Remembering Your First Scary Movie
Welcome back to another edition of listener supported KPBS cinema Junkie podcast on Beth Accomando. It's October so I'm digging into the archives to pull up an episode from 2015 all about the first films that scared people. I'm going to refresh it with a few more additions. Like scary haha. What's your favorite. What comes to. Halloween. No the one with the guy in the white mask box random stocks baby sitters. I met him 15 years ago. I was told was nothing left. No reason no conscience no understanding and even the most rudimentary sense of life or death of good or evil right or wrong. I met this. 6 year old child is. Blind emotionless face and. Black has. Died. As a boy's best friend is his mother. Jackie. Play with his tiny. Candy Man Candy and Candy Man Candy Man. That would be until the frightened children come with me being bored. When. You look at me. It's. Not. Be afraid be fair. This is Halloween my favorite time of the year and I want to share all the frighteningly good memories I've been gathering about the first film to scare people. My memory of the first film to scare me is so vivid that I wonder what other people might recall about the movies that scared them. Let's begin with the simple question. Do you remember the first film that scared you. I certainly do. Fear is a primal human emotion and experiencing fear is something we all tend to remember vividly. My parents took me to some inappropriate films when I was young but I have to thank them for that because it probably laid the foundation for my love of horror. I saw things that terrified me and kept me awake at night and when I did fall asleep the images invaded my dreams. I remember that damn dog carrying around a severed arm increase was Yojimbo and I had vivid nightmares about the film The Collector starring Terence Stamp and Samantha Eggar especially a scene where she cracks them over the head with a shovel trying to escape but the very first film that I remember being scared by. Although Disney probably scarred me much earlier but I'm just not recalling the specifics is a boy 10 feet tall. I must have seen a boy 10 feet tall when I was only about 4 and I've never seen it since but it dealt with the young Anglo boy recently orphaned in Africa and starred Edward G Robinson as what the film called the white hunter. Films are queer animals in the bush in my day. I don't recollect reading one like you. I wonder. A boy ten feet tall packed a lifetime of adventure into a few short weeks of running from one desperate end of Africa to the other. He was strafed straight statuette. Plodded across the burning eastern Sahara on foot. Found himself manacled to a dead man under the blazing sun with vultures overhead handcuffed to a dead man. Yes that's exactly what I remember being most terrified by. I don't know what was actually in the film although I should go back and see it again just to see what it was really about. But I had nightmares about being in a dark jungle and not being able to see and dragging a dead body behind me. The film was billed as an adventure for kids but it's the first memory I have of being scared. So it's not always a horror film that provides the first scare as writer and filmmaker Clive Barker reveals. The first movie I remember scaring me was 15 Buzzi how shall you deal with a male friend. And not how. Disney is responsible for the nightmares of many children. He was I think triumphantly good at a particularly American mixture of sentimentality. I'm Arrian Omer Sipes and I'm the daughter of the director Edgard Gillmore. The first film that I remember was Pinocchio in which the. The whale swallows Pinocchio. And there's no way in the world that I could be convinced that he was alive. So we're screaming and yelling and my mother had to carry me out of the Astor Theatre in New York. Then I would say the next film that scared me was of course my father's film The Black Cat. You know what I'm going to do now. That was quite creepy too. Did you ever see an animal skin. That's like or do you now. Have the skin from your body. Most of all when they started skinning him I didn't really understand why people were being skinned like animals. That just was a really frightening thing. And you don't think about fear is it also produces adrenaline and the rush from that is kind of exhilarating. That may be why many people can immediately recall the first film to ever scare them. One has Mike Hill and a sculptor and mongst the maker I'm at mongst oppose me the Friday meet was Christopher Lee's Dracula Dracula blood. One taste of the Dracula that scared the pants of me as a child. And I guess that's the first time I was terrified. It was a coach going through Transylvania mountains or wherever. And. There's a nasty guy on the coach and he ends up throwing this innocent guy out of the coach. And the guy you know he's lost the middle of nowhere and he's his this high pitched screaming. And then that's when he sees Christopher Lee fleeing around with a big cross through him and you know to me it was just hurt. And it was it was red. You know I think it was I think it was the garish red glove that did it. Because the classics I was used to so much to be when we got to call it Sevy because befool that was all black