Opinion: Scary movies

Commentary by Terry Anker

A few years ago, our oldest son asked to invite some friends over for his first gathering that was to include both boys and girls – at least since his elementary school birthday parties. This was to be a bit more of a social experiment. After all, they were, most of them, now freshmen in high school. So it seemed to them, time for a coed gathering.

The impetus for the event was as old as time itself, but the excuse was the Halloween holiday. Plans were made, invitations were meted out and snacks were carefully planned. But, one snag remained. The idea was to select a few “scary” movies for the night – yet the titles suggested by our progeny seemed both a bit gory and outside of the age-appropriate range for the audience to be assembled. After some consternation, we settled on three: The Creature from the Black Lagoon, Hitchcock’s The Birds, and the original Jaws.

The Creature fell flat – the rubber suited villain failed get the attention of the “high definition” audience. When the Birds flew in, expectations were low. But as the skilled director wove his story, the group came to know that real terror comes from what we imagine and not from overt blood and gore. When Jaws swam onto the screen, the kids had achieved their fill of fear. Good. A little scare goes a long way.

For his mother and I, the fear was of the transition from one moment in life to another. He and his friends had decided that classmates of the opposite gender were ideal scary movie viewing mates. Hmm. What is it that scares us? Should it? Are birds dangerous? Could they attack? Probably not, but it doesn’t hurt to keep an eye on them – much like a teenage coed movie party!

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