I’m one of those people who watches horror movies with the lights off while I’m home alone. I’ve thrown the popcorn a couple of times, but I’m a fan. It’s something about the thrill—the moment of anticipation that makes your whole body tense before there is a release with something jaw-dropping on the screen. There’s also the unsuspecting moments that pop out of nowhere and make the entire audience jump. I love the adrenaline rush they give. I’m weird because I enjoy being scared.
Although not as unnerving as today’s flicks, I enjoy the classics—Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Poltergeist. I sometimes laugh through slashers. I cling to a pillow through the supernatural tales. I live for a good “based on a true story.” And I’m not one of those people who doesn’t freak out during scary movies. I freak. I freak with the best of them. But I like it.
I marvel at ghosts, zombies, vampires, clowns, serial killers, and crazy ex-girlfriends, but there is one type of scary that I simply don’t mess with.
I don’t enjoy dolls. I get nightmares from dolls. I simply don’t doll.
There’s something about the floppiness of them and the fake bodies that always somehow become life-like. Mostly, I think it’s the shiny, unmoving eyes that stare into my soul.
There used to be one of those antique china dolls at my grandparents’ house. I was fully-convinced as a child that it moved on its own, and I remember staring at it with my cousin for minutes on end—too frightened to go near it, yet too intrigued to look away.
I think my fear is the result of childhood trauma.
My brother and sister used to make me watch Chucky when I was far too young to be watching anything scary. And then, they would get me really fired up and say that all toys are really alive and that they have minds of their own. It was the longest time before I would watch Toy Story. Anyway, to drive the nails in the casket, they would move my teddy bear around when I wasn’t looking and convince me it was alive and plotting to kill me. They were very twisted children.
To this day, I absolutely refuse to watch Chucky, even though I realize it’s more of a comedy than a horror film. But my horror-loving friends know of my phobia. Last October, one of my roommates and I watched a scary movie almost every single night of the month; two of them were doll movies (I was forced against my will). Like my siblings, he enjoys watching me squirm.
I recently went to one of America’s best Halloween attractions, Nashville Nightmare. It was utterly terrifying. I am not exaggerating when I say that I almost lost my voice from screaming so much, and I loved every second except for one little room; it was absolutely filled with dolls. All unmoving. All looking me in the eyes and waiting for the right moment to pounce, leading to my brutal demise. My friends basically dragged me into the next room because I could barely walk.
But last Halloween, I decided to swallow some bravery and become the thing that scares me the most. I went as a creepy puppet, terrifying cousin to a doll. A friend of mine did my makeup. I had strings and all. I stared off into space and sat in ridiculous positions for the entire evening.
I kind of became my own fear. In a way, I was facing it. And it was kind of liberating. I thought I was cured… until my roommates made me watch Annabelle for their own sick and twisted entertainment. I almost peed.