and white and so yeah one of us I think when I saw that bloody just get the kinds of stuff wouldn't and I'm glad you asked that question because I forgot all about it. You're right. Yeah. That was the first one. So my name is David Rein's. I have a film called never to have been in the horrible imaginings Film Festival. And the first film to ever scare me was a TV movie called Salem's Lot. Vampires are creating vampires. It was me and my sisters and a few of their friends in my parents bedroom and it was over two separate weeks. That was back when many series were not aired back to back. It was like you watched one on Sunday and then you watch the next one the following Sunday. We sat for two hours scared shitless and then came back for more the following weekend. So yeah I carried a cross with me for two weeks straight day and night. Regardless I was so terrified. I can't remember what the story was at that time. I just remember you know. Danny not Danny whoever was popping out of the coffin and then floating and crashing on Danny's window to let him in. Oh you're terrifying absolutely terrifying. Frikken. They still scare me. Hello I'm Tomoe and I'm the writer director of Fright Night Child's Play psycho to the first scary film I remember is them. I tell you gentlemen Sanchez agreed that unless something is done and done quickly man as the dominant species of life on earth would be extinct within a year. A science fiction film about an atomic blast creating giant killer ants and they invade Los Angeles state in your home your homes. Personal stake the safety of the entire city depend on your full cooperation with the military authorities. Yes cities nation. Even civilization itself. Fighting with annihilation. Because in one moment of history making violence. Makes you. Mad rampant. Its most awesome creation. In a swirling inferno of radioactive dust where things are so terrifying so he's. There is no way. To describe. Them. And that was. The most fun scary film I remember as well as a little kid and the film that changed my life was psycho. By Alfred Hitchcock in 1961. And I was like 16 or 17 and that was such a huge jump in terms of montage in the way it was edited and that film really did scare me. The shower scene. No I had never seen your female lead kill off in the first 20 minutes. Was it was it violated all the rules and I never saw something that was that graphic in that terrifying. Even though we didn't see anything. It changed my view of editing because before that I'd been watching Hammer horror movies and A.I. which were very traditional deeply saturated. They did a close up it was a big deal of a psycho changed all that. Psycho was the beginning of modern art. And Alfred Hitchcock. Is this. Is the genius. Of suspense horror filmmaking and the father of. Hi I'm. Vernon Rose I'm the writer and director of Candyman. The first film that I remember really terrifying me is actually a masterpiece in my opinion it's a film that Ken Russell made in 1971. It's called The Devils and it's based on Aldous Huxley's book The Devils of luto. But I can prove nothing of stupidity or maybe a little more than the pedicle not but if it is a genuine case of possession by devils and if Grandey himself was proved to be involved yes I think it bears an investigation it's about the possession of a company of nuns in the 17th century in France. But what the film is about is not the possession of the nuns. It's about Cardinal reshift uses this event to frame the priest Micron's and torture him and burned him to death. You're going to be tortured. Paul we'll hold no surprises and I think what truly terrified me was how the film brilliantly exposes how the state uses fear as a form of oppression fear and superstition to achieve fascistic aims. And you know you can say that's truly terrifying and that's the world we still live in. I mean it's a testament to how Dollon Taim films have become since then really nobody's gonna come close. Hi I'm Lance Henriksen and the first movie I ever saw that scared me to death was around when I was around. 11. And I had gone into the theater. Sort of in the afternoon. By the time the movie was over it was dark. And it was called The thing with James on us. Nothing from another world. This is the spot where it was first scene. And these are the first people who saw the thing and I had to walk up the middle of the street. I was so scared something was going to jump out of the doorway. Or somewhere. The movie changed my life pretty much forever. It was very well-made. You know so and it was back in the day when there was language was everything and it was black and white and was brilliant brilliant. Juices thought. To bring a vice like hold. It was the overlapping dialogue you had a touch of reality that other movies did not have. And you know it was directed by a great director but also the music. And also there were no special effects or only practical effects. So it was very cool. I'm. Tony Todd the first movie I ever saw. It really got me was probably Rosemary's Baby I love. I'm from the East Coast a long time in New York City somebody called which is also famous or infamous for where John Lennon was assassinated. Had such an eerie creepy presence and the cast which included Ruth Gordon and John