I'm not a rabid devotee of This American Life with Ira Glass, but I usually end up listening to at least part of it on Sunday while I'm driving around doing errands. (The radio is permanently tuned to NPR. I don't even know the call numbers of any other stations in my area).
There's always one segment that really grabs my attention, forcing me to sit my car, in the parking lot of whichever store I'm at, until it's over. Today, I heard the show's production manager, Seth Lind, talk about seeing an inappropriate movie as a child. When he was 6 years old, he watched The Shining and had nightmares and trouble falling asleep for two years afterward. (Lind is also a member of the improv group Thank You, Robot.)
The segment got me thinking about my age-inappropriate movie - Psycho. As a horror movie, it would probably be considered pretty tame today - I mean, it's not even in color - but it was scary enough for me. Actually, for me, it would be inappropriate at any age. As I mentioned in my review of the play The 39 Steps, I'm pretty squeamish.
I started watching Psycho on tv once when I was a little kid (or maybe not so little, I don't remember). I got as far as the shower scene. It made me so nauseous that I had to flee to the safety of my bedroom. I don't remember any nightmares or sleepless nights. But because of that experience, until fairly recently I pretty much swore off all Alfred Hitchcock movies. You can't be too careful.
I've never revisited Psycho and I'm certain I don't want to - ever. But I've mostly overcome my fear of Hitchcock and I've enjoyed many of his films over the past couple of years, including Vertigo, Rear Window, The Man Who Knew Too Much, The Trouble with Harry, North by Northwest and The 39 Steps, all without any ill effects.
Okay, I'm not big on heights, so I was a little nervous about Vertigo, but knock on wood, it went well. Of course, none of those is really scary. I've stayed away from The Birds, though. I have a feeling that one would be a little too intense and I don't want to press my luck.