Things that Scare the Bejeezus Out of Me

I hate me some scary movies. This is unfortunate, because The Lady and the best friend can’t get enough of them. I just never saw the point in watching a movie just so you can scream, or jump in your seat. I’d much rather watch a phenomenally cheesy flick like Two For the Money, then sit through any of the intolerable horror remakes we are inundated with each week (House of Wax, The Fog, Amityville Horror, Guess Who?, et al). I don’t like to be scared. I can understand why some people enjoy it, but for me, the movies are supposed to be a land of cool dialogue, happy dreams, and Heather Graham nude scenes. Given the choice, I will always pick against a scary movie every day of the week, twice on Sundays, and three times at any time in late October.

Such was the case the other day when The Lady and I were Blockbuster Nighting it and I chose the abortion that was Bewitched over the Paris Hilton insta-classic House of Wax. Did I really think that I would get wigged out over some lame killer slaughtering a second-rate cast of WB plastic people? No, but damned if I was ever gonna find out.

While bored out of my mind during the second unwatchable hour of that Nicole Kidman fiasco I got to thinking that it’s possible my distaste for scary movies may keep me from conquering my fear of being scared. Then I thought, do I ever really wanna conquer my fears, what with all the getting up and doing stuff and effort it may require? Absolutely not. So instead of trying to conquer my fears, I’ve decided to embrace them in written form. After all, I have my very own website; I can write about whatever I want. Maybe, just maybe, on this All Hallow’s Eve, it will make me feel so much better that now I won’t scream like a little girl every time I watch The Grudge.

So henceforth is a summation of mostly all the things that scare the bejeezus out of me. I’m not giving you all of them, because frankly, I’m freaked out just thinking about most of this stuff. Heck, you’re lucky I’m telling this much. And no, I don’t doubt for a second that I’m gonna get phone calls and e-mails making fun of me for being scared by a Kiefer Sutherland movie that isn’t Lost Boys.

So enjoy my list of fears and scares, and Happy Halloween to all my pretty peoples.

Snakes

Any size or shape. I don’t know if this stems from the three days I worked in a reptile pet shop while recovering from mono back in 1997, or from watching Raiders of the Lost Ark one too many times. Either way, I hate those slithering bitches. Any creature whose sole purpose is to bite other living things (Angelina Jolie excluded) becomes automatically freaky deaky. Furthermore, any animal that can open their mouth the size of Alanis Morissette ginormous maw just screams scary. Snakes are nasty little beasts, Indy is right to hate ‘em.

The end basement scene in Silence of the Lambs.

Wait, was she a great big fat person? Dude, you know what, come to think of it, that whole character of Buffalo Bill creeps me out. I can’t ever play Lambs without shivering now. It puts the lotion in the basket…

The theme from the movie Halloween, but in a good way.

This is also tied into my fear of people wearing masks of Bill Shatner. I am an unstable person.

That Sylvester Stallone Will Never Make Another Good Movie

And announcing another Rambo movie isn’t helping matters.

Getting A Texas Burial a.k.a. Being Buried Alive

I’m claustrophobic. I can barely handle being in a crowded elevator. I have to sit facing the door of a restaurant just to feel comfortable. So I can barely fathom the thought of waking up in my own coffin. I mean good god! My stomach is doing triple sachows just typing this paragraph. I don’t normally squirm during movies or TV shows, but anytime I see a character digging themselves out of a grave (like Buffy) or getting trapped in a confined space (like the elevator scene in Speed) I slink in my seat like Brodie hiding from a third nipple.

Worst Getting Buried Alive Moment in Film: Kiefer Sutherland in The Vanishing. I saw this flick in a pitch black cabin in Arrowhead, with wind whipping at the windows. When Kiefer wakes up in his coffin, flicks his lighter and screams, realizing where he is… well let’s just say I didn’t get much sleep that night. I had to pop in Mary Poppins AND The Phantom Tollbooth just to calm myself down.

You know, just to be on the safe side, I better hook up with Pai Mei in case I happen to errantly insult Michael Madsen with an ill-timed Species 2 joke.

Being Dirty For An Extended Period of Time

The day I bought my first bottle of Purell was the day I started fighting back.

The Career Longevity of Freddie Prinze Jr.

Every time I think he’s over he goes and makes a half-decent sitcom, and buys himself a few more years. If a guy like that can have a successful career, what does that say about our society? The Apocalypse is nigh! Nigh, I tell you! Nigh!

The face Reese Witherspoon makes when she tries to make Ryan Phillippe laugh in Cruel Intentions.

I don’t care how funny Legally Blonde was, or how cute she was in that horrible Mark Ruffalo flick, I can never see a Reese Witherspoon performance and not get weirded out by “The Face”. As John Turturro would say, that image will haunt my dreams… forever.