Cassavetes and Mia Farrow. Was. Just the casting was. Done. He has apologized. The psychological terror that lay with him what would happen if his child was taken from a person and diverted to another way so that got under my skin. Not the psychological method as opposed to just blood and go. He came up from hell and began the sound of mokhotlong. Hey. BLACKMER. It was a great classic movie theater trained actor Ruth Gordon walking up to the CODA after the girl and we had just met with Mia Farrow and the Wassersug. It said be careful when she jumps off the balcony at that point. We all knew that there was something creepy going on with this couple. It was the way it was shot. Roman Polanski knew how to edit capture news lucid moments was what good films should do the moments that you don't expect Hi everybody. This is Eliot Brodsky from Monster palooza reminiscing about films that I have enjoyed growing up with and have affected my love of horror and science fiction. The real movie that absolutely made me jump and shiver watching the entire film was Jaws. Acted like go to the ocean and I can swim and ride in a boat. And the fact that there is a creature lurking below that surface that really I knew nothing about and the fact that it could potentially hurt me terrified me and the fact that this thing was so big at least in the film it terrified me that I could be literally within feet of something that I don't even know it's there because it's under the water. And I just remember absolutely walking out of that theater saying oh my god I can't believe what I just saw. Can this happen. And. To this day no film has ever affected me that way. I'm Kirsten McCallion. I've written a few horror films. I worked on the Texas Chainsaw 3D movie and Exeter which came out just recently. The first movie to scare me would definitely be Jaws because I have not been swimming since without total paranoia. You know the Buie scene was pretty much reeled in and scarred for life. But that's great. Wonderfully scarred for life. Hi my name is Urgum Sumon Jay and I directed a film called my mother's songs and the first movie I ever saw that really really scared me freaked me out one night of the Living Dead back having to get to Barbara. Stop it. You're ignorant. Coming for you Barbara stumpage. You're acting like a child. They're coming for you I was one of them now. It was really scary because I was young and I think I was about I think about like 10 years old actually when I saw this film and I didn't speak any English. It was just visual for me. And obviously you know with my screaming out of it and I guess an impact on me and a really interesting part for me and why it really stuck out was me being from Tanzania as a kid I've always heard stories about zombies but they operate differently. So seeing them or seeing these types of zombies on the screen really freaked me out. So I like I always remember that film. Yeah I think what really got me was the whole like the zombies just walking really slow. That's just really freaky to me you know and I think that's part of the reason why I was really. Well that's what really made it really strong was the type of zombie. So in general it was just the zombie walking really slow and that just really freaked me out you know because it creates that intensity in you. And I think it was a lot more intensified for me because it was the first time I've ever seen a scary movie. My name is John Skipp codirector of tales of Halloween. The first movie that actually terrified me and drove me out of the room was Invaders from Mars. The original science fiction film from the 50s destroyed. When I was a little kid I had a terrible fever and the rats were crawling down the walls I mean I was hallucinating like a son of a bitch and they had to do the Jacob's ladder thing on me where they threw me into the bathtub full of ice cubes to break the fever before I like burned up. So I was terrified of everything but when I saw Invaders from Mars on a Saturday afternoon in Milwaukee Wisconsin and I would say in 1962 I was 5 or 6 years old. And what it was specifically was that if you went out to the back of town and were walking in the sand all of a sudden the dirt would suck you under and when you came back you weren't yourself anymore. And the main characters a little kid and is shot with this forced perspective and everything's like looking up everything's taller than him. From a policy standpoint I completely related. I felt like that little kid and it was the first time I realized if this movie was right I can't trust grownups I can't trust the people who I'm supposed to trust. And that was a really really terrifying thing. Rick. Capturing humans will pull their own sinister purposes. Turning them into diabolical instruments of destruction. My name's Andrew Cash. I'm codirector on tales of Halloween and never sleep again the Elm Street legacy. I had a lot of movies that scared the hell out of me as a kid but they were all like really scary moments in kids films like Disney movies and Return to Oz. And you know Raiders of the Lost Ark. But the first play out now for a movie that truly fucked me up was alien. So that when I was 10 years old I was really not prepared for it at all. I knew nothing about it. I didn't sleep