Five Scarring Horror Movies I Watched at Slumber Parties
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1. Leprechaun (originally released in 1993). If you’re not lucky enough to be familiar with the Leprechaun cycle, it’s a six-part series about an evil leprechaun who does horrible things to people, Jennifer Aniston among them. My friends and I were celebrating someone’s 12th birthday, and Leprechaun was for some reason the first part of a horror-movie double feature. The scenes I remember most vividly (spoiler) are 1) when he pulls someone’s finger off because it has a gold ring on it, and 2) when he casts a spell to make a huge standing fan with no safety cage look like a pretty girl unbuttoning her shirt, so a male character buries his face in it, and screams and screams. Kind of ingenious, actually, in retrospect.
2. After Leprechaun, we watched a movie whose name I don’t remember but which was about or inspired by the Little Red Riding Hood story. Sounds now more like an erotic thing — which at the time would have probably been preferable — but there was a lot of blood and disembowelment, and after a while I put my head inside the sleeping bag and just listened. When it was over, everyone laugh-screamed — “ahh so scary!” — and fell immediately to sleep. I tried to sleep, too, except all I could see were the wolf pulling out intestines with its teeth and Leprechaun pulling off that finger, again and again, and the crunchy, squelchy sound it made. Hours passed. I watched the windows for the tip of Leprechaun’s hat, and listened for his little feet. Then I went to the bathroom and threw up, then I woke my friend up, and she woke her mom up, and they called my mom and I went home.
3. Leprechaun II (1994). Two of my friends had birthdays in the same month, so a couple weekends after Leprechaun, we watched Leprechaun II at a different girl’s party. A little Leprechaun bender. (Leprechaun 3, Leprechaun 4: In Space, Leprechaun in the Hood, and the eventual cult classic Leprechaun: Back 2 Tha Hood had not yet been released.) In this Leprechaun, he’d cast a spell involving sneezing, and I remember him hiding in the bushes, watching a pretty girl breathe pollen as he chanted this rhyme: “she sneezes once, she sneezes twice — she’ll be my bride if she sneezes thrice.” That was another thing about Leprechaun: he was horny, which added to his repulsive appeal. The girl eventually sneezed thrice, I think, and that was not good for her in the end. Another sleepless night thinking about Leprechaun, wondering if Leprechaun wandered into a room of sleeping seventh graders whether he’d kill the one he sensed was still awake first, or whether he’d kill her second, or last, or what. (Did I have a crush on Leprechaun?)
4. Fire in the Sky (1993). There’s a part in this movie where the aliens drill needles into the main guy’s eyes, and there’s another part where people slip out of these gloppy alien pods, and somehow both of those were (are) some visual version of nails on a chalkboard. Unbearable. They have his head strapped down, his eyelids propped open, and the needles come so slowly! The evening was over for me after that — I think I might have participated in whatever it was we were doing, but I was mentally checked out, playing the eye bit on loop in my head. Long night of eye drills and glop pods, glop pods and eye drills.
5. Signs (2002). I was in college. It wasn’t even a slumber party. My new friend was staying with me for a weekend at my family’s house, and we saw Signs in the cinema, and it was totally stupid, I know. The CGI alien at the end — ridiculous. The whole thing, ridiculous. Stupid. Pfft, what a dumb movie. Then cut to later that night, me in my bed, my friend sleeping on a futon on the floor. She makes a noise like she’s awake, and I, of course, having not yet fallen asleep (the part with the boy in the basement! the part with the door and the butcher knife!!), quietly ask her if she’s awake, too.
“I can’t fall asleep because I’m thinking about Signs,” I whisper. She says nothing, because she was not awake in the first place. So I go to the family computer and use AIM/AOL for five hours until I relax. I would go on to think about Signs a lot in the coming nights/years.
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