It was on a trip to Disney World that my daughter earned the nickname “Daredevil.” She was 5 years old, and had never seen let alone ridden a rollercoaster. She giggled her way through Space Mountain while others screamed, then begged for more.
In the years since, her bravado has thinned, but at 8, there’s not much she won’t try, including scary movies. Now, before you chastise me for letting my child watch horror movies know this:
1. The movies we watch are always ones I’ve seen before.
3. I tell her what’s going to happen and who dies in advance.
4. We only watch them during the day, thus allowing time to “cleanse the palate,” as we say, with “Bob’s Burgers,” so as not to carry any horror movie residue into our dreams.
It was with this plan that we watched one of my favorite movies, “The Mist,” which is the rare example of a Stephen King adaptation that improves upon the source. To the uninitiated, “The Mist” is about … drumroll, please … a thick mist that rolls over a small Maine town, trapping a number of residents in a grocery store to wrestle with the possibility that “something” is lurking in the mist.
In typical King fashion, there’s a mysterious Army base that, rumor has it, has opened a door into another dimension from which legions of monstrous creatures have escaped. It’s a pretty scary movie, but what makes “The Mist” truly epic has little to do with the monsters outside the store, but rather with the people inside. As their terror and claustrophobia grows, part of the group, led by a religious zealot, comes to believe they are witnessing the End Times and that the creatures demand human sacrifice, else all will be slaughtered.
Not that my little Daredevil made it that far. In fact, she tapped out right when our band of heroes ventured out to the pharmacy next door only to be trapped in a giant spider’s web filled with creepy crawlies. Frankly, I can’t blame her. I’ve seen the scene before and it still freaked me out. Plus, having started later than we intended, it had gotten dark.
So she watched “Phineas and Ferb,” leaving me to face the horrors alone on my laptop. She plopped down every few minutes to find out what was going on, who was still alive and who was about to die. Getting ready for bed, I told her the rest of the story, including the ending.
“I want to finish it tomorrow,” she said. “I don’t like not finishing stuff. But if I have to watch scary movies during the day, does that still make me a daredevil?”
“Of course,” I said. “Being a daredevil is really about facing your fears. You can do that during the day or night.”