I think my last entry touched on anxiety. This is nothing new for me. For some reason, it reminded me about several incidents throughout my life where I've been obsessed with things that scared me, which meant I thought about them all the time even though I knew I was freaked out by them for no reason I could explain. Here's a list of certain movies, songs, and other media that have freaked me out for short periods of time along with anecdotes about each. I almost always end up looking back on these periods and wondering why they had such a strong effect on me, probably because I don't feel that way at all currently. Luckily, I am not as prone to these bouts of anxiety, but as I was reminded earlier in the week, I am not immune to new disturbances cropping up from time to time even now.Fantasia: Night on Bald Mountain
I loved Fantasia
as a kid. Coming from a family who had so much music in their background, I suppose this isn't a surprise. (My father is a near-prodigy at piano, has perfect pitch and plays by ear to this day though he's going deaf; my mother also played piano; all of my siblings had piano lessons, but in addition, my brother has perfect pitch, sang, and played tuba; my older sister played drums; my younger sister plays guitar; and I played flute and clarinet, which I ought to try picking up again one of these days.) My parents tried to instill in all of us an appreciation for all kinds of music, and one of the easiest ways to introduce us to classical music was through Disney. I adored most of Fantasia, from The Nutcracker Suite
to Dance of the Hours
, because most of it involved happy, dancing animals or other anthropomorphized animals.
Then we got to Night on Bald Mountain
, and I would hide in another room. I don't know what it was about the segment, but all the demons running around with the culmination of the devil being revealed set to that music managed to break my little brain every single time. I'd lay awake after watching it and run it over and over in my mind, thinking about how evil it was and how the devil was everywhere waiting to pull me into his grasp. I'd heard about the devil at church, but I think having him represented that way in all his fire and brimstoney glory crystallized something in my brain and stayed with me a long time. I still can't think about it without feeling kind of sheepish about the whole thing, probably because I am not very religious these days.Toys
My dad had a lot of movies. He tended to buy whatever he thought looked interesting so he could watch it later, which could range from action to drama to comedy. He got to where he wouldn't let my siblings and I watch them until we "checked them out" with him first, but before that, we had pretty much free reign of whatever ended up in the movie cabinet. One of those movies was Toys
. With a family history of liking Robin Williams movies (Mrs. Doubtfire
, Patch Adams
, etc.), it seemed reassuring that he was on the cover, especially in a funny looking hat and under a innocuous sounding title. Boy, was I lulled into a false sense of security. The movie is about an eccentric toymaker who dies and wills his toy factory to his brother, who is a military general. The toymaker's son, played by Robin Williams of course, is more like his father and wishes to see the factory continue to make toys, while the general is very serious and begins to make weapons instead of toys. When Robin William's character decides to fight back against his uncle and storms the factory, my brain broke. I can't find video of the exact scene that gave me anxiety, but here's the trailer.
I have no idea why I found the scene (which involved exploding wind-up toys in a very dark setting) so upsetting. I think it has to do with my strange latent pacifism even as a kid. Through most of my childhood, any time I saw something that involved very overt conflict, even if it wasn't very violent, I would be very uncomfortable. I haven't watched the movie since that time, but watching the trailer makes me think I might find the metaphors and story-telling very ham-handed and ridiculous now. However, I still can't see why this movie was even remotely marketed toward children. Very odd.Ed Gein
In college, I spent way too much time looking up random stuff on the internet. (That's not to say I've stopped, only that it's slowed way down because I don't have as much time or interest these days.) As I was surfing the web one evening, I ran across a link talking about a documentary that was being made that talked about Ed Gein. Having never heard of him before (and the link saying that this was the man who inspired both Silence of the Lambs
and Buffalo Bill in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
), I did a search for Ed Gein and was subsequently horrified at what I found.This might even have been the first site I ran across.
The more I read on various sites about his crimes (necrophilia, skinning, and woman suits, oh my!), capture and trial along with seeing pictures of the crime scene and Ed Gein himself, the more I felt deeply disturbed by it.
However, a few days later, I was barely fazed by it. I've even gone on to read about other serial killers and found their stories fascinating rather than repelling, probably because I have more separation from it now, and these days, Mike and I watch a lot of ID Discovery, which has a lot of true crime stories of a similar nature. Shrug.GG Allin
Later on, I remember a certain journal I read (who was authored by someone I went on to meet and marry one day ;) ) spent a lot of time talking about various punk bands as well as a man named GG Allin.GG Allin's Official Site
I spent a couple of nights pouring over GG Allin's story, from his terrible upbringing to videos of him with underage girls on talk shows to his shows where he cut and abused himself in various ways to his death and funeral. It all seemed so crazy to me that I came back to it again and again for a while, trying to understand why someone would live that kind of life. I think I eventually came to the conclusion that I couldn't really understand, though I find it interesting that I never really listened to much of his music, which was disturbing enough, though that's why I went searching in the first place. It's probably better that youtube wasn't as active back then or I might have gotten more into his music. I find it funny that I've had dreams about GG Allin since Mike has moved in, though, because my subconscious remembers somehow. Heh.
EDIT: And Mike just played me a GG Allin song, and I had to laugh at the whole thing, so I guess I'm cured. ;)
I've had several minor obsessions since then, though most of those are situational rather than media-based. For example, I was very weirded out by Carnival's 'Poop Cruise'
last year, maybe because I kept thinking about how horrible that would be to experience. I also was very horrified by Robert Swift's foreclosed mansion
, again because I couldn't imagine how someone would allow that kind of situation to happen or understand why anyone would destroy such a beautiful home and life. However, these stories also tend to take on a flavor of the week, as my obsession with them is short-lived and I'm easily distracted after a few days, which is good. I don't know what I'd do if I had to live with these odd obsessions all the time, and I'm glad they eventually are overtaken by daily concerns and life.Obsession: Dark Desires
Still, like I said when I began, I am still vulnerable to these feelings, and I was reminded of this earlier this week. Mike and I watched an episode of Obsession: Dark Desires
the other evening, and even though it's a stupid TV show in that soft-documentary style that has the victim telling her story to the camera with reenactments of what happened to her played by ridiculous actors, I was scandalized.I like what you've done
I don't know if it was the woman's craziness, her stalking or the story of what happened to her victim in general (or the fact that this runs parallel to my own sister's stalker killing himself recently, which brought up a host of anxiety-triggering memories from years ago), but I ended the evening telling Mike that I never wanted to watch that show again. That was probably an overreaction in retrospect, though I don't really feel like I need to see more shows about stalking. I'm still feeling kind of jittery about it, but I'm sure that feeling will go away.
If memory serves, it all does eventually.