There have been several moments in my life when I stop and think, “this is going to be great material for my therapist one day” (sadly, I don’t think that day will be for a while unless someone wants to fork over some serious cash). Aside from numerous Degrassi-worthy family issues, many of these moments occur while I’m either sunk deep inside a bacteria-infested movie theatre seat or curled up on my couch with my eyes glued to the TV. Films are supposed to provide entertainment, but I have been scarred for life by several of them. And, of course in typical Haley fashion, I have compiled a list of movies that have profoundly affected me in a negative way. Enjoy.
#1: Twister (1996)
I vividly remember seeing this movie for the first time. I must have been about 6 years old because my grandpa rented it right when it came out (on VHS, of course). We watched it in my parent’s bedroom when he was babysitting my siblings and I one night. I am completely serious when I say that this movie is the sole reason for the development of my intense childhood fear of thunderstorms and tornadoes and my current irrational fear of wind chimes. Ever since watching little Helen Hunt’s Dad be sucked out of the family storm cellar by a crazy cyclone I became deathly afraid of anything related to tornadic activity. I would obsessively watch the Doplar radar during storms and would freak out anytime I saw a thunderhead. The sound of the tornado siren through me into a panic and you could easily find me hiding in closets behind a barricade of pillows. Although I have calmed down a bit since then, I still have a heightened sensitivity to storms. However, this movie did provide me with the strangest answer to the age-old “what did you want to be when you grew up?” question. I wanted to be a weather man.
*Confused about the wind chimes? Watch the movie again. You’ll see.
#2: White Squall (1996)
Clearly, I had an issue with storms, but White Squall scarred me in a different way. Although scarring, this movie, along with Twister, is actually one of my personal favorites and I am usually the only in the room who has ever seen it (check it out, it’s legitimately awesome!). The film follows the supposedly “true story” of a school cruise that ran into a freak “white squall” and lost 6 people. There are two scenes in particular that had lasting effects on me, both occur during the sudden squall. [SPOILER] The first is when one of the boys gets stuck in the hull when the boat starts to sink. He can’t get out and is going to drown. Earlier in the movie he was told to count to three when he is having a nightmare and he’ll wake up, so he tries to do it now, “one, two, three, wake up! One, two, three, wake up!” It’s a horribly depressing and alarming scene as you realize (along with the poor kid) that he is not dreaming and is actually going to die. The second scene is when the captain’s wife, who apparently sleeps like a rock, wakes up to find herself sinking with the ship. She looks up through the glass ceiling of the captain’s quarters and waves goodbye to her husband who had been trying to break through and save her, to know avail. I can still see her through the glass, standing in her pajamas as she realizes what is happening. This film scarred me so much that I now refuse to ever sail in open water. Even though they go through great lengths in the film to explain that the white squall is a myth, Ridley Scott provided 2.5 hours of very convincing reasons not to take any chances. However, ironically, I spent last winter break sailing around the Caribbean in a 3-bedroom sailboat. In my defense, we stayed relatively close to shore and I made sure that I was near a porthole at all times–and knew how to open it. No storms at sea for me!
Side note: There is an awesome song by Sting during the credits of this movie. It is now on my iTunes.
#3: Funny Games (2007)
My family and I decided to see a movie together one night and wound up seeing this cinematic gem. To this day it is the most bizarre and unnerving film I have ever seen. Who knew the kid from Thunderbirds could be so dang disturbing? It was so psychologically scarring that I recall the woman sitting next to me spent the majority of the movie sobbing in the fetal position–I’m not kidding. She kept on mumbling things like, “no!”, “this can’t be happening”, and “oh my god!”. This film is so screwed up that I didn’t question it when at one point the homicidal psychopath spoke directly to me. Because of this movie I refuse to ever purchase a lake house. Or golf clubs. But, has that stopped me from telling everyone of my friends to watch it? Nope. I shamelessly plug it to anyone who is willing just so I can see them squirm. Seriously, check it out.
#4: Sophie Scholl: The Final Days (2005)
I watched this film this semester as a requirement for my class entitled “The Social and Intellectual History of Europe from 1780 to Today”. Despite the fact that it may have won the world record for the longest and most intimidating title ever, this course was actually the best course I have taken while in college. This movie in particular was my favorite of all the ones we watched and I found it truly inspiring. Sophie stood up against an evil regime for what she believed in, empowered by her Faith and her love for everyone. So, why was is so scarring? [SPOILER] Because the Nazi’s were so good at record-keeping, this movie is 100% historically accurate and based off of actual interrogation and court transcripts. Thus, if I was smart, I could have looked up and learned that Sophie dies, but I went into the viewing completely unaware. That being said, being the WWII history buff I am, I totally guessed she was going to be hanged or shot or something to that effect:
I couldn’t have been more wrong. The scene of her execution was so startling and unexpected and raw that my jaw literally dropped. I mean, come on, a guillotine? They used those? I thought they went out of style with Jean Val Jean and Sidney Carton. It took several minutes afterward for me to get my bearings and assess what actually happened. And that’s just it, it ACTUALLY happened. That’s why it is so scarring. To imagine how she must have felt when, only hours after her conviction, she was condemned to die and faced that bright, shining blade…it makes me shiver just thinking about it. The idea that atrocities like that happened everyday during WWII disgusts me. So, although the film left a horrific visual imprint on my mind, it is still a good reminder of the evil that humans (unfortunately, including myself) are capable of.
It’s amazing how much a movie can stick with you even years after you’ve watched it. There are several scenes I remember seeing as a child that I can easily picture in my mind today. Many of which I wish I couldn’t.
What movies have impacted you?