When I was in the fifth grade a movie came out based on the popular soap opera Dark Shadows. For those of you who didn’t see the show, it was a gothic soap opera set in modern day with a lot of witches, vampires, ghosts, etc.
During the summertime, I would ride my bike over to my friend Kim’s house and at 3 PM we would all gather around her TV and watch, Dark Shadows. There were two main characters, Barnabas who was a vampire and there was a lady doctor, whose name I don’t recall. Anyway, the show always had a scary, bite scene where Barnabas would show his fangs and lean in to bite someone. We always screamed and covered our faces at that part of the show.
So that was our routine Monday through Friday at 3 PM we would have the beJesus scared out of us and then go back to playing with our Little Kiddles or Barbies. All in all, a very fun summer for girls.
So in the fall when the Dark Shadows movie came to the Bay Theater, we all wanted to go. All of my friends had permission to go, except me and my sister Clare.
I begged and begged my Mom to let me go but she said no. Then my little sister tried, she begged and begged. Finally we both started crying during the begging. But nothing worked. Dark Shadows was opening on Friday and we just had to go.
So we gave it one more college try. I don’t remember what we did differently, but whatever it was, it worked. Mom gave in and let us go to see Dark Shadows at 7 PM on a Friday with all of our friends.
When Friday came we could hardly control ourselves. We all walked downtown to go to the show. Me, my sister Clare, Jody, Terry, Kim, Kathy, Cheryl, I’m not sure if there were others there, but that is all I can remember.
It was dark in the theater and the movie started. We were all sitting together. We were so tense with excitement, we could barely sit in our seats.
As the music got louder and louder we knew what was going to happen, sooner or later Barnabas was going to bite someone. And sure enough, the fangs came out, and he bit someone. Only this time, they showed it!!
During the daytime soap we were used to, we never actually saw the blood squirting out, we would see him lean in and then we would see the body, but not the actual bite.
We were all stunned and we all screamed, very loudly.
The movie went on and it seemed like it was leading up to something pretty big. I’m not good at scary movies especially when I was a little kid, so I got up to go and get something to drink. I thought that the black cherry soda, would calm me down. Or at least give me an excuse not to see whatever was coming up.
I got my soda and opened the door to go back into the theater and saw, all of my friends running up the aisle toward me, screaming. I looked up at the screen and I saw why.
Someone had just shot Barnabas through the heart with a wooden stake and he had his fangs out and was chasing someone. It was really gory. It was the bloodiest thing I had ever seen.
Did I mention that Dark Shadows the soap opera was in black and white? This movie was not in black and white. It was mostly in red.
I turned around and started running myself. Soda and all we ran down to the ladies room in the basement. We just had to calm down but we were all so scared. And it didn’t help that the sound from the movie was being piped into the ladies room. We couldn’t escape.
We all took deep breaths and calmed down. Then we marched back up to see the end of the movie. i don’t even remember what happened after that, but the movie finally ended and we went outside.
It was early fall, so it was dark outside, and it was foggy. Just like the movie. There we were a bunch of little girls walking in the fog, and the dark on the way home from a vampire movie. We jumped at every thing we saw. If the wind blew a leaf across the street, we screamed and ran. Basically we screamed and ran the whole way home.
We got in the house and locked the door. Went to our room and kept the lights on. All night for many nights to come. I don’t recall ever being that scared of a movie, ever.
The blood and gore was hard to ignore and seeing it in color didn’t help. Color. That movie made me long for the good old black and white TV show. And just why was our house surrounded with big scary trees? I didn’t notice that before, why all the trees? Why all the leaves blowing and making that rustling sound? Why the fog? We were sure that Barnabas was coming for us.
I never begged my Mom to let me go to another movie again. Even at the age of 11 I realized that perhaps she did know a little more than I did about whether or not something was ok for me to see. If I had known that the movie was as bloody as it was, I wouldn’t have asked to go. Honestly, I wouldn’t have asked.
It’s a hard thing to admit when something is too much for you. As an adult, we rarely have to admit that we can't do things anymore, unless of course you have a problem like ohh, let me see, like AA for example.
When I can’t do something that I’ve done in the past, it makes me crazy. Even worse is the fact that everyone expects that I can’t do something. Like the laundry.
The other day my husband called and asked what I was doing and I told him I was laying down and that my back hurt a lot. He asked me what I had been doing. I admitted that I had done 3 loads of laundry.
I knew that I shouldn’t have done it, but I wanted to help out and I wanted to prove that I could still do things around the house and so I did the laundry. That was Monday, today is Friday, it still hurts and I’ve had to get stronger pain meds from my doctor to deal with this level of pain. All because I thought it would be ok to try something that I knew I shouldn’t do.
So will I do it again? Probably Why can’t I learn to accept these limits? I don’t know, I think I’m probably a little stubborn, but I think the real reason is that for each thing I stop doing, like laundry, working, weeding the garden, etc. I give up a little part of me. And that hurts.
I have already given up a lot of things in the past three years, it doesn’t seem fair to keep giving away more of me. I’m afraid there will be nothing left so I am holding on to things I know I should let go.
Eventually I know that I’ll learn from my mistakes and stop doing things that hurt. In the meantime, just like when I begged to go see that movie, I’ll do things that I know I shouldn’t just so I can be like the other “kids on the block”. After all these years I still want to fit in with my friends and be like everyone else. I still want to be me.