Do you like scary movies?

I LOVE scary movies. They’re my favourite kind, in fact. Not gore movies, you understand. I’m not keen on blood and guts and all that kind of thing, but give me a creepy old house with a mysterious secret and I will be ALL OVER IT like a particularly bad rash.

(The “mysterious old house with a dark secret” thing is my favourite fiction genre too, as Terry’s holiday journal from last year testifies.)

The thing about that, though, is that I’m an absolute baby about scary movies. Sure, I’ve gotten better over the past few years, probably because I’ve seen so many of the things now, but from time to time I will still end up scaring myself silly in the name of entertainment. And it turns out that this week was one of those times.

“You know,” I thought to myself on Friday night, “I don’t think I have enough on my plate this week, what with the impending holiday, the two months worth of content I still have to write before I can leave, the non-stop fighting with people who keep stealing my work… Why, I think I will add a good dose of Scaring Myself Stupid to the burden I have to carry right now!”

And so it was that Terry and I watched Insidious.

(NOTE: I’ve put the rest of this post under a jump because there may be spoilers. I’ve done my best to be vague, and I don’t think I’ve given too much away, but if you’re planning to see the movie, you may want to avoid this one.)


We had planned to watch Insidious on Friday night, but as it turned out, the universe had decreed that I would spend that night trying to have two illegal copies of my website removed from the internet and having a meltdown all over Twitter. (Can you tell I’m still not over that, by the way? Because I’m not.) So I scheduled in the Scaring Myself Stupid for Sunday night instead.

To be honest, I wasn’t particularly scared while I was watching the movie. Sure, there was some super-creepy imagery, and a few good jumps, one of which took a couple of years off my life, but nothing to give me any real cause for concern.  I was a bit dissapointed, to be honest. Everyone I know seemed to be declaring this to be the SCARIEST! MOVIE! EVER! and I thought that if NORMAL people thought it was scary, I would probably wet myself or something at the very least. And, you know, that would’ve been awesome.

But nope, we watched the whole thing, and I felt absolutely fine. “Maybe I’m growing up at last?” I mussed, as I took off my makeup and got ready for bed, noticing as I did so that the house felt a bit too warm.

“Is the heater still on downstairs?” I asked Terry, who was already tucked up in bed. (Because, yes, we’re still having to switch the heater on from time to time to take the deathly chill out of the air. In May.)

“No idea,” said Terry. “Why don’t you go downstairs and check?”

And that was when it hit me. I couldn’t go downstairs to check because I was completely and utterly terrified.  Of my own house.

“You go!” I shouted to Terry, and dived under the covers, being very careful not to let my feet get too near the bed, because, you know, MONSTERS.

That night I woke up and was too frightened to walk along the hall to the bathroom. I did it, but once there I realised I’d made a rookie mistake, for now I was trapped in the bathroom, and, if I opened the door, I knew what would be standing there.

THAT FREAKING OLD WOMAN WOULD BE STANDING THERE. With her stupid veil and her big dead face, OMG.

Well, I waited it out for a while, and then I did the only sensible thing, under the circumstances:

I closed my eyes, wrenched open the bathroom door and then ran along the hall and into the bedroom (still with my eyes closed), performing another running jump when I sensed I was close to the bed, and pulling the covers over my head as soon as I was in.

Then I lay and imagined that old woman standing by the bed, watching me, and I wished I was dead.

The next morning dawned and, in the cold light of day, my night terrors seemed pretty stupid, really.  So Terry headed off to the gym, and I settled down at my desk to do some work. I’d been sitting there f0r maybe twenty minutes or so, and was just about to get up and go have a shower, when there was a sudden THUD from downstairs.

Instantly, I realised what had happened.

THAT OLD WOMAN HAD GOTTEN INTO THE HOUSE AND WAS, EVEN NOW, ON HER WAY UP THE STAIRS TO KILL ME, GOD.

My desk is right next to the office door, which is always open, and which has a view of the dark, creepy stairwell. I gazed at it, transfixed with horror. Any second now, I would see THAT FREAKING OLD WOMAN come gliding up the stairs, her eyes glinting with pure malice. Oh, how I wished I’d died in my sleep!

