Darkness Falls, Paranoia Rises

This is a special post, because it allows us to introduce to you our summer intern extraordinaire, Taylor.  We made her re-live her worst horror movie moment for the sake of the UWA blog.

The Horror Movie Moment That Changed My Life
By Taylor Covington, OWA Intern

Childhood can be a wonderful time. It can also be the critical point in life where horrific fear becomes ingrained, which later evolves into adult anxieties. I am of course referring to my excellent dental care, and the extreme care with which I attend my teeth—all because I watched the 2003 film DARKNESS FALLS at far too young an age. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I love and always will love a good Horror movie. Despite my aversion to dental decay and darkness, I am a huge fan of Horror movies—the cheesier the better. However, I believe the experience is best enjoyed with a group, because my best (or worst depending on how you look at it) moments have been while I was tightly packed between at least two of my closest friends. I met my best friend to this day in 7th grade, and part of our early bond was our shared love of Horror movies far too old for us. After perusing the aisles of Blockbuster one day—yes, that was a thing—we found DARKNESS FALLS. Rated PG-13, and we were only 11. Score. 

Her room was located and the end of a long hallway, with her bedroom door swinging inwards away from her room. And her father loved to pull pranks. I say this because, as I said before, Horror movies are often amplified by a Horror experience—this like any other. 

DARKNESS FALLS, for those of you who haven’t heard of it, centers around the town of the titular name and Matilda Dixon, an elderly woman who gave the children of the town sweets and gold coins for their teeth, earning the nickname the Tooth Fairy. But at the hands of a paranoid town, she is unjustly executed, her disfigured face revealed finally in daylight. In her final moments, she curses the town promising to punish the town and all of its generations. And for the sake of conflict, years later, a young boy survives the encounter and lives to adulthood. 

Two things are important here: 1) this vengeful spirit populates the dark and fears the light and 2) children with missing baby teeth are her main victims. What is more terrifying to two eleven-year-old girls sitting in the pitch black darkness? The movie ends. Everyone survives, but narrowly at best. Definitely without some horrific images of a white immobile face and black talon-like hands. With the screen dark, shadows turned to charred, tattered robes, and the scratching trees outside became the rasp of furious ghost. 

Without a pause, we leapt to our feet and bolted to the door, to the light. We yanked the door open—and onto our heads tumbled something plastic. It fell to our feet, and looking up at us was the damaged and faded head of a baby doll, missing one eye. We shrieked. At that moment, the hallway lights overhead switched off and to this day, I don’t think I’ve ever screamed louder. We raced down the hallway, into my friend’s mother who was rushing over to see what was wrong. As we sobbed incoherently, her father sat on the couch, also crying, but from stifling laughter. 

I brushed my teeth religiously after that. 

Well, for about a week.

As time went on, I took care to keep my mouth clean, more from the disgusting photos of dental rot the dentist showed me when I got my braces than from a traumatic experience as a child. I still think DARKNESS FALLS is an excellently fun movie and I offer it up every Halloween to my new, grown-up group of friends, my old one still among them. Horror movies are often seen as grotesque and crude, which many of them are, but the thrill, the rush, and sometimes, the lessons learned are too good to be kept to yourself. I learned this: brush your teeth more often than you think you should, and pick your feet up when jumping into bed at night—just to be sure.

It’s moments like these, and many others, that make me excited to be a part of Under Worlds Austin! I can’t wait to see the community to come together to enjoy the one thing we all have in common: a love of being scared out of our socks!