Sunday, July 22, 2012

Things You Don't Want to Remember

More than 30 years have passed.  I still remember. 

The other day some friends pointed me to an article on watching horror movies and other scenes which impress themselves on our minds.  And I remembered.

"We" were me, my new husband, my father-in-law, and the guy who'd been Gary's roommate the previous year.  We'd been in Washington for a week for my brother-in-law's wedding.  We'd had some late nights visiting and celebrating.  It was a long drive home.  We needed to stop.  We'd been watching billboards, hunting a hotel.  We'd been exiting the highway, scanning for signs of hotels.  Nothing.  At exit after exit, we were finding nothing.  Our eyes were getting heavy.  We really needed to stop for the night.

Finally an ad for a hotel.  Phew!  We took the next exit, followed the signs, pulled into the hotel's parking lot ... and began to wonder.  This didn't look like the kind of hotel I wanted to stay in.  Small.  Not well kept-up.  Hourly rates.  Yeah -- hourly rates.  But we were SO tired.  We checked in.*

We showered, climbed into bed, turned on the television.  And our eyes about popped out of our skulls.  We turned it off.  But 30-some years later, I still remember what was on that screen.  Just that one small experience makes me realize how important it is to guard our eyes and our imaginations from pictures that cannot be erased. 

I still remember being a child terrified of "The Wizard of Oz."  I still remember some of those Godzilla movies.  I cannot understand the popularity of the zombie movies today.  I've never watched "Friday the 13th" or "The Exorcist" or any of those other horror films.  My mom told me we should watch "Saving Private Ryan" (which is history, not billed as Horror) but I just couldn't. 

I have friends who don't want to watch "The Passion of the Christ."  Even though I can't understand (because the awful things in that movie are our life and our salvation and our joy, and because the theology embedded in that movie is gorgeously rich) I do understand because it's vivid, and it's emotional, and it's something that cannot be erased from your mind when once you've seen it.

But when the reason to see a movie is merely for entertainment (?) or because everyone else is seeing it, why do we willingly expose ourselves to such nastiness?  For fun?  Something's wrong.

* The kicker came the next morning.  When we checked out and hopped back on the interstate, the very next exit had several big-name hotels.  If we'd only held out for 15 more minutes.... 


  1. I watched a lot of horror movies in my teen years. Sadly, part of you becomes numb to the scariness...or the weirdness. I was frightened a lot as a child...always checked under my bed and in my closet. My dad (he was a fireman) showed us a movie to "help" us see what fire could do. At 7 years old...I knew. It was horrible what we saw...and I prayed every night that God would keep us safe from a fire. I have moved on from those days...I stay away from the scary stuff, too. I saw "Silence of the Lambs"....I don't know why...but now it is hard for me to look at the cover...and my mind can focus on some very awful scenes to that movie. (I didn't like Anthony Hopkins for years!) We also saw "Paranormal Activity".....horribly scary movie that makes one think about the works of the devil himself. We looked at it because the world was looking at it...and it reminded me how sick the world really is. Yes...I agree....images a powerful and I don't think we realize that truth.

  2. I saw quite a few horror movies in my youth and young adulthood: Halloween, Friday the 13th, Alien, Silence of the Lambs, etc. And I have seen Saving Private Ryan and The Passion of the Christ and other things with some really brutal images. I tend to avoid these kinds of movies anymore, mostly I think because of children in the house (we don't go out to movies). I find this so interesting because I am very visual and I think I am also in that category of person known as "highly sensitive." And yet this is one area in which I don't fit the profile. Because I really don't remember all that much from most of the movies I have seen. I do have a few images that stick with me but I think I forget a lot more than I remember. But then I have found that I don't remember lots of things. My husband will ask me if I remember this or that and I just don't. My oldest son is the same. He is only 19 but remembers very little from his growing up--things that I would think he would remember. Memory is such an odd thing.

  3. Thank you for linking to my post. It's interesting what you wrote here, because as I was writing, I thought about how I still haven't seen either Saving Private Ryan OR The Passion of the Christ. I didn't end up mentioning them, so it feels like you've completed my thoughts here. :) On another topic, I'm sad that those images from the hotel TV are still in your mind!!