I sat there for a few minutes, frozen to the chair, wondering what would kill me: The Fear or The Old Woman. I didn’t want to look at the stairwell, but I couldn’t look away, either, because obviously the second I took my eyes off the stairs, that’s when she’d appear. So I jumped up, ran into the bathroom and locked the door behind me. It was the only thing I could think to do.  And I HAD been planning to have a shower, so…

“Are you freaking kidding me?” said Rubin, from the other side of the door. “We’re in a horror movie, and YOU decide to go and take a shower? Have you even SEEN horror movies? You NEVER go into the bathroom, dude. And you definitely don’t want to go near the shower! If you make it out alive, maybe you could go and check out the basement next?”

Except he didn’t, on account of that whole “being a dog” thing. And we don’t have a basement. But I know it’s what he was thinking, because I was thinking it, too. Once again, I had made a mistake that could cost me my life. And now I would be trapped in the bathroom until Terry came home, because, once again, THAT OLD WOMAN would be standing in the doorway if I opened it.

I had my shower. Luckily we have a glass screen rather than a shower curtain, because I think a shower curtain would’ve killed me. (Literally, I mean. It would’ve become possessed, wound itself around my helpless body, and tried to suffocate me. I’ve seen it happen in the movies, believe me.) Even so, every time I closed my eyes (which I sometimes do in the shower, in the manner of a woman in a shampoo advert), I would become paralysed with fear thinking that as soon as I opened them again THAT OLD WOMAN would be there.

It was a miserable shower, really.

Anyway, Terry came home, the old woman didn’t appear and all was well, except for the fact that when Terry was having his shower, the bathroom door mysteriously opened itself, and when I tried to sleep that night, I found I was once again paralysed with fear.

I haven’t really slept since. And it’s all because of HER.

 

33 Comments

  • jasmine says:

    OMG! I’m just as chicken and this is why I NEVER watch scary movies. Now after reading this post I’m all nervous and jittery. Best part of this post… the end when I clicked on the link for HER! I ran around turning all the lights on in the house (which I’m sure everyone else in the house appreciates at 5:45 am). Extremely nervous bladder. Thank you, Amber! Off to a great start this morning.

  • Tanvi B says:

    Oh, god. THAT’S what happened to me when I saw Exorcist. And, you know, I slept in my brother’s room the ENTIRE YEAR. On. The Floor. Oh, did I mention he’s teenager? Yes, the myth of smelly dirty socks and large dust bunnies? All too real.

  • Sandy says:

    I love scary movies too…and I really want to see Insidious at the cinema but I know I’ll have to wait until DVD…or even Sky!

    I do the same though…I’m the last to bed in my house so have to lock up, turn of lights etc, the landing light can be on but when I turn off that last light downstairs I have to rush calmly (?!!) upstairs…and then I think to myself that a psycho/zombie/fiend will then grab my legs through the slats of the bannister!

    Then, when I’m safely in bed I imagine someone/thing has been hiding in the loft room and is now going to come down the lights are off!

    And now I’ve just scared myself silly which is especially stupid as hubby is working away for a few days! (Hence why I’m not doing any clicky clicky on your “her” link!!!)

    Actually..I’ve been known to scare myself in the daytime about zombies etc…I think I’m on my own a bit too much! LOL!

    • Then you really shouldn’t read “The Zombie Survival Guide” by Max Brooks… It sounds like a survival guide, and it is. But it’s written so realistically that it gives the reader the absolute creeps, even if the book itself is filed under “Humor”. My brother gave it to me to read, and although I really love zombie movies, it fucking scared me on the first pages already. I’m not even sure if I’ll completely read it, and I LOVE scary movies! :-)

      • Sandy says:

        I’ve read that book! I’ve got lots of zombie/apocalypse books….love reading them…they just scare me silly as I seem to have a thing about zombies. Slow shuffly ones I can cope with (you can zip round them before they notice that you’re dinner) but it’s these modern fast ones that I’m not keen on. Quiet often after being engrossed in a zombie book I’ll re-emerge wondering which bits are real.

