A nightmare is a bad dream, but is also used to refer to a negative experience (e.g.: “That party turned into a real nightmare!”), or what I call inspiration for horror stories you know you’re never going to write.
See that picture? It’s a still from the movie Critters 2: The Main Course. I’ve classified it as a classic horror film, as I’ve done with many of the same kind of movies that were made in the 80’s and wouldn’t scare a living thing today due to the improvement of special effects of contemporary horror films (I refuse to say the effects in these old movies were bad, because for their time they were really something).
The first time I saw Critters 2 was when I was about ten years old. I think my mother or my eldest sister had taped it, because it was still light outside when we watched it and scary movies were, and still are, never shown on TV during daytime.
Because they thought the story was hilarious neither my mum nor my sister told me what it was really about, so completely unaware I was exposed to what would turn out to be one of the most scary movies I had ever seen. I remember I got so terrified of those aliens popping out of Easter eggs and eating people (or well, eating everything, basically) I ended up having nightmares about them for years.
Especially the scene where one of the critters hatches from its egg that’s placed in a little girl’s bedroom and then hides under her bed, scared the living daylight out of me. The creature was constantly trying to eat the little girl’s hand and leg every time she rolled over and flung one of her limbs over the side of her bed.
I was convinced the area under my own bed was infested by critters, who were all out to eat me!
Eighteen years later I watched the movie again and I concluded that, even though they eat people and have scary red eyes and lots of tiny sharp teeth, I think critters are also very cute. Even the picture above.
I mean, come on, they’re not scary at all! Look at those cute, little hands! And that fuzzy hair! You can’t hear them on a picture, but they make high-pitched, adorable sounds as well. Plus, the baby critters, the ones that come out of the eggs, are sooooo small and sweet-looking, they could easily fit into the palm of your hand. I’d almost wish they’d really infest the area under my bed!
But even this change of hearts doesn’t change the fact I still have nightmares about them sometimes! I no longer wake up in the middle of the night, all sweaty and scared, my heart throbbing and my breath shallow from panic, but I do still dream badly about critters. They must have really impressed me in some wicked kind of way when I was ten.
So much for my dream catcher. I thought that was supposed to keep nightmares from entering my mind. But no, apparently it’s just decoration.
Today, recent scary movies don’t really frighten me any more. Even though the special effects have indeed become a lot more convincing, it’s often the storyline that kills it for me (pun intended). But the old ones, even if the costumes and the make-up and the effects are terrible, are great. It’s the ambience of the whole of it that reeks like nightmares. And my brains pick up that scent immediately.
So basically, what I get out of horror films nowadays is a lot of laughter and twice the fun. What’s not to love about that?