I’m not one for scary movies. I’m a total pansy about it, actually. In high school, my girlfriend was a big fan of ghost movies–the scarier the better. She would get these crazy-scary imported ones from China–where her family is from— and when I was feeling really nice I’d watch one with her. I rarely felt that nice. I am a wimp.
Anyway, sometime after The Ring was out and available on Comcast, I decided to suck it up and get over my fear of scary movies. It was Halloween and I had the house all to myself. I turned down the lights. I lit candles. I turned on the movie.
“This isn’t scary”
I watched the intro while a steady monologue filled my brain.
“You’re not a wimp. This isn’t scary. You’re fine. There’s no reason for you to be afraid”
I made it as far as the scene with the dead girl in the closet* and the monologue shifted.
“You don’t have to prove anything to anyone. If you don’t want to watch, you don’t have to. It would be stupid to force yourself to do this”
The movie went off, the Disney Channel came on along with the lights, and I had a not-so-scary Halloween.
Fast forward to my freshman year in college. I had a boyfriend who I thought was as sweet as pie. I guess he still is. He, along with some other friends, realized I had never seen The Ring–or any other scary movie, for that matter– and decided that such a grevious oversight on my film education must be rectified. We overtook the commons room in one of the dorm area, set up the movie on an overhead projector, and hit play.
It went better this time. I made it past the three minutes of the movie, so that definitely counted as progress. In fact, I made it till the end, when, scared, I covered my face with my hands. Mind you, I could still see everything that was happening. I just needed a protective barrier.
He forced my hands down.
“No, you need to see this”
He was playful and loving, and not as much of an asshole as this story makes him seem, but he kept a solid grip on my hands until the movie was over. That moment became indelibly marked as the reason we could never work. I mean, sure, it took another two years for the end to come but when it did I thought back to that moment.
And it made sense.
*It’s not a spoiler, I promise. The movie is as old as a fourth grader, and the scene I described happened less than three minutes in.