It's been years since I've seen the film, but I remember the general storyline, so I gave her a brief description. I told her it was far too scary for her and that it had some very adult scenes that I don't think are appropriate for an eleven year old. Still, she pressed on, asking me what part of the movie scared me the most. Without a doubt, I told her, it was the scene where Regan (Linda Blair) scrambles down the stairs on her back in a creepy fast crab walk. Even a still photo of that scene gives me the chills (which is why I chose to post a different photo).
She wanted to know what other movies were scary to me, so next, we talked about the movie Rosemary's Baby. As I've mentioned before, it made me terrified of my closet when I was a kid. I don't want to give away the plot if you've never seen it (although it came out in 1968, if you haven't seen it by now....), but the closet plays a pivotal role. My daughter asked me how old I was when I saw it and I had to admit I was probably about her age. In any case, I think it's a little much for her.
Around that age, I was also pretty scared by The Amityville Horror. I saw it at the theater with my parents soon after it came out in 1979. The red room in the basement of that house was truly terrifying to me, and it continued to be even after we got home. At that time, my oldest brother's bedroom was at the top of the stairs. It was painted a deep orange and had orange shag carpet (very fashionable in the 1970's). If the door was closed and the light was on in his room, an orangey-red glow could be seen on the hallway floor. It reminded me of the Amityville red room so much that I can still remember running up the stairs and past his room as fast as I could to get to my own. My daughter thought that was pretty funny.
As an adult, I told her that the one movie I couldn't finish watching was Hannibal. I liked the first film of the series, Silence of the Lambs, but Hannibal was far too disturbing for me. I started to give her a watered down version of the story, but she told me she didn't want to hear the rest. I can't blame her, I had to walk out of the room when we rented it years ago. To this day, I have no idea how it ends.
The only movie to give me nightmares as an adult was Fire In The Sky. I just couldn't shake the image of Travis Walton (D.B. Sweeney) being examined/tortured by aliens. Every time I closed my eyes, I would see that scene. Whether or not you believe this is a true story (supposedly it is), it's still pretty scary.
We started to talk about the movie It, but as soon as I said "evil clown", she didn't need to hear any more. I've always been freaked out by clowns and so has she. I told her she could watch a clip of It online, but she declined. Still, I posted it here. Tim Curry plays the role of Pennywise The Clown brilliantly. If this doesn't chill your blood, nothing will.
I told my daughter that I would try to think of a few scary movies that were appropriate for her. She's already seen some of Night of the Living Dead, but that's so goofy and cheesy (which is what I love about it) that it doesn't bother her. The only other movie that came to mind was The Others. To me, it's more mysterious than scary.
Since then, I think she's changed her mind about watching anything scary at all. On Sunday, Mr. W and I were watching an episode of The Most Terrifying Places in America on the Travel Channel and she asked if she could watch it with us. We said yes, so she came in and sat down. About 30 seconds into the first story, when they showed a reenactment of a ghost sighting, she suddenly remembered something she needed to do in another room. I guess The Exorcist will have to wait a few years.