for a week afterwards but it started in my whole lifelong obsession with monsters. Various creatures and moviemaking in general so you never forget your first alien is the perfect experiment in like visual audio or you know it's just a movie that fucks with your head in it has you scanning every inch of the frame and it's dripping with atmosphere and characters and has an amazing monster design and mythology behind it is just. Completely terrifying. And it taps into the whole Lovecraft thing thing the fear of the unknown and it's just to me it's the perfect horror movie. My name is Dante. Writer director from inferno productions I remember. Alien because your HBO Cinemax one of those two. And I was at my hands house. And it came on they showed like you know preview before the movie and I looked at it and I looked at my mom I all kind of watch it kind of watch it and she was always one of the people that when the guy would come out she would market there's nudity with profanity or violence stuff like that. Nope nope nope you can't watch that. She looked at me and she goes. Is there any nudity in this. And she's like No no it's just you know a creature movie more like a drama or anything like that. Is it OK for him to watch. Oh yeah yeah. Because I mean let you watch this and if you do I don't want to hear about it. Go mom I'm a man. I'm a man. So watch the movie. And at the end of the movie. She said All right it's bedtime and that's when it gets stone quiet in the room because I knew I had to go into a dark room by myself. And I was like pretty freaked out for a long time because I swear I could hear the alien crawling on the ground crawling through the ducks and stuff would come in to get a call of my name come to get me. But. I survived the night. So that was awesome. But after that that was one of those things where it's like I'm like these movies I mean always like the old horror movies and whatnot but they never had that type of intensity. And so as time went on I really got into like. Some of the more films. But like I remember the first time I saw the evil dead and I was an altar boy. And also growing up Catholic and just watching this movie I'm going to hell. It's not going to let us lay. We're not going to die we're not going to die we're going to get out of here. And it's been a great experience. And I think I will be a horror fan till the day I die. Leonard has been rocking tonight. I'm from Phoenix Arizona. I'm with the T.G. geeks podcast and the very first scene that really freaked me out. I must have been 8 or 9 years old and it was actually the James Whale Frankenstein. There is a scene right after the monster is actually up Dr. Frankenstein comes into the lab sees him standing there and they did a really scary film technique where they do these little quick close ups. Bang bang bang. So you see him almost you know half body up then you see shoulder up then you see face up and it's a clip clip clip like that and the way Boris Karloff was acting it with that makeup really as a child freaked me out beyond belief. I mean I literally ran out of the room into my bedroom. It just so terrified me. The very first thing that ever scared me in the films too I knew God monster. I am Keith lane I'm from Phoenix Arizona and I have a most memorable scary sequence and that was from the dark shadows movie and that was what 1970. Most of dog shot. Which. Is a. Way of. Life. Barnabas had taken the medicine that was supposed to cure him. And they flashed that close up of his face. My sister and I we were at the Ritz Theater which was finally known as the rats because the floor. Your feet stuck to the floor as one of those old vaudeville theaters converted to a movie theater. We were sitting on the second or third row and we ran half way up the hill when that flash school aiming like little girls well my sister was a little girl. So it was 1970. And I think the first film that scared me was in the 70s on Mazeppa Pumpa Zoids uncanny film festival and camp meeting at midnight. It was the midnight creature feature and it was a Dracula film and it was it. I curled up in the fetal position on the couch because I was the only one up watching the TV at that time. So that was those are my two Scarab scorable memory moments. More than a hundred years ago in a mountain village in Switzerland lived a man whose strange experiments with the dead. Have since become a major. Major still told with horror. Although I'm Nick Ravelo son the director of education and community engagement at San Diego Opera the first movie to really scare me was the first hammour film The Curse of Frankenstein wicked insane evil. Cold Frankenstein what you will a demon had made a man made monster. And. Now. A. Monster. Cost. Are seeking to lose. So far no differences have been disappointed to see. That you have. Trust. I was I believe eight and I didn't sleep for like two or three weeks but then it came out I think in the summer. So I was at summer school. I started drawing the creature over and over again. I sort of got used to it and got familiar with them and met sort of got me into horror I just enjoyed the scare the thrill it was really cool. But I. Stopped using the brain. Why is no use for it. All of the pretty creatures stuff that Peter Cushing as