When I was younger, I used to love watching scary movies. The scarier and gorier, the better. Nothing made my day more than settling down to a 90-minute scream fest in which all the pretty young things on screen were chopped, sliced and diced by Freddy Krueger. I always imagined that the horrible bullies at my school were the ones up there being tortured.
Needless to say, I watched ‘Scream’ and ‘Final Destination’ and all its sequels at least a dozen times each. But since no one I knew liked scary movies, invariably, I would go alone.
I loved the sensation of being scared witless, slowly slouching lower into my seat as the stupid girls on screen walked around the corridors of a dark deserted house in their bikinis while whispering, “Hello? Is anybody there?”
And when it was all over, and the credits rolled, still I would sit there, waiting for that last final thrill just in case there was extra surprise footage at the end. And usually, it would suddenly occur to me that I was the only one left in the cinema. Well, me and the cinema cleaner who was slowly sweeping up all the spilt popcorn.
And then I’d start wondering if the cleaner turned out to be a homicidal maniac, no one would hear me scream.
Then one day, I matured and grew up. I started watching the wave of Japanese and Korean horror ghost movies and brought my self-induced terror level up to a whole new dimension.
“You really are sick,” my flatmate Amanda said recently when I brought home a stack of DVDs I’d bought on sale at HMV. She picked through the titles. “Oh my God, ‘The Ring’?”
“The original version, not that stupid Naomi Watts thing that wasn’t even remotely scary!”
Later that night, I overheard her complaining to Saffy. “It must be a boy thing!”
“My brother’s exactly the same!” Saffy reported. “His all time favourite movie is ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’! It’s truly sick! And now, he’s addicted to ‘True Blood’!”
“Oooh, I hear that’s very good,” Amanda cooed.
“How can that be? It’s about vampires!” The air pressure dropped slightly from the force of Saffy’s puffed up bosom.
“But they’re cute vampires! And the werewolves are even hunkier!”
“Werewolves? Seriously, Amanda, who did you sleep with at Harvard to get that degree?”
There was a moment of wounded silence, but Amanda didn’t come top in her class, or end up the second highest fee-earner in her office by being soft, and it would take more than Saffy to inflict any long term damage.
“OK, where’s my iPhone?” Amanda murmured, rummaging in her bag. She whipped out her phone and slid her finger across the screen.
“Look at my screensaver!” she ordered and thrust the phone in front of Saffy who stared. And then stared some more.
“Good Lord, who is this guy?”
“It’s Alexander Skarsgard! He plays Eric Northman, a vampire in ‘True Blood’!”
“Oooh, he can scar me anytime!”
“I told you! And his father is Stellan! He was one of the fathers in ‘Mamma Mia’!”
You could practically see the exclamation marks hanging in the air.
“Oh, that’s not a good thing,” Saffy said doubtfully. “My mother always said that if you want to know what your boyfriend will look like in 30 years, take a look at his father.”
Amanda sighed. “Who cares what he’s going to look like in 30 years? He’s hot now! In 30 years, you and I will be so nipped and tucked we won’t be able to smile without farting!”
Saffy later said to me that it always astonishes her whenever she remembers that Amanda had gone to a Swiss boarding school. “She can be so incredibly crude! I’m sure that kind of talk was never on the school curriculum!”
“So, you’re watching ‘True Blood’ now?” I asked.
“Well, I’m just about halfway through the first season DVD box-set,” Saffy said. “It’s all rather creepy and everyone seems to doing things only at night! And can I just say that there’s a lot of very unnatural sex going on?”
When she mentioned this to Sharyn, her best friend gaped at her. “Ay,” Sharyn said, her thick glasses fogging up. “My pastor say you shouldn’t watch these devil shows! You die while watching, you kena go to hell!”
“There are no such things as vampires, Sharyn!” Saffy said calmly as she tucked into her bee-hoon lunch. “And if there were, they ain’t never gonna be as drop dead gorgeous as Bill Compton and Eric Northman, lemme tell ya!”
“Why you talk so funny?” Sharyn demanded.
“I'm talking like the characters. God, I wish my life was an HBO show!”