Pictures in an Empty Room: Childhood Movie Trauma

Filed under: Special Coverage

A few years ago, a co-worker told me that he was afraid of clowns. This phobia piqued my interest, and I asked him how clowns could possibly scare him. He told me that when he was young, he watched It, and ever since then, he was terrified of clowns. In the years since this conversation, I have found that there is a significant amount of our population that were exposed to inappropriate movies at a young age, and these people ended up becoming traumatized from watching those movies. Some of the most common movies that have emotionally scarred young viewers for life include Exorcist, Poltergeist, Alien, Terminator, and Jaws.

In my case, it was The Fly. Some time back in the eighties, I ended up watching that movie. I do not want to go into listing how that movie messed me up, as I do not feel like re-living the fear. Lets just say that I do not ever want to see that movie again. It screwed me up so badly, that I even developed a fear of Jeff Goldblum. I only re-discovered this fear many years later, when I watched Jurassic Park and felt a severe discomfort in seeing Goldblum as he reprised yet another scientist role. I finally watched The Lost World only a couple of years ago, and I am happy to say that I have grown out of my fear of Jeff Goldblum. However, I do not think I can ever get over my fear of The Fly. My only consolation is that I saw the movie on a dubbed VHS EP tape on a medium standard definition television. I can only imagine the effects of watching this movie on modern technology can possibly do to a young child.

In writing this article, as per standards, I needed to put a relevant image in the upper right corner. I was extremely careful in doing a Google image search, as I did not want to accidentally stumble across any pictures from the The Fly. Fortunately, I was familiar with the teleportation parody scene in Family Guy, and successfully found a picture of it, without seeing any screencaps from The Fly.

Beyond making the writing of this article as a means to deal with my childhood movie trauma, there is a point to what I am saying. I am not a fan of censorship by any means, but this is also where I draw the line. I find that when people are careful of a movie's level of (in)appropriateness towards children, they tend to care more about coarse language, violence, and sexual references, than anything else. It is here that I ask people to consider the fear variable above everything else, when letting children watch movies. This is easy enough to do, and it will of benefit to a child's emotional health.

Tags: Pictures in an Empty Room, Childhood Movie Trauma, Jurassic Park, The Lost World, Family Guy, VHS, Exorcist, Terminator, Alien, It

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Original Comments Posted (1)

metal2000 says...

For me, it was Chucky. I don't know why, but it scared the crap out of me. I remember when my friend put it on at his house when he was, I think, 12, making me around 8 or 9. He and another friend were excited to watch it, but a few minutes in, I had to leave the room. I spent the next hour and a half or so sitting upstairs in his kitchen, listening to music on my walkman, avoiding the fear that came from that creepy little murderous doll.

I don't think I've ever quite gotten over that day.

Jan 28, 2011 4:18am

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