        Here’s one to keep everyone awake…do you ever sit in a room with closed curtains (at night) and convince yourself that if you open them someone will be pressed up against the window looking in!??! Just me then!?!? LOL

        • Amber says:

          Oh yes… Although my real fear with stuff like that is that I will see something reflected in the glass, standing in the room behind me, but invisible to the naked eye. This is also why I refuse to look in mirrors at night.

          I don’t really get scared by zombies, monsters etc – I think most of the time they just look so obviously fake in movies that my brain refuses to be scared by them. But give me something subtle, like a door creaking open in the middle of the night (Paranormal Activity scared the crap out of me, needless to say) and it will absolutely terrify me, because even although I don’t actually believe in ghosts, I can still somehow imagine it happening. And now I’m scaring myself all over again :)

  • Kerry says:

    Oh my gosh this was INTENSE! You made me scared just reading it Amber!

    I was thinking ‘oh no, the old woman is going to get Amber! What if she IS coming up the stairs?’

    Then I realised that you wrote a blog post and are therefore quite clearly alive.

    On another note, your reminder of Terry’s holiday journal made me laugh and I read the whole post again. It was hilarious the first time and still just as good now. Can he do one for this holiday too, please please please?

  • LOL! I can’t stop laughing. You are hilarious!! Ok, now I like the scary kind of movies, too, even the gory kind. Maybe I like the gory kind even more, because that is mostly so wide out there, it’s not realistic enough to make me scared.
    BUT the exact same thing happened to me after watching The Ring and The Grudge. Oh dear. I was totally terrfied of my bathroom in the dark. By that time, I lived alone (in a shared apartment, but with someone I hardly knew or saw), and the reflective surfaces of the tiles (The Ring), and the water (The Grudge, also Dark Water!!) and the darkness (all of them) made me almost wait for that noise from The Ring… And that girl standing behind the shower doors. Ugh!! As I moved, I made a pact with myself to not let that all happen again in the new house, and so far it didn’t. But I did stand before the bed in the dark recently, thinking about something or maybe listening if that sound coming from the heater is normal or if I should go check on it. And then I thought if my boyfriend wakes up now and sees me there, motionless, he must think he’s right inside Paranormal Activity where she’s standing in front of the bed absolutely still for 3 hours (CREEPY!!). And then I had another revelation, which thankfully didn’t scare me. I was in the basement in our laundry room and was about to go upstairs. I had already switched the lights off and took another glance around the room. And then I noticed a sound coming from the rearmost corner of the room. A faint scratching noise, almost like the one from The Ring (no, seriously). But I’ve heard that one before: It was from the gas meter or water meter. And so I just thought “Oh, that’s what probably inspired them in the movie” and went upstairs. Proud moment :-) But then again, I’m a psychologist, and that is what we are all about: Cognitive Restructuring of irrationally fear-inducing thoughts ;-)
    Oh, and I looked at your lady friend… She’s really scary. Also, don’t worry about my horror movie consumption rate… I just have the mind of an elephant :-)

    Relatable Style

    • Amber says:

      People always laugh at me for this, but The Ring is the scariest thing ever to me. For weeks after I watched it, I would imagine Samara standing at the bottom of the bed… it just had some of the creepiest imagery ever. Haven’t seen The Grudge (or I don’t think so, anyway, but they all start to blend it at some points!) but will add it to my list!

      • Cookie says:

        I watched The Ring in an old movie theater, with maybe 4 people in it. Two of those were me and my then-beau. He walked me home, through badly lit streets, and a silent city… and when I got home, to my bed.. there was the TV. Right at the foot of my bed. Just…staring at me. So creepy.

        And naturally, I will have to go watch Insidious now, you do realize that, right? The first chance I get, that is. I can never get enough of scary movies, be they gore or just plain creepy.

        • Amber says:

          I was terrified of TVs and phones after The Ring. If the phone had rung after I finished watching it, I honestly think I’d have died!

