Sunday, July 25, 2010

April 3, 2009: Things That Scare Me: Case Study #2

In spite of (or, perhaps, because of) my adult infatuation with all things horrifying and horrific, I was scared of absolutely everything when I was a kid. A television commercial for a horror movie was enough to send me racing from the den in a sweaty palm panic. As an ongoing series here on Psychobabble, I'm going to be reviewing some of the things that most traumatized me as a child and evaluating whether or not I was rightfully frightened or just a wiener.

Case Study #2: Stranger in Our House (aka: Summer of Fear)

Following two super low-budget horror flicks that are now regarded as genre classics—The Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes— Wes Craven brought his schlock-shock vision to the small screen with a movie called Stranger in Our House (1978). The film starred Linda Blair as Rachel, a teenage girl skeptical of her cousin Julia (Lee Purcell), who has come to stay with Rachel’s family after her parents die in a mysterious car accident. As it turns out, Julia’s got some evil juju running through her and makes it her mission to cause trouble for Rachel and her kin.

I distinctly recall my mother watching this flick one afternoon when I was a kid. Initially, I was merely disturbed by the age-old concept of “I’m the only person who realizes you’re a monster and everyone else thinks I’m crazy.” But during the following scene, that sense of unease exploded into all-out terror.

The most frightening moment arrived after Julia is inevitably dispatched at the end of the movie. During the closing credits we see her reeling in sickening slow motion with those creepy contacts in her eyes. “Wait, so she’s not really dead?” I wondered, now having been introduced to not one but two deathless horror clich├ęs. Of course, she was dead. I just didn’t grasp the fact that the closing credits weren’t a continuation of the film, but a sort of recap.

The Verdict: About ten or fifteen years ago, I noticed that Stranger in Our House was being shown as a late night movie on TV, and I made sure to stay up and check it out to find out if it still packed a punch. What I saw was a cheap, crappily acted crap-fest with crappy special effects that wouldn’t scare a six-year old. Only they did scare a six-year old… me. Ergo, I was a wiener.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
All written content of is the property of Mike Segretto and may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.