Movies That Made Me Pee a Little Pt.1 – ‘The Witches’
With Halloween approaching this seemed like an appropriate topic. Kristen and I were watching Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure last night for the first time in many, many years and I was commenting on how several of the sequences in that film absolutely terrified me when I was little: Large Marge, the nightmare clown doctors, etc. It made me realize that one of the things I miss most about being a kid is having the ability to be 100% scared of movies, books, TV shows… anything really.
Sure, there’s still stuff that gets under my skin on creeps me out but it’s not the same. It’s impossible to buy into that fear as completely as I did when I was a child. The 1990 film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s book The Witches, for example, destroyed my whole eight year-old world after I saw it.
It starts out innocently enough with a grandmother telling her grandson about witches. It’s creepy, but still tame as she lays out the rules for how to spot one. But then the damn thing turns into a cautionary tale about a girl named Erika who winds up missing. Guess where her parents find her? In the painting hanging in their living room! They can see her and she can see them, but she can’t speak to them. And even though she’s a painting she still ages. She spends her whole life stuck in there until one day the old woman she’s become just fades away. WTF is this shit?! I’m eight, dude! This is pretty heavy stuff for someone still wearing He-Man underwear.
Then after grandma finishes the story, the police arrive to inform our main character that his parents have died horribly (what is this film?!). So they want to get away for awhile and wind up staying at some lush hotel that just happens to be the annual meeting spot for all of England’s Witches.
By now things are feeling a little lighter and there’s plenty of comic relief (Mr. Bean is even part of the supporting cast). There’s also that VHS cover which promises cute Jim Henson puppets are sure to pop up any second now. Then… *sigh*… then, this happens:
I was just not prepared for that. Or for anything that followed this moment. “Hey Mom and Dad, if you need me I’ll be under my covers for the next few weeks. Also, nice job letting me rent this. Are you mad at me or something?”
To this day, The Witches is still the first thing I think of whenever I see Angelica Huston. I’m sure she’s a very lovely woman, but frankly- f*ck her. Thanks for the life long fear of candy bars, beeyatch.
But like I said earlier, that level of immersion in a piece of media is incredible. And it kinda sucks when you reach a point where all you can do is revisit these things and use your nostalgia to try and tap into those old feelings. That can be fun, but it’s not the same as being a kid and accepting everything at face value.
And it’s exactly what I’ll be doing in a few days. Kristen has never seen the movie and I just Netflixed it. I’ve never watched it as an adult and I’m positive it’ll seem incredibly silly. Maybe only one drop of pee will come out this time.