"Once abolish God and the government becomes the God." -G.K. Chesterton

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Scariest Thing I Saw as a Child

In honor of Halloween, I was thinking back to my earliest memory of my life - the first time I went trick or treating. I was dressed as a farmer. Thirteen months old. I had a hat and overalls on, and possibly some type of prop which I carried. A rake maybe? Anyway, my babysitter took me to a few houses to knock on doors for candy. But that's not why I remember it. I remember it because it had been raining heavily that day, and a car full of teenagers drove by, splashing a huge puddle of water from the street to where I was standing. Needless to say, I got soaked from head to toe. Being just thirteen months old, it must have felt like a tsunami hit me. I'm pretty sure I cried and that was the end of trick or treating for the night. They say very few people can remember much before their second or third birthday, but I will always remember being drenched by cruel teenagers on a dark, rainy Halloween night dressed as a farmer.

But the scariest thing I remember as a child has nothing to do with Halloween. It has to do with the movies. I remember sitting in the theater watching the most horrifying visual I could ever imagine. So disturbing was this image, I couldn't wrap my head around it. I just knew it freaked me out. This image was so visceral, so iconic, I'm sure almost everyone is familiar with it. It's the camera shot of blood pouring out of an elevator and flooding the lobby from The Shining.

No, my parents weren't so thoughtless as to take me to see The Shining as a child. It was a trailer for the movie which ran before whatever movie they felt was appropriate for me to see. The Shining was not appropriate, although I stayed up late a few years later to catch it on HBO. But it was the trailer itself that scared the bejesus out of me, perhaps the greatest movie trailer ever made. Stanley Kubrick made a lot of uneven films, but when he was at the top of his game, he was a twisted genius. The schizophrenic music is pure artistry. It still makes my skin crawl, not as much as watching Pelosi's botox facial tics, but certainly a close second.

So in honor of Halloween some 30 years later, I've posted the original trailer for Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. Not nearly as effective on the small screen, but still a classic. Enjoy and have a safe weekend.

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