Sunday April 21st, 2019 10:21AM

Fear, film and flying monkeys

By Mitch Clarke Editor

Someone on Facebook this week asked her friends to post which movies scared them as children, and it really wasn’t hard for me to decide.

I’ve never really been a scary movie fan. I don’t like being scared, especially while I’m watching something that’s supposed to entertain me. If I want to be scared, I’ll just watch the news from Washington.

Besides, true horror movies don’t make sense. The plots usually have more holes that all the Swiss cheese in Zurich. You know what I’m talking about. A pretty young girl is alone at home. She hears a noise outside, so she goes outside to investigate, and the crazed serial killer gets her. Doesn’t anybody know how to call the police?

Another reason I don’t like horror movies is that many of them involve scenes with thunderstorms, and as anyone who knows me knows, I don’t like thunderstorms. Especially thunderstorms at night, which is when most serial killers in horror movies are doing their thing.

I don’t like how lightning creates that strobe effect in my bedroom during a thunderstorm. Maybe I have watched too many reruns of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” but I’m always afraid a vampire is going to step out of the darkness just as the lightning flashes and get me.

When it’s lightning at night, I always turn on a lamp. Oh, and I try to have a wooden stake nearby, too, just in case.

No, the movie that scared me as a kid – and still creeps me out a little today, to be honest – is “The Wizard of Oz,” which also has bad weather as a theme. As I said, I’ve always been a little afraid of thunderstorms. I know that a thunderstorm might just be the prelude to a tornado, and tornadoes are bad.

Ever since I watched “The Wizard of Oz” as a child, I’ve hated thunderstorms and tornadoes. Bad enough that my house could be destroyed by a tornado, but that movie told me I might also be thrown to a land with talking scarecrows, flying monkeys and wicked witches. I don’t need that kind of fear.

Let’s face it. If you really think about it. “The Wizard of Oz” is a super scary movie. The house gets picked. It crashed in a land of tiny people. Witches fly in in bubbles or an explosion of fire and smoke. Scarecrows talk. Trees can attack people. And monkeys can fly.

In Oz, I might have gotten used to the Munchkins and their funny voices. I could have gotten used to scarecrows, tin men and lions that talked. I might even have gotten used to the Wicked Witch of the West and the fire and the smoke.

But there is no way I’d ever get used to those flying monkeys. They scared the bejesus out of me as a child, and I ain’t wild about them today. In fact, they so bothered me that, even today, when I go to a zoo, I keep a wary eye on the monkey cage, just to be safe.

Later this month, “The Wizard of Oz” returns to theaters for its 80th anniversary as part of Turner Classic Movies’ Big Screen Classics series, and I plan to be there for one of the showings.

But I’m not promising I won’t cover my eyes when the flying monkeys swoop in.

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