I love movies with a passion, and I couldn’t imagine life without them. They hold a special place in my heart. My favorite genre is horror. Horror movies to me are on another level. I just love all the gore, blood, knives, killing, murder, demon possession, suspenseful music, isolated locations, poor choices, dumb characters, terror, madness and craziness that comes with horror movies. I love horror movies like Psycho, The Exorcist, Jaws, Nightmare on Elm Street, The Conjuring series, Friday the 13th, any horror-themed Stephen King movie, Halloween, Get Out, and so many more. I’m so thankful and blessed to have horror movies in my life, but I know that it wouldn’t be possible without my dad.
I remember it was 2008, and I was at a hotel in Springfield, Ohio. It was for a church convention, and all of my family was there. I was staying in a two-bedroom room with my parents and siblings. My Grandma Mollie was on the same floor as us, and she was a few doors away from us. It was a Thursday night, and my family decided that they wanted to have a family movie night our hotel room. My grandma came over and brought her famous cookies with her to munch on. We even had some popcorn and other snacks. My parents scrolled through all the movies the hotel had, and they discovered a movie that they were dying to see. It was the movie I Am Legend starring Will Smith. My grandma and I were excited about watching the movie because we were both Will Smith fans. I thought that this was going to be a typical Will Smith movie, but I was deceived.
This movie was a little more dramatic. There was no comedy seen it whatsoever. In fact, it was kind of a little scary. It was kind of making me a little uncomfortable. Then, my anxiety got a little worse. In the movie, Will Smith goes into this dark building to retrieve his dog. He was all scared for some reason to go into the building, and I didn’t understand it. Was Smith scared of the dark or something? However, I was scared as he was getting closer and closer to his dog. Will Smith see these groups of people huddled together. I was thinking to myself, what in the world are these things? I’m turning away a little because I’m trying not to watch this movie anymore. Then, Will Smith finds his dog hidden under a table and scared to come out. Will Smith is about to turn around, and I’m thinking to myself, “Oh God, please don’t turn around. Please don’t turn around Will Smith. Please, please, please. I will hate you if you turn around. You will no longer be my favorite actor ever. Johnny Depp will take your place, and you’ll be all the way at the bottom. I do love them Pirate of the Caribbean movies, and Johnny Depp would never deceive me like you are right now Will Smith. Please, I’m so scared. I can’t, I just can’t. I can’t watch this movie. Lord, please help me.”
Sadly, Will Smith slowly turned around and this blood-sucking vampire was waiting for him. It was a wrap for me. I couldn’t watch anymore after seeing that scary vampire thing pop out of nowhere, but I didn’t want my family thinking that I was scared. Luckily, my little sister Shawna was scared out of her mind and needed to go in the other room. I saw this as an opportunity. I remember I sighed, stood up and said, “Look, I’ll go with Shawna to the other room. She shouldn’t be alone right now, and I don’t mind being a good, big brother right now.”
Then, my little sister Shawna said, “Aww thanks big brother, but I’ll be okay. You can watch the movie, I’ll be good.”
My parents asked if she was sure, and she said that it was fine. Then, they told her to go into the other and told me to sit back down. I was panicking, and I continued, “You know I should still go back there with Shawna because I want to be a good big brother. I’m willing to sacrifice this movie because I love my sister. I’m 12 years old, and I need to learn the significance and purpose of sacrificing for the people that I care about. It’s about love and commitment. My sister needs me to be there for her and who am I to turn her away for a movie. I want more than anything to continue to watch this really scary, messed-up movie, but I want to be there for my little sister more. Can’t y’all understand that? Can’t y’all see that I’m trying to do the right thing as Shawna’s big brother? Can’t y’all see what your mind cannot comprehend? Let me be a good big brother to my little sister Shawna.”
After I was done giving that little speech, my little brother Isaac laughed and said, “Wait, I know what it is. Isaiah’s scared of this movie too. That’s why he’s trying to go with Shawna, he’s scared too.”