Dr. Frankenstein was doing in the lab. But the other thing was just the make up of the creature. It just scared me the image the icon. I mean I was sort of used to the old classic Frankenstein. I wasn't expecting matte makeup at all. It just did me in. Hello. My name is J.T. Seaton and I am the writer director of the peripheral. The first movie I remember scaring me was and it's probably going to be cliche but the original Halloween. A small American. Dream years ago I remember seeing the film and being so scared that when I went to bed that night I could literally see the outline of Michael Myers in my doorway and hear the breathing through the mask. That's how scared I was by that film. So that's my that's the first movie I remember really scaring me was John Carpenter's original when I was 8 years to read. And then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized that what was living behind the boys eyes was purely and simply he. Hello my name is Pablo Santos. And here we are a terrible imaginings FilmFestival and I'm a director of sche horror film the first film that scared me was The Thing by John Carpenter. But you know the kind of fear was pretty different. I wasn't afraid of those elements but somehow I felt so sad and desperate but somehow I wanted to watch it again and again. So it's like a complicated emotion. Actually of course I was very young. I was about 4 years old. Yeah but somehow I think I felt that human beings very fragile and can sometimes resist some supernatural things. So that was scary scary yes but of course the film itself even now you know sometimes you watch films like old ones and now they see him hilarious. Let's be honest. But the thing is still is still the best. I think Hi I'm Peter Thrasher and I'm a filmmaker here in San Diego and I remember Barbarella scared me when I was really little. I think my parents were watching it and I was hiding behind the couch. Come on untie me I'm going to call your parents. And I happened to see the scene where Jane Fonda was tied up by those little girls. And they brought those little dolls all those big teeth and they were like you know moving and yapping closer. I still dream about. I love that scene. I actually finally watched it a few years ago for the first time since I was a little kid. And it still scares me. OK. My name is Alfredo Morales San Diego filmmaker. The first thing that scared me. I think I was 9. And the first son that I were like really scared me was child's play. Jerry Chucky's back. A few years have passed and. How you've grown. Know your dad. An employee. This time. We get scared of Chucky like that was like my worst fear. Like it was. It got so bad to the point that mom had to go and ask the father to bless me so I won't cry about anymore. Right. And then after that. I didn't really get over it like I was still scared of Chuckie right. Chuckie is like one of the more uncanny looking monsters. Right. Because it's a doll right. But like dolls are so terrifying because they look like they could be alive but they're not. So they're like a corpse. But you give it to your kids and it's just so weird. The doll and then Chuck is like the one that talks. So it's just so freaky even like now like I'm still kind of scared. Like I mean I have the I've got the movies on DVD because I actually do like Chucky I like Brad DeGraff and everything. But like even now it came with a little like Chucky post poster. I have that poster facing the other way because I kind of don't like looking at it all the time. So it's still kind of there. So. Am I finally to make fun of me for that. All right. But Les I just don't like horror films. I just. Didn't like it at all. Like over time I just I started liking them and now I make car films. What did Chuck. I'm Kevin Walsh. I live in Burbank and I'm a horror fan and. Script reader and sometime writer. So the first film that I remember ever really scaring me believe it or not was the exorcist because I saw it way too young and I had heard of it. I was maybe 8 or 9 years old. I was at a friend's house and we were we were being babysat while our parents were out came on. And I said oh we should check this movie out. It's supposed to be scary. So it was me and uttered like nine year old and then a poor teenaged girl who was babysitting us. And shortly after we started the film we had the blanket laid on the ground with two peaks in it so that we could duck. And hide behind it. When things got scary. And the teenager was curled up tighter and tighter and on the couch. And I remember at one point we had to turn off the sound because she's McCambridge voice and it just terrified so much. So we ended up half watching it silently for the rest of the evening. And it just. Stayed with me since that's still the scariest movie ever seen here these. She became Hi my name is Gigi soldiered on and he had horrible imaginings in San Diego man the first film that scared me while I was always really afraid of all the covers that I would see a blockbuster in the whore aisle. I was so scared but the first film. That really scared me was of course the Exorcist. I was not allowed to watch it. But then in Mexico it came out again remastered. I must have been only 9 years old so I had new sound new color new scenes so my mom was