Bucky and I have been trying to decide what to be for Halloween this year. Initially, I thought of “Predator” and “sex predator,” with Bucky in sort of a metallic dreadlocked wig, and me in a mustache with a combover, but we've kept brainstorming. Ideally, we'd like to include Pug in our costume decision, and Bucky suggested that we get an infant front-snuggling device for Pug so that he can be Kuato in Total Recall, the parasitic twin growing out of a man's stomach who also happens to be the leader of the mutant underworld.
“We'll strap him like this,” Bucky said, picking up Pug, whose front legs stuck straight out, slowly kicking like a turtle. “Look into your mind, Quaid.”
I didn't remember that much about Total Recall. The last time I saw it was when my parents rented it for us when I was eight, and we watched it last night as a costume refresher. A lot of memories came flooding back, and it was obvious that this is a movie no child should ever see. There were a lot of other movies I probably shouldn't have seen, major factors in me growing up to be the kind of adult who hides behind a door to scare her boyfriend, or stoops behind a couch long after it has become uncomfortable to grab at someone unsuspecting. This is how Sneiders show love, by scaring the living shit out of each other.
MOVIE: Total Recall
AGE VIEWED: 8 (1991)
SPECIAL FAMILY MEMORY: My mom turning to my stepdad after the scene with the lady with three breasts at the space brothel and saying, “Don't get any ideas.”
LASTING DAMAGE: 1. Fear that anyone could potentially have a psychic mutant growing out of their chest cavity. 2. The idea of a futuristic space woman with three boobs may or may not have made me gay. 3. Recurring nightmare of not having enough air as the world is exploding where I can feel my eyes popping out and my skin and hair falling off.
AGE VIEWED: 4 (1986)
SPECIAL FAMILY MEMORY: While the movie was still going, my mom went in my room, got two of my Popples, balled them up, and rolled them at my feet.
LASTING DAMAGE: I am always afraid that something that looks like a sea urchin with the face of a shih tsu will roll out from under a car and buzzsaw my legs with its teeth.
AGE VIEWED: 5 (1988)
SPECIAL FAMILY MEMORY: I was so scared, I kept leaving the house and bothering my dad while he was laying cement in the yard. I thought it would be over, but I kept coming back inside just in time to see scenes like when one of the mini-humanoids bites a man's tongue out of his mouth.
LASTING DAMAGE: 1. Fear of intimacy. 2. Fear of a creature bursting out of toilet while I am using it.
MOVIE: Night of the Living Dead
AGE VIEWED: 6 (1989)
SPECIAL FAMIY MEMORY: My mom loping out from behind our minivan and slow-chasing me down the street.
LASTING DAMAGE: Lifelong distrust of my own mother.
MOVIE: Puppet Master
AGE VIEWED: 9 (1992)
SPECIAL FAMILY MEMORY: My cousin Jamie, who was also nine, brought this over on VHS and watched it with my sister, who was seven.
LASTING DAMAGE: I can't take relaxing baths because I am afraid a creature with a drill for a hand is going to scamper into the room at bath-height and kill me.
MOVIE: Pulp Fiction
AGE VIEWED: 11 (1994)
SPECIAL FAMILY MEMORY: Screaming, “Oh, my God! What's happening?!” at the basement scene, and my mom's answer being, “If you don't want to see it, close your eyes.” Also, after that, when my parents would go in the attic to get things like Christmas decorations, they would make comments about “getting the Gimp.”
LASTING DAMAGE: 1. Fear of ever needing an adrenaline shot to the chest. 2. Continual lifelong inappropriateness and fear of basements.
I want to hear about the movies that have ruined you. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or friend me on the internet and tell me all about it!