Revisiting Childhood Terror: ARACHNOPHOBIA

I was not allowed to watch or read scary things when I was a kid. I was suggestible and easily scared, even by things that weren’t supposed to be scary. The child-catcher in CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG (1968). The first three minutes of THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (1993). In third grade another child described the events of a Goosebumps book to me at lunchtime and it gave me nightmares. I was not allowed to read Goosebumps books ever after.

So of course I sought out scary things in secret like a masochist. When I was probably about eleven or twelve I spent a lot of time entertaining myself, especially during summer break. Thus, nobody noticed or tried to stop me when I was scrolling cable TV one day and accidentally encountered the most impactful scare of my life: ARACHNOPHOBIA (1990).

I scrolled past it, watched until I got too scared, and then changed the channel to cartoons. A few minutes later I changed it back. I probably watched half the movie this way. Since this is a terrible way to catch plot I still actually have no idea what it’s about except that there are spiders. I have always been very afraid of spiders (isn’t everyone?). Nevertheless, I did watch the scariest three minutes of film I had/have ever experienced: the spider in the shower scene.

I will now recount this scene from memory, twenty years later: A woman is taking a shower. She closes her eyes and puts her face in the stream of water. Right at that moment a big-ass hairy spider walks from the showerhead onto her face. She doesn’t feel it because of the water. The spider then…. yeah. I don’t know what happens after that, I definitely changed the channel. Regardless, I had to thoroughly inspect the bathroom before every shower from then on, in perpetuity to the present. I still do not close my eyes in there. Showers are terrifying.

So let’s do it again!

NOVEMBER 20, 2020, Noon PST: I will be watching ARACHNOPHOBIA in its entirety for the first time. I will be documenting my experience live on Instagram (as I do with all scary movies). ARACHNOPHOBIA is on Prime, YouTube, and IMDBTV if you feel like watching with me!

Update: read about my experience re-watching ARACHNOPHOBIA here!

Published by Brandy N. Carie

Playwright. Director. Producer. Feminist Takes on Horror Films.

2 thoughts on “Revisiting Childhood Terror: ARACHNOPHOBIA

    1. Honestly I don’t know but as an adult I mostly notice the frothy dresses and cheerful singing?
      The child-catcher is still creepy.


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