like OK you want to get scared take you so you can shut up because I was banging her to take me. And she's like fine I'm going to take you. She took myself. My cousin we were little and yeah traumatized the hell out of me. I'm a huge believer in all that paranormal stuff. So that movie made a huge impact on me and. I don't think any film has done that to me since I've been scared I've scream I've squirmed but. Yeah no Xs wins 100 percent. There. Was one. Of those films or it was so creepy from the beginning and it was so slow and it was a slow burner. But the imagery. The dialogue Linda Blair I can see why her as a kid you went to a psychiatrist after what she did was. Insane. Like yeah traumatizing everything about the film is so scary. They cross that line you know. So. Yeah. I want to see more like that. My name is Jennifer McLeary and the first movie I was scared out was the exorcist. In that bed scene where her head turns out the shirt is there. It's close. What. I was about 7 years old and I was I was shocked. And I think it was one of those moments where I truthfully put my hands over my eyes and screamed. I had to watch it over and over again though later on even droit teenage years used to be like All right. I got to see that again. And I didn't think that priests could do stuff like that. It really made me think about probably my belief system in some form or fashion and that it made me stop and think that maybe maybe folks could actually be taken over by demons and that kind of freaked me out in a way where I wanted to search into that more which I still do to this day. My name is Amy Bosler I'm the executive director of the regional Emmys in San Diego and the first horror movie that I saw. I begged my father to take me to see The Exorcist because my older brother brother and sister had seen it and I was in second grade and pestering prevailed over good parenting. The pea soup kind of started it. The green bar even though my dad said oh it's just a special effect it's just pea soup. The bed shaking and everything like that really horrified me. I couldn't go to sleep without my dad sitting next to me for about two months. It didn't help that I shared a room with my sister my sister thought it was really funny to shake the bed and pretend like you know the devil was coming after us never seen it again. I don't think I could actually sit through it again because I think my reaction was just so strong. I don't think even though I know how much of his roommate I still don't think I could sit through it because just the emotions that it would bring up would be so strong. I don't think I could. I probably wouldn't sleep again for like another six months if I saw it again. And to go out here's director Guillermo del Toro his Gothic romance Crimson Peak just opened. He talks about being scared not by a film but by a TV show. Do not attempt to adjust the picture we are controlling transmission. What happened when I was a kid the first time I saw him the lasting image of horror was through a TV program called the outer limits. We will control the heart something we will control. We can roll the image. Make it plunderer after seeing the program. Unfortunately you aren't terribly my my brother. I peed on my bed and was actually my crib. And then after that night I started seeing monsters in my room. Every time I would see the monsters in my room I wanted to go up to the bathroom and I couldn't. So I ended up being in my crib. My mother started punishing me. One night I just stood in my crib and told the monsters in my room if they allow me to pee I would be their friend for the rest of my life. And that's how I fell in love with Munster's. Thanks for listening to another episode of listener supported PBS cinema Junkie podcast. Sorry I missed an episode earlier this month but it's October and I have to build a home haunt. And this year we're electrocuting somebody on death row and I'm way behind. Normally the podcast comes out every other Friday and I try my best to keep to that schedule. I will have a new episode coming up this month. All about witches. I will set the mood for Halloween. If you enjoyed this episode please leave us a review on iTunes. That's the best way for us to increase our audience. Or just tell a friend to take a listen till our next film Fixx Mbatha Komando your resident cinema Janco.
Cinema Junkie asks people about the first film they remember scaring them. Listen to memories from horror fans and some famous horror celebrities.
I spoke with filmmakers like "Fright Night's" Tom Holland, monster sculptor Mike Hill, and actors Lance Henriksen (of "Near Dark") and Tony Todd (of "Candyman") at Son of Monsterpalooza about the first films that scared them. The answers ranged from "The Thing From Another World" to "Rosemary's Baby."
I also interviewed filmmakers and attendees at Horrible Imaginings Film Festival where the younger crowd tended toward choices like "The Exorcist" and "Halloween."
But whoever I asked, and wherever I interviewed people, the answers always included vivid details and distinct memories. Take a trip with me into a darkened theater to recall what films people recalled as the first ones to scare them.
This is an archive show from 2015 with a few new voices thrown in to freshen it up.