          Actually, a couple of weeks ago, our TV switched itself on while Terry was walking past it. He was fine, I couldn’t be alone in the house for the next week without thinking Samara was coming to get me…

          • Cookie says:

            Uh, that used to happen to us all the time in the house I lived in with my parents.
            My mother thought (and I believe she still does) that there are evil spirits in the house.
            Because the fact we were living right underneath power lines and the dog might have stepped on the remote or just that there was something wrong with the TV wiring is such an unbelievable explanation.

          • Mana says:

            My husband called his niece (only a few years younger) from his cell phone after he watches the ring with her. She slept with her mum for a week after.

    • Leigh says:

      Oh, man, The Ring. When I saw that, my friends and I made the mistake of renting it on VHS. Then we realized that that meant we had sort of seen the tape. Then the phone rang shortly after the movie was done, and we all lost about seven years off our lives from fright.

  • Laura says:

    Ghost films are an absolute no-go for me. I had a bad experience from reading a book of supposedly ‘true’ ghost stories when I was about 10. Crimewatch is also pretty disturbing as going-to-bed-soon watching. I always feel like someone’s watching me through our patio doors (we don’t close the curtains on them). We live next to a cemetery too, which isn’t the greatest of comforts on dark, windy/rainy nights.

    I was listening to my mp3 player to get to sleep the other night when ‘dirge’ by death in vegas came on. It’s quite a beautiful song, but it made me as paranoid as hell that someone was going to sneak up the stairs whilst I was listening and kill me. I don’t have high hopes for living on my own. I’m going to need a lot of door locks…

    • Amber says:

      See, I just can’t have the curtains open at night. I’d spend all my time staring at the window, convinced I was about to see someone. Then again, keeping them closed doesn’t help much either, because then I just know the person is there and I just can’t see them. Aaargh!

  • Cristina says:

    The exact same thing happens to me when I watch any type of scary movie. Which is why I try to avoid watching them at all. Except that if I come across a scary movie already playing, for example flicking to one on the TV, then I’ll be compelled to watch it, even though I know I’ll be regretting it later. Same with picking up other people’s ghost-sighting stories. I know it means I won’t be getting any sleep for the next few days, but I just have to hear it.

    • Amber says:

      It’s a strange one, isn’t it? You know you’ll probably regret it later, and yet somehow you just can’t stop yourself watching! I was actually really looking forward to this one, too – I’m a glutton for punishment!

    • Cristina says:

      Egh. I actually wanted to write this first, and them promptly forgot about it. When trying not to be scared by scary movies, I find my film degree comes in really handy. I start taking the movie apart. “How’d they do the makeup for that?” “If I was the actor playing the bad guy, I would have had so much fun shooting that scene.” “How many generators would it have taken to light that abandoned cabin?” It helps me to not get so wrapped up in the fear.

  • Abby says:

    I slept with the lights on for two days after watching paranormal activity…that one scene still haunts me..

    P.s- I shouldn’t have looked at the picture…breeee

  • Sarah says:

    Why did I click the link?! The advert they show for Insidious scares me, there’s not a hope of me watching the film! I do exactly the same as you though, I made my boyfriend stand outside the bathroom door after we watched Candy Man because I couldn’t go on my own

  • Toni says:

    Oh, I empathise so much with this! I’m a huge fan of the genre, but a couple of years ago I decided I was going to have to stop watching scary/spooky/anything containing religious imagery movies FOR MY SANITY after I watched the Ninth Gate and literally spent three nights wide awake imagining a certain scene from the movie. Plus those types of movies are usually big fans of the omigod-someone-is-in-the-mirror reveal, and I’m already terrified of mirrors (the one in our bathroom is actually taped over with a binbag and packaging tape, I’m so scared of it), so, yeah. I tend to avoid them now, but I occasionally miss those types of films and then remember that while I may not be scared while watching them it will come back to haunt me when I least expect it. Probably literally.

    Now I just watch movies like Bratz instead. I’m not sure if this is a good or bad thing.

    • Cookie says:

      ohh my house is full of mirrors. There is naturally, that old folk saying that a mirror has to be perfectly clear in order for anything to pass through it, so a small sticker in the corner was suggested in order to make it impassable ;) Otherwise ANYTHING can get through.