My parents and grandma started laughing and realizing that my little brother was right. My mom was asking me if I needed to be held or anything, and I was appalled. I was just trying to be a good big brother, and they were turning it into something that it was not. Then, my dad said, “Well, sit down and watch the movie then? If you not scared.”
My little brother added, “Yeah, watch the movie with us, coward.”
There was a moment of silence, and I responded, “Dad, I’m going to the other room with Shawna because I’m just trying to be a good big brother.”
The room erupted with laughter, and I just marched into the room. My little sister Shawna followed afterwards and started laughing at me too. My mom yelled, “Don’t worry, Isaiah, I’ll be sure to tuck you in. Do you need to sleep with me with me and your dad to avoid nightmares?”
There was more laughter following my mom’s statement, and I just never felt so betrayed and humiliated by my own family. I wasn’t scared. I was just trying to be a good big brother. To this day, whenever I Am Legend is on TV, they always burst out laughing and talking about “this is my movie, the one that got me all scared.”
After partially watching I Am Legend, I decided to never watch horror movies. I would just avoid them at all cost.
A few years had passed, and I was avoiding horror movies like crazy. It was hard though because my dad would always watch horror movies by himself. He would always ask if I wanted to watch them, but I said no as I briefly had I Am Legend memories all in my mind. However, that would all change when I started reading Stephen King books in high school. I was reading books like The Shining, Misery, Carrie, Firestarter, Pet Sematary, Salem’s Lot, Dreamcatcher, The Tommyknockers and so many other classic Stephen King books. They were so awesome and amazing to me. The horror and suspense that Stephen King brings in his work is so breathe-taking to me, and I admired his sick, twisted imagination. Stephen King helped me see the beauty and authenticity of horror. My mom and dad noticed that I was reading a lot of Stephen King books, and my dad mentioned, “You know, Stephen King had a lot of his books adapted into movies. We should definitely watch them.”
I totally agreed with him, and I started watching movies like Misery, Cujo, Carrie, The Shining, Thinner, Room 1408 and Firestarter with my parents. It was awesome seeing the books come to life, and I started falling in love with horror movies. I was craving more. I started watching old horror movies like The Excorcist and Psycho. For some reason, my mom couldn’t keep up with the horror movies, and so it was just me and my dad.
I remember my dad and I first started watching Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) and Halloween (1978). I just loved the music associated with Halloween and Michael Myers just killing people like crazy with his butcher knife. In addition, Nightmare on Elm Street was twisted because you could die in your sleep by Freddy Krueger. That was so cool and awesome to me that Freddy was torturing kids by not making them sleep and punishing them if they did. Freddy was a smart serial killer to me, and I had nothing but respect for me as the killer in the movie.
After watching those movies, I kind of wanted to watch more sick, twisted horror movies. My dad looked at me and said, “Say no more.”
He suggested that we watch the Saw series together, and it was so great. We watched all the Saw movies together, and it was so great and fun watching them with my dad. We would always add little things and laugh at characters just not doing what they needed to do to stay alive. We were praising Jigsaw for his many traps on his victims, and we just loved all the twists in the movies.
Then, we started getting into demon possession type horror movies. I remember we watched the Sinister series together, and we just loved it. Then, we saw Insidious, and it was alright to us. We saw more and more demon possession horror movies on Netflix, cable and pretty much anywhere that we could find them. Fast forward a few more years, and we started going to theaters together to watch all kinds of new horror movies together. We saw most of The Conjuring series movies in theaters and so many other movies together.
Today, my dad and I continue to watch horror movies together whenever we can. I’m so thankful that my dad and I can have something so special together. As I reflect on the many horror movies we saw together over the years, I find myself remembering the laughter, the debates, the surprises and the disappointment we shared watching horror movies together. Of course, I don’t only watch horror movies with my dad. I love watching horror movies with my best friend Obi and other friends. However, nothing can compare to watching horror movies with my dad.
This is the end of “Horror Movies With My Dad”
Be sure to like, share and comment your thoughts on this short story about my dad.
On Thursday, I will be posting “Never Missing a Thing,” another short story about my dad.