Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sybil Gave Me Nightmares for Years

I just read that Sybil, the 1976 TV movie starring Sally Field which gave me post traumatic stress as a child, is now available on DVD. Apparently, I was 5 years old when I saw it on TV. I remember sneaking into the den because I couldn't sleep and crouching next to the door watching the movie. The slacker baby sitter (who was this terrible baby sitter? My dad?) let me watch more than a few scenes. The scene that terrified me most was Sybil's scary grey haired mother locking her in a trunk.

The baby sitter's decision to let me watch that movie ended up giving me nightmares for years. In my dream I would run from the crazy lady who was trying to put me in a trunk. How could I get away? Slow motion molasses legs etc.

I can't imagine ever letting Elliot watch something like that. Disney movies are off limits. Everyone knows about the powerful influence of moving images on the mind, especially when we're passive. Fantasia scared millions of young kids in the 70s. At least I was safe in a theater with my mom. Sybil and child abuse in my living room was far worse.

I read Sybil in high school because I had to come to terms with my fears. I found it fascinating. I saw the movie on video. It wasn't as terrifying I had remembered.

Amazon Plane Crash. Flesh Eating Worm Movie.
Another movie I saw when I was around 5 or 6 that profoundly affected me was about a woman who survives a plane crash in the amazon (I don't know what it's called). It was dubbed in brazilian accented english which added to the strangeness.

A woman is alone, stumbling bloody and hungry in the jungle. She narrowly escapes a piranha attack while she's bathing in a river. My most vivid memory is of this woman squeezing worms out of her wound encrusted arms. I'm starting to think transformer cartoons aren't so bad.

1 comment:

sarah mac said...

i am dying to know what this film is called. i, too, was scarred for life after watching this film on tv as a child (maybe 6 or 7). the worms...oh, the worms!