Paranormal activity almost killed me

Since Cara and I moved in together a hundred or so years ago, my consumption of horror movies has increased exponentially. She likes them. And, truth be told, the genre has grown on me, partly due to some pretty quality stuff being released in the last decade or so. There’s also some outright garbage that can be enjoyable in its own right.

So we watch a lot of scary movies. Or movies that are meant to be scary. They’re often weird, silly, surreal, ridiculous, or — her favorite genre — just plain old gross. If I’d checked out her DVD collection before we moved in I would have seen that she had the entire Saw series on Blu-ray. Then again, her first visit to New York back when we were doing the long distance thing, she made me watch “The Human Centipede.” I returned the favor by suggesting “Teeth.” Both of those are disgusting, but one of them is funny.

But I’ve never seen “Paranormal Activity.” I’d heard it was a modern classic. The thing is, the original never seemed to be on cable or streaming. The sequels were all over the place, but not the original.

Flipping through the channels last night, I noticed it was on. So I started it up. About two minutes in, I was like, “I don’t know about all this.” It was just a little too real. I made it to the first night after the camera’s set up and the ten seconds of feet running down the hall and the keys falling on the floor were about enough for me. I’d just been bragging to coworkers recently that I’d made a lot of progress from the little kid who was scared of everything that went bump in the night. Hell, now I watch grown-up horror movies. But just seeing that one scene, I knew this was going to be the sort of movie that scared the bejeezus out of me and would have me “what was that-ing” all night long.

But I wasn’t going to punk out in front of my wife. She’d seen it before and she’s not a fan of the found-footage genre. I can’t stand shaky-cam and selfies, either. But to be honest, there had been nothing overly shaky or annoying about “Paranormal Activity” up to that point. Still, I very nonchalantly said, “I don’t know if I can deal with this found footage nonsense” and changed the channel.

I’m sure she totally bought it yall.

I landed on “The Illusionist,” which turned out to be a pretty good movie. (Not to be confused with “The Prestige,” also a pretty good movie.) And about halfway through the movie, while Cara and I and the dogs were all on the couch within eyesight of one another, there was a loud commotion in the kitchen. I jumped. Cara jumped. The dogs … well, they whipped their heads around, but that was about it. Since the dogs weren’t barking like crazy, I figured it wasn’t a burglar or monster of some sort. Still, I took my own sweet time turning on the lights and making my way between living room and kitchen.

The plastic hook that holds the splatter screen and the chainmail scrubber (that’s a scrubber maid of chainmail to use on cast iron, not a scrubber to clean chainmail; we’re not a ren-fair household) had fallen off the wall.

Hahaha. Phew. Good times.

Now imagine if we’d been watching “Paranormal Activity” when that happened. I told Cara, “I would have run right out this house and left yall asses behind.”

I don’t know if I would have even bothered to open a door. Right through the windows. Gone. I’d have come back during the day to get my stuff, but that would have been it.

If my life is ever turned into a movie, there’s not going to be a single person in the audience screaming at the screen, “Why are you staying in that house!?! Get out!”


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