a big smile.
To put it mildely, I need a nap more than Courtney Love after a binge.
There are still 8 more episodes of the series that shall not be named on my computer. Will I watch them all? Of course. Will I forever damage myself? Of course. Will I buy a pair of Nike sneakers, some poison and call up my friends for a party? Let’s hope not.
*Please do not try putting on Nike sneakers at home.