  • Anna says:

    Wow, that sounds just like me! I love scary movies, but they totally terrify me. I’ll see one, then get paranoid and jumpy for like a week after.

    • Anna says:

      And for some reason, after reading this, I thought that it would be a good idea to rent Insidious. I will never sleep again. That old lady is coming for me.

  • Mia says:

    Wow I REALLY wish I hadn’t opened that link! Now I know why you were scared!

  • Nikki G says:

    I saw Insidious the weekend when it came out in the US, and I thought it was creepy and freaky until they started explaining what was wrong with the little boy, and then it just got silly. I was way more disturbed by Paranormal Activity, but Paranrmal Activity 2 sucked. The worst I have ever been scared over a movie comes down to the Excorcist or Stigmata. I get creeped out just thinking about those movies.

  • Minka says:

    I totally know how you feel… I haven’t seen Insidious (though, I’m tempted), but I am a sucker for these kind of movies. And I always regret watching them afterwords. The Ring is probably THE SCARIEST MOVIE EVER, I wasn’t able to sleep properly for weeks! Also Paranormal Activity freaked me out properly. I don’t know what it is about these films, they always draw me in – I want to see them, although I know I will be scared as hell for days!

  • Kirsty says:

    Loved this post. I saw Insidious a couple of weeks ago and was fully prepared to be terrified; whilst the beginning had lots of jumpy parts by the end I was thinking that it was so terrible I definitely wouldn’t be scared that night- how wrong was I! Everytime a noise/my imagination creeped me out I tried to remind myself of who bloody awful the film was but it didn’t help!

  • Cookie says:

    In my opinion nothing compares to a good scary movie or the tingling frights and paranoia you get after it. Or when someone tells you a scary story. When I was 10, my grandfather told me about aliens in the sky and UFO sightings and I wouldn’t look up at the night sky without him near for a year because I was too scared I might see one.
    But now, when I get those frights, I do what Miss Susan (Sto Helit, from Pratchett’s Discworld) recommends: Don’t get scared, get angry.
    No stupid ghost or monster or crazed killer will get the best of me! My education was in part in folklore, so I pretty much know how to get rid of most of the usual ghosts and ghoulies and monsters, and I doubt a crazed killer could get passed my anti-burglar doors full of iron and steel and tricky locks, and if they tried to get in through the balcony they would be immediately spotted by at least 5 CCTV cameras and several Security officers from the company stationed in our building. So there, safe as safe can be.

    But don’t you think that Rubin would be able to protect you from just about anything? After all he is the Big Bad Wolf and I’m sure that any monster would be terrified to death of him!

  • Ana says:

    OMG, I shouldn’t have click on the link to see HER!!! Now I wont sleep!! I’m terrified of any type of scary movies. Specially the ones with spirits. When I went to watch The Sixth Sense, I had no clue what the movie was about it and than I could not sleep for two weeks. I was afraid to close my eyes and then open and see somebody watching me. Just to think about it gives me the chills.

  • I just saw Insidious yesterday. I had since forgotten the name of the movie this post was about, but not THAT OLD WOMAN! Instantly reminded me of this post after 6 months! (Note to self: Include horror pictures in blog posts more often. They make for memorable content) That movie was pretty creepy. I may or may not been able to go into the basement alone after that to do the laundry…

    [The next sentence may be a mild spoiler, although I try not to make it one]… The actual walking distance to the solution was pretty short, no? No wonder the whole thing happened! [possible spoiler end]

  • Sarah-Jane says:

    I watched Insidious with my sister a few months back, thinking “We’ve watched scary stuff together before, I’ll be fine! She loves me, she’d never mislead me!” Ha. Haha. No. I was fine during the movie, but as soon as it was over, my sister pulled the “it’s late and I have to get up for work tomorrow, so go home to your COMPLETELY EMPTY HOUSE” card, to which I refused outright. Only after calling my home to ensure that my brother was finally home – making him promise to turn on all the lights before I got there – did I leave. And when I got home, guess what? He hadn’t turned on the lights.

    My family is trying to give me a terror-induced heart attack…

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