I have recently become obsessed with Lovefilm, and I profess to spending a disproportionate time on their site, mulling over the next DVD I’d like to view, and generally creating a list of movies that I blatantly won’t watch – their mere presence in my rental list serving solely as a channel for me to feel all cultured and smug, whilst I surreptitiously stock up on a slurry of candy-pink, brain-cell-obliterating shite.
Today, as I mouse-clicked away (rent, rent, rent, rent) on some
dubious educating movies, I suddenly came upon an advertisement for the most disturbing, traumatic and horrifying film EVER.
People, the image above evokes the most intense anxiety-inducing sensations in my body; I cannot believe that, at 30 years of age, I am still terrified of E.T.
I clearly recall the first time I watched it; I was probably about six years old. I went along to the local cinema; a beautiful and enigmatic place, full of cigarette-smoke charm and 50p bags of Maltesers, with my godmother and her two children. I remember how I sat, nestled between the three of them, and I felt so safe, even when the lights dimmed, and the other cinema-goers whooped and hollered as the deep-purple velvet curtains parted and the screen began to flicker to life.
The opening scene – which is firmly cemented in my memory – is an ominous shot of a starless sky, accompanied by a whole host of weird and creepy music, closely followed by the camera panning down onto a dark and foreboding forest where there is a shit-load of scurrying going on. Who the hell certified this film a PG? We were only 3 minutes into the film, and I was already watching it through my out-stretched hand. Thanks a lot, Spielberg.
I mean seriously, how on earth is this supposed to be suitable for children? Don’t even get me started on the creepy-ass ‘Elliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiotttttttttttttttttt’, or the scene where E.T is dying by the river, and he’s all chalky-pink and white like a jelly baby, or the bit where he’s hiding in the cupboard surrounded by toys or the scene where the men in spacesuits quarantine the house with big sheets of plastic and weird tubes and everyone’s crying and thinking Elliott and E.T are going to die, and, and, and oh, his horrible, bulbous, scaly fingers and good lord, I feel like the room is spinning and I’m going to pass out.
For some miscalculated reason, someone decided to buy me a ‘cute’ cuddly E.T toy for my birthday one year. I promptly shoved it in the cupboard under my bed and spent many a night lying awake, convinced that if I fell asleep, I would be awakened by the whisper of ‘Elliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiotttttttttttttttttt’ in my ear. I decided that the only possible way to protect myself from this occurrence, was to literally wrap my duvet cover around my head, and so I spent the majority of my childhood bedtime suffocating in a hot and clammy mess. Eventually, I realised that if I created a teeny tiny air hole between the folds of the duvet, I could breathe fear easier….
…That was until my elder sister pointed out, in an extremely haughty manner, that no matter how tight I wound the duvet around my head, E.T could effortlessly poke one of his horrible, bulbous, scaly fingers down the air hole. Thanks, sis.
Oh, and whilst we’re on the subject of traumatising childhood films, anyone care to remember the horrifying ‘swamp of sadness’ scene in the NeverEnding Story? Y’know, the one where the horse, Artax, slowly sinks into the mud to a certain death while Atreyu, the boy-owner, calls out to his equine friend to keep on fighting, and it all ends in tears and is just really, really, fucking awful, and come to think of it, what the hell were these movie directors even thinking?
I think I need to lie down.