There are some films that exist as sacred experiences in our memory, and it’s likely that our memory is the only place where they can exist in such a fashion. I’m talking about those horror films from my childhood that still trigger my pleasure neurons when I think about them, but if I take the time to realistically gauge what my reaction to them today would be like – I’m filled with a specific and undeniable brand of seething uneasiness.
For instance, I adored Fright Night 2 as a kid. I remember it as a raucous romp wherein Charlie Brewster had a sexier girlfriend who could even make studying at the library look hot. I also seem to remember that, this time, Peter Vincent is the one who has to do the convincing – which is an interesting reversal. I also remember being mildly disappointed that Evil Ed didn’t return (as promised) but I felt like the bowling scene somehow made up for it.
I imagine if I revisited the film today I’d feel differently. First of all, it’s out of print – not a great sign of its enduring cultural longevity (there are some films where it’s like a crime that they’re out of print, this doesn’t feel like one of them – tell me if it is). Secondly, all of the things that made the movie a plus when I was in the 5th or 6th grade would likely bog it down with silliness now. I almost feel like a new viewing would turn me into Charlie Brewster at the beginning of the sequel, a once-believer who is now throwing away all of his crucifixes.
Another film I hold in high esteem is The Monster Squad. I remember my Dad taking me to see this one and being blown away. I thought it was hilarious. Of course, Wolfman being blown apart by dynamite (correct me if I’m wrong) remains a high point – I can still see those bloody stumps in my head and remember thinking “man, this is hardcore“. I think I caught up with the Squad again on home video (which in those days was like a year after the theatrical release) and, if memory serves, it had already started to diminish for me even at that age.
Caveat? The film was written by the amazing Shane Black, so maybe it’s a treasure trove of stuff that initially flew over my head that I’d really respond to now. Perhaps I should give it another go and find out… but I’m scared.
What are some films you’re scared to revisit out of fear that they’ll suck?