Public Speaking

I’ve done it before to great success, and I’ve done it before to humiliating failure. I have spoken eloquently in front of five thousand people and assorted members of the local media, and I have spoken like a blubbering fool in front of a room full of friends. It’s one of the most exciting things I get to do, and I nearly crap my pants each time I have to do it. I think it boils down to being exposed and examined in front of people whose opinion you generally value. The thought of looking stupid, or spitting while you talk, or if you stammer or stutter, or cough at the wrong time, or having your voice visit puberty out of nowhere. All these things and more make public speaking the harrowing, trial-by-fire experience of most people’s lives. I absolutely love to own a crowd, but I writhe in fear that I won’t ever be able to do that. So, you know, I guess it’s great I’m an actor, then.

The Feeling of Falling in a Dream

Subtracted points for when I used to get that feeling while sleeping in class, and my whole body jerked like a Tasmanian Devil and my professor noticed. Damn fear of falling!

Demi Moore

No reason really, she just gives me the willies.

Losing My Parents

I just wouldn’t be able to function without them. I need them to see my yet-to-be born children. I need them to help me through buying my first home. I need them at my wedding and at my first movie premiere. There’s just too much left to be done and said. Maybe it’s my Jewish neuroticism because both of them are as healthy as I could ask for, but who knows, you know?

The feeling you get the moment before a car accident.

I’m talking about the point where your mind realizes that there is nothing you can do to prevent what’s about to happen. Basically, the “You’re screwed!” feeling. I also hate the rush of adrenaline you get right after you nearly avoid an accident.

Gene Simmons’s Tongue

That fucker is nasty. I saw him once at Steven Spielberg’s old restaurant The Dive! in Pasadena. He was with his wife, Shannon “Will Strip for Skinemax” Tweed. I was in a booth with the fam, when the KISS frontman stood up to leave, saw me staring, smiled… and unleashed it. It… was… huge. Even from a good thirty feet away it still seemed ginormous. He flicked it at me like a snake, and I nearly pissed myself. No sleep was had that night, and I’ve never been able to enjoy a KISS song since (With the occasional exception of “God Gave Rock n Roll To You”).

Helen Hunt’s Forehead

It’s just so… all-consuming.

That My Twitch Will Never Go Away…

… and I’ll be at the podium at the Oscars explaining why I keep stealing glances at the Oscar girl instead of dropping thank you’s into camera one.

Anna Nicole Smith.

Don’t ask.

Failure

You knew it was coming. This is probably the one universal fear. Well, that and snakes (those bitches). Look, as far as this one goes, you can’t really do anything about it. If you let it control you, then you’ll never succeed. You must remain resolute in your belief that success will find you, while failure is busy taking the wrong exit of the freeway. Personally, while I am afraid that my dreams won’t all come true and I’ll end up penniless and pessimistic, I try to not to let it get to me. As long as I find happiness, failure has no bearing on me. It wouldn’t matter if I got fired from every job I ever have; if I’m happy, then nothing else matters. Coming from the vantage point of someone who has already had their first “real world” job and gained some measure of success from it, I’m not so naïve that I think it will all work out right away. But I gotta believe that all this work is for a purpose. I gotta believe that I’m gonna make something of myself. Because if not, what’s this all for? Why am I even bothering? That’s failure- giving up on the belief that something good is always in reach. Knock on wood, I hope never to lose sight of that.

Ending This Blog Post Without A Funny Joke

Everyone has fears and phobias. The point of this article is to show that no one is alone in having them, as oddball as they may be. Fear is a good thing. It keeps us on our toes. If there was nothing to scare the bejeezus out of people, there would be no order to this world. Extreme sports wouldn’t exist. Johnny Knoxville wouldn’t have a career. And we don’t want that, do we?

I’m warmed by my fears. It’s nice to know I have something to overcome, to stare down in the face of adversity and all that jazz. Whatever scares you, or keeps you up at nights, or makes you hyperventilate, it’s all for a purpose. Those things make you the person you are, not just the person who screams all the way through The Grudge, even though their eyes are covered the whole time. You know what I’m talking about.

Bangarang!

P.S. Damn it, I really didn’t conquer that last one. Aw well, maybe next year…


About Jason Matthews

Jason Matthews is the head writer for TheJay.com. The site has been nominated for two Weblog Awards (Best Culture Blog, 2006 & 2007), and has been featured on more than 100 websites, including the IMDB, Defamer, College Humor, USA Today’s Pop Candy (Written by Whitney Matheson), Entertainment Weekly’s PopWatch, BestWeekEver.tv, Gorilla Mask and eBaum’s World. Jason is also an accomplished playwright. He is currently the Writer-in-Residence at the Ruskin Group Theatre, where through their showcase “Café Plays”, he has written and produced forty-five one-act plays, and premiered his full-length debut comedy ‘Four Night Stand’ to a sold out six-week run in Spring 2010. In addition to his work online and in theatre, Jason was the host of PopLoad on NowLive.com from January – May 2007, and was the Editor-in-Chief of the popular Santa Barbara-based arts magazine CampusPOINT from June 2000 – June 2002. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Film Studies from UC Santa Barbara, and an intense love for Ben Affleck and Keanu Reeves. Find Jason Matthews on Twitter @ www.Twitter.com/jasonamatthews
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