I joke about traumatizing my child by watching horror movies, but it’s an actual thing that happened long ago.
She might have been 3 when, waking from a nap, she stumbled in while her mother and I were watching an episode of “The Walking Dead.” Figuring she didn’t really know what she was looking at, we continued watching the zombies feast on the living while steering our young child away from the violence.
But like that Barry Manilow song that’ll pop in your head while standing in line at Walmart despite having not actually heard “I Write the Songs” in 30 years, that brief exposure to “The Walking Dead” some five years ago planted a seed in my child’s noggin.
She really hates zombies.
Once, when I was writing a story for this very publication about the rising popularity of the zombie movie, my then-4-year-old fussed and fussed at me because of the “blood hand zombie” pictures on my computer screen.
She’s almost 9 now and loves scary movies (within reason). From “Lake Placid” to “Tremors,” she’s fine. She loved all the “Jaws” movies – even “Jaws 4” – even laughing wildly when Bruce the Shark ate Quint.
She lasted exactly four minutes watching “Night of the Living Dead.” Keep in mind that we watched the original black-and-white version with the slow, shambling zombies.
Zombies, man. Zombies. But I didn’t give her a hard time. I HATE movies with spiders – this scene still gives me nightmares – so we’ve all got a thing.
When she went to bed a few hours later, I picked up where we left off, and I gotta say … I really liked “Night of the Living Dead.” At the risk of ruining all my horror movie cred, it was the first time I’d seen the original in its entirety. While they don’t freak me out like they do my progeny, I’m not a huge fan of zombie movies as a rule. They tend to be kind of predictable.
(Between you and me, after the desperate brutality of the most recent episode, my interest in “The Walking Dead” is waning.)
But I thoroughly enjoyed “Night of the Living Dead,” mainly because of the riotous music that made everything seem so dramatic. After watching the likes of “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “Human Centipede,” “Night of Living Dead” was like watching a very special “Blossom” by comparison.
I only wish my daughter could’ve stuck it out. Maybe next year.