As part of a fantastic Christmas gift, Michael tracked down some contributors to my “My First Fright Series,” a series on my blog which I happen to love and which hasn’t gotten any contributors for awhile. In this series, which I started by writing about two of my earliest childhood fears, I ask other people to write about their earliest memories of feeling afraid. The results tend to be an interesting, surprising, eclectic group of terrors. So, before delving into my first Christmas Gift “My First Fright,” I’d like to extend a tremendous thank-you to my boyfriend, Michael, at My Comic Relief and today’s contributor, Bryan, of Hyperspace PodBlast, for a fantastic re-telling of a Star Wars related first fright.By Bryan L:
To be fair, I don’t really remember if this was the first time I was scared or even remotely frightened by something other than the traditional childhood fears like random boogiemen, creepy crawly things, or showing up to school without any pants on, but, since writing and talking about Star Wars is sort of my “brand,” I thought I’d regale everyone with my tale of being terrified by the film that started it all: A New Hope.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, “aww, poor wittle fella was a-scared of the big, bad Darth Vader.” (Insert derisive giggles here.) But, believe it or not, that wasn’t the case. In fact, all I can recall about Darth Vader is thinking he was supremely badass, albeit, you know, almost entirely evil. No, the scene in Episode IV that haunted me, causing me to turn my head on all subsequent views for years to come (and there were many, many subsequent views, let me tell you) was the moment that follows Luke Skywalker speeding back to his childhood home to find it deserted and belching smoke: there, almost out of their strange desert igloo, are the charred remains of his aunt and uncle.
The first time I saw the movie, I wasn’t prepared for something I found to be so graphic at such a young age, so I didn’t know I was about to be somewhat traumatized. I don’t recall perfectly, as I was barely knee-high to a grasshopper, but I imagine my reaction was much like that of Luke himself: I stared, blankly for an instant, not believing my eyes, then turned away, hoping to never have to see such a sight again.
Upon contemplating the reason this scene bothered me so much, I’ve come to the conclusion that it was, frankly, probably just because the burned skeletons are, simply, a scary thing to behold as a child. Thinking deeper, though, I’ve realized that maybe it was somewhat more layered than that. You see, I don’t remember being afraid of other movies with ghosts or ghouls, like the librarian in the original Ghostbusters, for example, so why did this affect me so much? Well, I think it’s due to the fact that Owen & Beru, a couple who had done absolutely nothing wrong (save agree to raise a boy that wasn’t even a blood relative that just happened to be the son of the galaxy’s most evil villain) were killed, savagely, and in cold blood just because they didn’t have the droids the Empire was looking for. That, my friends, is truly scary.
Okay, so, maybe that’s a copout, I don’t know, but it is legitimately one of the scarier things I can readily recall from my childhood. As far as the horror genre goes, though, I do remember flipping through channels when I was roughly 10-years-old and stumbling on a scene from A Nightmare of Elm Street where there’s a presumably dead girl (I think it was a girl, anyway) in a body bag in a high school. I’ve no idea what compelled me to continue watching said scene, but I ended up seeing enough of it that it caused nightmares for a few days, if not weeks. Also, for some reason, I don’t know if it was actually in the scene or if my mind just linked them together because I heard the song later that day, “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins would trigger the scene to replay in my mind…to this day, I don’t really care for Phil Collins, and I think at least part of that opinion stems from some of his music being coupled with an old, deep-rooted fear (additionally, some of his music’s just not very good, so, there’s that as well).
Anyway, I reckon that’s enough out of me. Hopefully you found this tale of terror interesting and/or enlightening. If not, well, you can get your refund in full by just closing your eyes and waiting for Freddy to show up – he’s the gross-looking guy with the knife fingers and classy, stripped sweater.