In celebration of Halloween, I thought it would be fun to talk about stuff that scares us. I’ll start.
I don’t recall what movie I was supposed to be watching but I sure as hell wasn’t watching it.
While at a drive-in movie theater with my parents, the screen next to the one we paid to watch was showing Child’s Play 2, a movie about a psychotic doll, Chucky, who terrorizes a family.
The moment I saw him come to life, I remember not being able to look away. And believe me, I wanted to. There he was, a doll, walking and talking, like some nightmarish Pinocchio. Seeing him on screen was hypnotizing.
Even though I couldn’t hear what was being said—again, I was at a drive-in theater—I could see Chucky perpetrating heinous and terrible acts; a murder here, a stabbing there. Suffice to say, I found him to be terrifying.
Here’s an astonishing clip of Chucky’s angriest moments from Child’s Play 2. Holy crap! It’s easy to see why the malevolent doll had such a profound impact on my 5-year-old psyche.
I soon began to think that maybe Chucky’s existence was retribution for getting in trouble at school or disobeying my parents; I silently vowed to never act out again. (That promise didn’t last long. Sorry mom!)
Forget the boogeyman, it was Chucky, a freckled, red-haired doll that was the stuff of nightmares. Just look at his face! So full of rage and hate. An evil, murderous, violent doll who wanted nothing more but to inhabit the body of little Andy Barclay. He wasn’t much older than I was when that movie came out.
Perhaps it was the familiarity of Chucky that I found so scary. What little boy didn’t want a doll like him? After that day, I never looked at my collection of G.I. Joe the same way. Imagine going from Jim Henson’s Sesame Street to watching Chucky wielding a knife.
All these years later, I still wonder why Child’s Play 2 was showing next to whatever family movie my parents took me to see. Thankfully, I’ve gotten over my fear of Chucky and realize how absurd he is.
But I’ll never forget watching him at the drive-in theater, ripping his hand clean off after getting it caught in a gate.
What’s your first memory of seeing a scary movie?