This Friday evening brings back memories from my childhood, when I would sit down with my parents and siblings to enjoy movie night, with our carefully distributed bowls of chips and equally calculated quantities of pop. Those first few years we would watch a lot of family movies, from The Wizard of Oz to Escape to Witch Mountain. As we grew older, however, we graduated to scary movies, but my mother refused to sit with us for these. Poltergeist disturbed her too much. This tradition lasted well into my teens. My father had a great tolerance for horror; he did draw the line in certain situations, but we found ways of watching those movies, whether he approved or not.
Tonight, my wife stands to the side, scowling. She does not approve of what I am about to do.
“We’ll be fine,” I tell her, “no one will get hurt.”
But people will die. And there will be blood. Lots of it.
“People do this kind of thing every day,” I tell her, “and besides, he’s 15, I won’t be scarring him emotionally.”
She walks off, telling me she’ll be reading in the bedroom. My son, behind me, smiles nervously. In his house, we don’t like motherly disapproval. But we’ll live with it this time.
This evening is special. I have been looking forward to this ever since our first child was born. My wife had quickly outlined the rules: No exposure to TV and movie violence or negativity of any kind. These days, the kids occasionally express their frustration at having been prevented everything their friends have been allowed to watch. But they also understand and appreciate how we nurtured their minds through books and play.
Normally I would have as little light as possible, to enjoy the movie with a certain ambience, but not tonight. The lights are all on. I’m not doing this to reassure my son. I’m doing this so I can observe him; his interest, his expressions, the way he might jump up in his seat. I won’t be laughing; I want to see how he’ll react to his first slasher movie. We’re starting a tradition after all, and the 80s horror icons await.
Tonight, I’m introducing my son to an old friend who is visiting from Camp Crystal Lake; his mother is very protective of him, but I’m sure they’ll both be greeting us with open arms. And machetes.
So many movies, so little time. A look at some of the movies we'll be watching in the future.
Stephane Moisan is a student in the Professional Writing program at Algonquin College. He has been happily married (to the same woman) for the past 25 years and is the father of two teenagers. He enjoys reading and writing, as well as spending time with his family.