Seemingly overnight, I've gone from having to hold my boys on my lap during the scary parts of Wizard of Oz, to hiding my eyes when we watch movies they love. I've always been easily frightened by movies - I like to think it's because of my artistic temperament and vivid imagination, but maybe I'm just a wimp. (Actually, as a kid, I used to be so terrified by the witch in Wizard of Oz that I pretended I was rooting for her, so I wouldn't fall apart when she looked like she was triumphing; of course, I only had to resort to this strategy during the once-a-year broadcast, which we watched on our old black & white TV. We didn't get a color television until I was too old to stay home for the movie, so the first time I saw it in color, it was during a finals-week movie night in college, and when Dorothy opened the door to the technicolor of Munchkinland, I was at first convinced I'd picked up a contact high.) (Trying to explain this story to kids who don't remember life before DVDs and on-demand movies is just about impossible - even with leaving out the 'contact high' angle!)
My boys have always loved movies with explosions and technical wizardry -evil characters don't frighten them at all, and they sneer at the limited special effects in movies from my era ("Geez, mom, that exploding planet in Star Wars Episode Four is so lame!"). The new Star Wars movies were a bit too graphic for my taste (although I was even more frightened by the terrible acting!), but I kept up with the boys until the Lord of the Rings trilogy came out - David got the full directors' cut set as a gift, and he was really upset that I wouldn't watch it with him. So we struck a deal - I would sit through the 2nd one (with the really gory battle scenes) and he had to watch the 'chick flick' of my choice ("Clueless", which he ended up thoroughly enjoying).
Well, last night, we came full circle - without consulting me, Husband 2.0 rented "I Am Legend" for a guys' movie night. I came home, watched about 2 minutes and fled - explosions or global panics are one thing, but I was out of there at the first sighting of a flesh-eating zombie. The boys teased me for leaving, but at bedtime, all of a sudden they were both suddenly freaked out by the realistic premise and afraid they'd have nightmares. I made up some scientific-sounding nonsense about variations in human DNA and cancer strains and the impossibility of a mutating virus spreading that quickly, and they both settled down - it felt vaguely reminiscent of checking for monsters under the bed and reassuring them that the witch wouldn't come to get them in their sleep.
And I'm picking the next night-time movie!