Last night as I lay in bed staring at the air conditioning vent wondering how many small, dangerous people could be hiding in there wanting to kill me and if they did want to kill me would it be slowly, I began to think they should add another rating system to television shows and movies that is more about the person’s murder tolerance level instead of just guessing what a person can handle based on his or her age. This would also dictate theatrical trailers that are televised. Now, I’m not for censorship in the least but I’m also a huge baby. That being said, I have also seen every episode of Criminal Minds.
After I saw a teaser trailer one day for the movie The Strangers unexpectedly while watching reruns of The Golden Girls, I knew there had to be a better way. I literally couldn’t sleep after seeing this trailer for fear that KKK lookalikes in sheets with clown makeup were outside planning the funnest way to kill me without using a gun. I should also probably say that when I was younger I would start crying immediately when the preview for Chucky came on the screen, and my brother, of course, would make me watch it, relishing in my hysteria. I don’t know what sort of marketing ploy advertising movies like The Strangers to innocent people in pjs watching Golden Girls is but it doesn’t seem very successful.
The worst time was on a drive to Ithaca one night when it began to rain so heavily I had to pull over at a motel and I began to believe I was actually in the movie Vacancy. I HAVE NOT SEEN THIS MOVIE. I have only seen the trailer. But through those few painful minutes I saw people coming out of bathroom vents and even Scott Speedman looked scared so I was PISSED as hell to be staying in a Super 8 by myself with a Steve Buscemi lookalike for a manager. I didn’t get murdered that night but I did realize the next morning I left my keys in the car so if there had been a murderer I would’ve been fucked.
So I have a love/hate relationship with the Crime genre/murdery stuff because it sometimes gets into the scary, creepy arena that turns me into a five-year-old girl running downstairs to get my mom to check underneath the deck outside for any possible murderers. But I love the superiority of the feeling when you’re like “I totally knew he was the killer all along.”
I blame my fascination/obsession with crime dramas on my mom because as early as I can remember I slept in her bed watching Silk Stalkings on USA, wandering why cops in Wakefield, Massachusetts didn’t look like the ones in Palm Beach, Florida (although I loved Office Bob way more than Rob Estes).
I blame my fear of what I like to call “real life murders” on my brother: When I was about ten years old I also loved the show The Practice and was fascinated by the nun killer plot line and by fascinated I mean terrified since the plot line came to a close with a sadistic middle aged man in a nun outfit breaking into Lara Flynn Boyle’s apartment and attacking her in the shower. I don’t even know if she died or not–it didn’t matter. That night, after watching that show I had to take a shower (come to think of it, this could be the reason I HATE taking showers now!). My brother with, I can only imagine, a shit-eating grin, mounted the small roof leading to the bathroom window by way of the back deck and tiptoed over to start knocking. First he knocked softly, and as I sat there on the toilet at ten years old preparing to go in the shower, I understood why people in the past had shit their pants.
My brother got a stern talking to, or maybe he didn’t. We didn’t get grounded or punished much at our house. Either way, I was never the same.
BUT I am my mother’s daughter and the urge to watch crime dramas compels me! I will watch Criminal Minds until I think there can be no possible original way to be a serial killer and then I have a new fear to think of while walking to my car at night. But I’d like to skip the episodes where I know I won’t be able to sleep that night if I watch. Like the pervert who was killing college coeds by appealing to their emotional vulnerability via text. That shit could happen. I can take a good revenge plot though because the motivation is clear. The episode of Criminal Minds where three teenage girls who are best friends are kidnapped while having a sleepover and then brought to an underground layer where they are forced to kill one of them if any of them want to survive is not something I can forget about easily.
There has to be a way for people like me to watch only the reasonable murders. Rated G for “generally is scared of murder but can deal with accidental deaths revolving around family betrayal and schemes to get rich” or rated PG for “Partially geared for intake of murder but is limited to the killing of those above the age of 30 and not while in his or her own home.” I think there’s a way we can do this.