The First Scary Movie I Watched

It’s almost Halloween and movie theaters are full of scary movies. It made me think about the first scary movie I ever watched and, of course, I wondered what was the first scary movie the other Wickeds remembered watching. So what did you watch? Where did you watch it? Who was with you?

Sherry: I think I was in second grade when I saw The Ghost and Mr. Chicken with Don Knotts. We were in a little town in Iowa visiting friends. The movie theater on the quaint Main Street had a morning movie on Saturdays. Our parents dropped us off with money for tickets and snacks. My sister and I sat down and mayhem broke out around us. Kids were throwing popcorn, crawling under the seats, and yelling. It was like a scene out of a movie in itself. Things quieted down a little when the movie started. But the movie with its creepy organ music scared me!

Liz: Oh my goodness, Sherry – The Ghost and Mr. Chicken was one of my favorite movies ever! I remember seeing it on reruns all the time as a kid and I loved it so much. I don’t know if this qualifies as a scary movie, but I remember as a little kid sneaking in to the living room where my dad was watching Phantom of the Opera, and the mask thing scared the bejesus out of me! I think I got in trouble because I wasn’t supposed to be watching…

Edith: I’ve never heard of The Ghost and Mr. Chicken! Because my over-active imagination journey-to-the-center-of-the-earth-movie-poster-1959-1020451848pretty much ruled my life as a child (my mother wouldn’t let me watch “Twilight Zone” because it gave me nightmares), lots of things scared me. I remember watching Journey to the Center of the Earth at a young age and being terrified by a scene where someone throttles a pet chicken. (Ahem – memories might be hazy.) And I’m sure that isn’t considered your basic scary movie. But there was a malevolence in the man’s act that really upset me.

Jessie: When I was in first and second grade my father used to travel occasionally on business. When he did so my mother used to let me stay up and watch movies with her. I remember watching The Seven Dials Mystery based on the Agatha Christie novel. It scared me but it intrigued me too. I think it may explain my career choice!

Barb: I’ve written before about my grandmother taking me to see Murder, She Said when I was eight. Though it’s not a horror movie, and is much more comedic than the original Agatha Christie novel, it scared the stuffing out of me. I think it was the atmospherics of the lighting of the black and white film–plus I was way too young for it. But just like Jessie–a career was born.

Julie: I hate scary, scary movies. But when I was a kid, Channel 56 had the Creature Double Feature. My sister Kristen, our friend Holly, and I watched it all the time. Horror movies from the 1930’s to the 1950’s. I specifically remember Claude Rains in THE INVISIBLE MAN. Not sure why that one stuck with me–probably it was Claude Rains. That and FRANKENSTEIN stick out in my mind as my first scary movies.

Readers: Did you see a scary movie when you were a kid?




40 Thoughts

  1. I loved The Ghost and Mr. Chicken and the Creature Double Feature! I specifically remember a movie they played on the Creature Double Feature called Konga about a chimpanzee that became a giant ape and terrorized people – poor chimpanzee!

  2. No, I don’t remember any scary movies when I was a kid. I do remember my friend being so scared of the monkeys in the Wizard of Oz that she ran out of the theater in tears! I also do not remember any chickens in Journey to the Center of the Earth, but then my memory isn’t what it used to be.

  3. I remember being scared by “The Forbidden Planet.” Probably before your time, Sherry. I was always scared of movies where people turned into scary things.

  4. Yes. When I was a kid I watched The Exorcist while at a friend’s house and have never recovered.
    I also remember torturing myself watching those Freddie Kruger movies. That was a long time ago. I don’t watch those kinds of movies anymore. Life is scary enough.

    1. Freddie Krueger was my absolute favorite. I had a door-sized poster of him and dressed as him on multiple Halloweens….yes, I’ve got problems! 🙂

      1. I had a door sized poster of him too!! But I got it hoping that it would quell my fears …you know, from familiarity and all that. Well, it didn’t work. I had a dream I was walking to work in Manhattan (NY) listening to my Walkman (remember those?) with my headphones blaring and when I turned the street’s corner he was standing there. He called me a B—-h, and then slapped me! I woke up scared out of my wits with that poster staring back at me with that smug look on his face. I tore it down. Been more scared of him than ever. True story.

  5. I wasn’t allowed to watch scary movies as a child and still don’t care for them. But when I was ten years old my aunt Deedie took me to a theater in Boston which showed WW II newsreels. I saw the film of what the troops found at Auschwitz. That horror haunts me to this day.

  6. The Birds, when I was eleven. Last week I was in the town where I’d seen it (with a friend, thank goodness), and they’d torn down the movie theater. (You remember those–small local ones, not giant multiplexes?). I can’t say I was sorry it was gone. I still remember the shot in the movie of the guy whose eyes . . . Well, you can guess.

  7. I wasn’t allowed to watch the television show Rescue 911 as a child because it scared me so badly my mom would be up half the night trying to calm me down. I would also make myself very scared reading the Bobbsey Twins… However there isn’t a lot that scares me as an adult. Edith, I think you nailed it. My over-active imagination as a child allowed me to create very scary scenarios based off the things I saw, read and heard.

