because some places are just best left on the silver screen…
It’s early November 2001, and I’m 12 years old sitting on my light pink leather couch. In one hand, theres a piece of popcorn which hovers by my mouth, my left arm suspended in mid-air while my right arm is pulling my terrified 4 1/2 year old brother close. We are watching Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and Joseph is scared because the timid Professor Quirrell was just revealed to be possessed by Harry’s archenemy Lord Voldemort. As captivated as I am by the scene that’s unfolding before my eyes, I spare a glance at my little brother and whisper, “it’s okay, Joey, it’s just a movie.” This seems to calm him just a little bit, but as I went to bed that night, I wished with all my heart that it wasn’t ‘just a movie’ and having read all the books, I fantasized about what my adventures at Hogwarts would be like if it were real.
Now that I’ve got your attention, I’m sure if you took a moment right now that each and every single one of you had a movie that you felt that way about. It’s not surprising to me at all that according to a survey done by statista in 2017 the total box office revenue in North America amounted to 11.38 billion U.S. dollars in 2016 for the year. I think most people would agree that, as Americans, we sure do love our movies. It’s a temporary escape from real life, the chance to connect with characters, and a storyline that is meaningful to the viewer. I know every time I put in movies like Forrest Gump or the Harry Potter series there’s a sense of homecoming. It’s like visiting my hometown and seeing familiar faces and places which provide me with a sense of nostalgia that comes with the sense knowing where I came from and where I’m going.
I don’t need fancy statistics to tell you that people often associate movies with significant times and events in their lives even into adulthood. Think about your current significant other, I bet you that you can remember the first movie that you two saw together. I know whenever I think of the movie Anchorman, I think of that being the very first movie that Tom and I ever watched together as a couple. It’s meaningful and nostalgic and every year on our dating anniversary we snuggle together on the couch and watch that movie for old time sake.
Movie universes become familiar to us, they give us a sense of belonging and introduce us to the characters we love and invest our feelings into. The characters, become more like close friends or family members, and we want to see them succeed at all costs. The setting and plot also play a crucial role in whether we stick around or not, and while I’m sure I could easily think of several movie universes I wouldn’t mind living my real life in, that’s for another post. In this post, I’m going to discuss five movie universes I’m really glad I don’t have to live my real life in. Because let’s face it, some movie plots and settings are best left on the silver screen!
1. Halloween– Any Universe which houses Michael Myers, the iconic knife-wielding killer of the franchise, is NOT a movie universe I want any part in. If someone doesn’t actually die when tranquilized, set on fire, stabbed, ran over, electrified and injected with acid, then that something is not worth going toe to toe with. Michael always symbolized pure evil, evident in the blank look behind his eyes, and any universe that holds that kind of evil is NOT one I wish to be any kind of reality.
2. It– This movie is the reason coulrophobia is a clinical term relating directly to fear of clowns (it’s certainly responsible for mine). Despite the fact that It was actually a shapeshifting monster who appeared in the form of whatever his victim was afraid of, any universe he exists in is not one I want to be involved in. In this universe you’re a part of a group called, The Losers, pre-adolescent kids who are running loose around the outskirts of a small town, bonding during the long summer days and nights with a lack of any kind of parental concern. This, of course, made my inner teacher cringe. In both movies, the new and old, Beverly has a terrifying abusive father; Bill has recently lost a brother, (the iconic scene of the little boy Georgie being lured to his death in the gutters) and his shell-shocked parents have mostly abandoned him to his own devices.
The creature which terrorizes town of Derry, Maine is not for the faint of heart. Watching these outcasts and nerds, whom are largely ignored and forced to find comfort in each other struggle against unspeakable evil is not any universe I want to be a part of. Not for nothing, but in this universe, you’d find yourself being hunted by a pack of ferocious, dangerous bullies — bigger kids who are bored with their sleepy town, and victimize other people for entertainment. If you can call, carving their name into their victim’s stomach, entertainment. You’d also set out to look for a corpse majority of the movie and along the way, become your fellow group member’s emotional support.
This tale doesn’t necessarily have a happy ending, at least in the original book and film where It comes back when the kids are adults and are forced to face their old nemesis once more. Despite the eventual conflict resolution, the universe itself is downright depressing and oppressive and not one I want to be apart of at all.
3. Nightmare on Elm Street-Nothing is more relieving then waking up after a nightmare and realizing that it was just a dream. Not in this universe. In this universe you are hunted down by the burn scar-faced and claw handed Freddy Krueger and if he kills you in your dreams you’re done for in real life. I’m not sure who it would be more disturbing to be in this storyline, Jesse, who watches his ex-girlfriend die in her sleep in front of him then gets blamed for her death or Nancy, the waitress who it’s later revealed was abused by Krueger as a young girl. This universe offers you no sleep and another indestructible villain who,if he could drag the protagonist through a mirror after she cuts his hand off and slices his throat, what chance do you really stand in that universe?
4. The Purge– Unless you live under a rock ANY kind of universe where all crime (including murder) is legal for twelve hours is not my cup of tea, including the idea that the ‘New U.S. government’ in this plot sanctions it. Incase you’ve never heard of The Purge the rules to this movie’s plot are as followed:
▪ The one you heard in the trailer, that siren blares throughout the U.S. to signal the start and end of The Purge.
▪ During this time all police, fire, and medical emergency services remain unavailable or suspended for the twelve-hour Purge.
▪ Ironically, the only people exempt from this Purge are Government officials with “authorization levels” of ranking 10 or higher. It is revoked in Election Year to legalize the murder of a political opponent though.
▪ Weapons of “Class 4” and below are permitted for use while “Class 5” weaponry (explosive devices such as grenades, rocket launchers, bazookas, etc., weapons of mass destruction, and viral/biological and chemical agents) is prohibited.
▪ Public hanging is the penalty for violators of any rules.
Let that sink in. Imagine being totally helpless with your family and friends at risk of being murdered or assaulted and nobody legally obligated to help you. Not my cup of tea and personally I can’t think of anyone who would want themselves or their loved ones in this universe, can you?
5. Predator– Last, but not least, a universe where you are the hunted by an alien. Mind you that running into an alien in any universe is not for me, but how about a universe where you are hunted by one for sport? Not to mention this is an extremely intellegent being who will follow your every move and raise your paranoia to new levels of high, while carefully plotting a sadistic death for you, such as skinning you and keeping your body as a trophy. The Predator also has a plasma weapon, far more powerful than any weapon we humans can obtain. Oh, and did I mention that the Predator has a cloaking device that makes it invisible, and yes he had one before Harry Potter, so to top it all off you can’t see this thing and thats even more frightening. So imagine living in a universe where there are creatures that you can’t see, have plasma weapons, and hunts you down just for sport, does that sound like a fun place to live for you? If the Predator took down Green Berets and an elite paramilitary rescue team, imagine what it could do to the average person like you or me. Yeah, no thanks, I’m good.
Which universes are you grateful do not exist in real life?
Love you. Mean it.