Let's Talk "Scary" Movies
Halloween’s kind of weird, right? The dressing up is weird. The interacting with all your neighbors is weird. The fact that it’s a holiday for kids that takes place exclusively at night, is weird. For some, it’s the highlight of the year. That was Jenna, who remembers Halloween parties in her primo-for-trick-or-treating childhood neighborhood (there was that one guy who gave out KING-SIZED Kit Kats!). Other kids, not so much. Jayna still has pee anxiety from having to wear a very restrictive Ms. Pac-man costume for 8 hours straight (without a bathroom break).
As adults, neither of us really do Halloween. But the Jack-o-lanterns on stoops, Reese’s peanut butter pumpkins in New York bodegas (Jayna’s favorite—they’re have the perfect ratio of PB to chocolate) and stream of horror movies on TV all remind us that it’s that time of year.
So, in honor of Halloween, but in the spirit of Haystack Stories, we put together a little list of movies that scared the living shit out of us as kids. And no, we’re not talking about anything from the Friday the 13th series. These are specifically non-horror movies that inexplicably kept us up at night, no gore or ghosts involved. Why? Honestly we don’t know, but we bet we’re not alone in our terror. (Don’t even say the name Atreyu to Jenna.)
Lady & The Tramp (1955)
Just because it’s animated, and just because it’s Disney, doesn’t mean it’s not scary. According to Jayna’s parents, baby Jayna started howling along with the dogs who had been impounded during that one sad scene and could not be consoled. She never wanted to watch the movie again. In fact, it’s remarkable that she’s a dog owner today.
The Neverending Story (1984)
One word: Falcor. Actually, a couple more: rock monster, the Swamp of Sadness, giant talking turtle Morla, angelic Childlike Empress with her sickly reddish eye makeup. All of those things = Jenna having bad dreams for a good portion of her childhood. Honestly, how was this rated PG?
Forrest Gump (1994)
We can’t actually take credit for this entry. Jenna’s little brother is the one who was kept up at night by Lieutenant Dan’s war days. Of course, war is terrifying, but it still caught Jenna off guard when she had to console her brother over the movie that brought us, “life is like a box of chocolates.”
Return of the Jedi (1983)
You’re probably thinking Jabba the Hutt. Think smaller. The little sidekick creature known as Salacious Crumb not only co-starred in the movie’s gold bikini scene, he also starred in what remains the worst nightmare Jayna has ever had. In it, he was chasing her through a maze and when she woke up she almost puked.
Field of Dreams (1989)
This doesn’t quite count as a non-ghost movie. But the ghosts in this tearjerker are all relatively friendly, and all in human form (in one specific case, sexy human form). Still, remember the whispering “go the distance,” or “ease his pain.” Full. on. chills.
Neither of us really know why this made the list, other than that we both have a vague memory of people yelling and Dennis Hopper drinking too much, in possibly a very scary way.
Let’s work through our collective trauma together. Share your not-scary scary movie in the comments below!