  8. When I was young ( just turned 60) I went to see The Exorcist, and I had to leave. No one could understand why….I was just too scared

  9. i remember watching ‘The Blob’ as a child and being so scared by it. i thought it would slide under my bedroom door! Needless to say i do not like scary movies. I must have been about 8 when I watched it in the middle of the afternoon.

  10. So now you can all start laughing at how easily scared I was as a kid. I was 9 when the George C. Scott version of A Christmas Carol premiered to TV, and Jacob Marley in it gave me nightmares. I’d just get over it, and then we’d watch it the next Christmas. Actually, it was more thinking about it while lying in bed waiting to go to sleep than actual nightmares once I was asleep.

    Of course, now I’ve graduated to some of the more famous slasher films, which I have a love/hate relationship with. Except for Scream. I just love the Scream franchise, including the TV show (two hour event for it next week!)

    1. No need to feel bad — the Mr. MaGoo version scared me. I was easily scared though! I’ve always been to scared to watch the Scream movies — see you aren’t such a chicken after all!

    2. I’m laughing just a little… But not at you Mark… with you! Just teasing. As I said before, Edith got it spot on. I think the fact that it scared you speaks to your strong imagination. I would come up with the craziest scenarios as a child laying in bed trying to fall asleep. I imagined “the bad guys” had a device that would silently cut a hole in my window and then they could reach their hand in and unlock it and climb right in and get me. I had an entire plan including an escape route that I would go over and over until I drifted off to sleep. I was also positive a homeless man lived in the back of my basement and he would come and go and eat food in the kitchen during the day while I was at school. He always made sure to be back downstairs again before anyone came home. Imagine the fight my mom had when the tornado alarm sounded and we had to go down in the basement…. This sounds so insane but I guarantee I’m not the only one who thought up wild ideas like this!

      1. Love this! I had to sleep with my closet door completely closed (okay, okay, I still do) and I slept on my stomach so I’d get stabbed in the back (which somehow seemed less scary than being stabbed in the stomach) when I was a kid!

  11. The Ghost and Mr Chicken is still one of my favorite movies. I dont really consider it scary though, lol. We would watch The Big Show every day after school and on the weekends. They played shows like The Blob, Godzilla, The Pod People and the one where those tiny people lived in the fireplace and took a straight razor to people’s feet in the bathroom. I loved Night Gallery too. I used to sleep with the covers up to my neck to headhunters would think my head had already been cut off, lol

      1. The Big Show was a local thing that played those B- movies every weekday and Saturdays. it came on at 3pm as soon as I got home from school. loved that show. Amityville still scares me. Cant even look at houses with those pig eye windows, lol. I could listen to the organ music from the Ghost and Mr Chicken all day and night. Oh and the music from the Exorcist too – Tubular Bells is the best 🙂

  12. The first scary movie I remember, and it wasn’t supposed to be a scary movie, is “Old Yeller”. I was about 8. I cried so hard when Yeller died that my mom had to take me out. I had nightmares about being chased by rabid dogs for years after that. I finally stopped having the nightmares and then I read “Cujo”. The nightmares returned full force. I love the genuine horror films, though — the classics with Karloff and Chaney and Lugosi and Price. Can’t stand what passes for horror in most of today’s movies, but those old ones — LOVE them.

    1. I’ve never seen Old Yeller because of the ending. I had to quit reading Stephan King — I was about a third of the way through Pet Cemetery and quit. I like some of the old classic stuff too — not the new slasher movies though.

  13. Oh I forgot the first 2 movies that scared me silly were The Exorcist and Amityville Horror also The Omen. They scared me so badly. Then i read Amityville and that scared me even more. I was reading it and all of a sudden I had flies on my window. Threw the book away, lol

    1. I saw all of those too! And they are close to the last scary movies I ever watched. I think I read The Amityville book before i saw the movie. I still don’t like it when I wake up and it’s 3:00 am and I know that comes from the movie but can’t remember why.

  14. When my best girlfriend and I were about 12, King Kong was going to be shown on TV!! So… we prepared! Got in bed with the blanket ready to be pulled up over our heads as soon as the scary stuff started. We kept waiting for the scary stuff. And waiting, and waiting. Talk about two very disappointed girls.

  15. Against her better judgement, my mother let my sister and I watch King Kong on TV. She was right there for us when we got too scared. Never happened. We wound up sobbing at the end of the movie because we LOVED King Kong. Who Knew?

  16. THEM! Saw it on the Saturday Movie Matinee. I still see the giant ants chasing and hiding people in their cavernous homes. GAHHHHH! We lived “way out in the woods” in Billerica and we got 3 TV stations: “Educational” WGBH 2, affiliates NBC 4, and CBS 7 (at that time). I understand they’ve switched a couple around since then. No ABC! Once in awhile we got a Rhode Island Station that had some good after school shows, but you could barely see the picture through the fuzz and buzz.

    Great idea for your post, Sherry!

  17. The Watcher in the Woods was super scary and Something Wicked This Way Comes- what was up with Disney and those movies?

  18. I loved “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” and was very enthralled with Pat Boone at the time:) The first scary movie I remember was “Fall of the House of Usher.” After that, I had a very difficult time with the cedar chest that sat in my room, because it looked too much like a casket! On TV, I loved to watch “Thriller” and “The Alfred Hitchcock Show,” on nights when my mother let me stay up that late…

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