I listened to the episode 110 of the Talk Show today, in which Merlin Mann talks movies with John Gruber. Towards the end they focussed on the subject of kids’ reactions to various scenes and how surprising some of the things that resonate with them are. I am a bit younger than both of the aforementioned gentlemen, hence I watched the same movies they did, just at an earlier age. I vividly remember only two of them until I was eight or so—the first was Star Wars, the other Gremlins.
I was probably “five and a half” years old when my dad brought home a VHS tape with Gremlins—there were no cinemas were we lived. There were no antipiracy laws either. Anyway, I recall begging them to let me watch it. I remember that I actually argued that I couldn’t possible be frightened what with Gizmo being so cute. It took half the evening but they finally caved and let me watch it.
They were right to fight me and wrong to let me. I was wrong on both counts.
I have no clue or recollection of what particular moment terrified me the most—perhaps it was just the concept of Gremlins themselves. I couldn’t escape the nightmares and crawled into my parent’s bed despite them specifically warning me that I wouldn’t be allowed to if I was too scared to sleep alone. Luckily they did not kick me out. I spent a full seven nights in their bed, too terrified to sleep in my own room.
Quite frankly, I am shocked that I remember all of this so well…
Anyway… the next weekend I was watching a few new He-Man episodes. One of them was about that moustached fellow in the green and orange uniform explaining cowardice and courage to He-Man and his cat1. I remember going to my own bed that night, to the surprise of my parents, and actually finding the courage to overcome my Gremlin-infused nightmares. All I had to do was to keep repeating that I was brave enough in my head.
I don’t have a fear of anything supernatural or otherwise since then. Perhaps thanks to He-Man.
- Or perhaps just his cat—this bit is fuzzy. ↩