The Joy of D-Rated Movies
Sometimes bad movies can be a good thing.
The Joy of D-Rated Movies!
My most ridiculous childhood memories and development of childish fears have been shaped by the seemingly innocuous adoration that my mother has for D-rated movies. This tale includes TV shows as well because the woman got her kicks through this medium as well. I have a difficult time to this day just hearing the intro music for the Twilight Zone. In perspective please understand that as a 4 to 6 year old girl my comprehension of sci-fi and horror was not as sophisticated as it is currently, so the concepts went right over my head and the fear of the unknown took over. My mother however was a Trekkie before the label was even a consideration and the Twilight Zone was entertainment for her soul. I can recall hiding under sofa cushions or behind whatever chair she was sitting in praying for it all to be over while she laughed at my angst. “It’s just make believe honey, it’s not real, come on and watch it with me” she would call out to me. I don’t think so lady! What the hell is that thing flying onto people’s back? What are those furry things multiplying non-stop? Why do those people have pig noses? I was seriously confused by all the TV shows and movies she would enjoy with abandonment.
The funny thing is I cannot tell you when this irrational fear subsided and when my own appreciation for the sci-fi and horror genres began. Soon I was binge watching (before it became a national pastime) Star Trek, Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, and any bad horror movie that was being shown on Saturday afternoons. Spending time with my uncles Vincent (Price), Peter (Cushion), and Christopher (Lee) was special time for exploring the funny and sometimes down right stupid acting or action scenes. Mind you, I was having a good time because it was also spending time with my mother who loved hearing my endless questioning of how the women would run around in long white nightgowns in the middle of night during an impending storm with high winds, and not get dirty (truly a wonder). Soon she would join me in pointing out the obvious dumb things in these movies and instead of turning to better entertainment we turned this into a hang out session. I admit it is really addictive because I cannot fathom how people, even today, get a lot of money to produce such trash. Regardless, that ‘trash’ has been a bonding tool between me and my mother and even today when she sits in her room aimlessly watching dumb movie after dumb movie I stop and sit on her bed in amazement of how many times the female characters fall when running from horrible CGI.
As I have gotten older I come to realize that these movies and shows are made purely for entertainment purposes; they are not made to be logical or thought provoking. Although TV shows like the Twilight Zone, Star Trek and Night Gallery had messages but the promulgating of those messages were wrapped in fatuity making them more palatable. My mother uses the movies as a dumb down factor as she is not required to do any thing but to sit and observe. I have watched her sit for hours not doing anything but snacking and watching, only to be interrupted by me sounding as if I was above it all and too good to watch such idiocy. The superiority that I displayed in the past however has waned and I now reside to just appreciate the time spent with my mother laughing at the fake monsters or the umpteenth scream fest at any slight view of a shadow. I honestly enjoy viewing such movies that I have deemed as “D-rated” movies short for dumb ass movies because I get it. These movies are mentally safe environments from real world troubles. As I learned to see my mom as a human being with flaws and imperfections and began to understand that viewing these movies was her escape from the stressors of life. We never talked about anything bothering her when we watched those movies. We just found humor and comfort in them. Giant sharks are never going to be flying around in tornadoes but it is funny to think of the craziness if they did. Dinosaurs are not at no time soon going to be eating campers on some lone island. It is also humorous to see the scientist come up with some scientific scheme with resources that could be used to get off said island instead of killing the monsters with their creation.
I am more and more appreciative of the Sci-Fi channel dedication to making such D-rated movies on rotation because I get to spend more time with my mama. Oddly this bonding experience even extends to the mere action of watching the movies separately in different rooms, knowing that we are laughing at the same parts, questioning the same stupid things, and suggesting to each other what the next stupid movie should be. I love it all and would not change it for anything in the world because now mama has dementia. While I will not go into the discussion of how horrible of a disease that is or what effects it has had on me and my family I will say that it has brought me and mama closer in a different way. She loves the simplistic production of these movies and relives her past when viewing old TV shows. The D-Rated movies are helping us with this progression of memory stealing.
As I previously admitted hearing the Twilight Zone theme music sends a chill down my back but I quickly recover. Star Trek was such an influence on me that I named my first born daughter after the only female black actress on the show. Night Gallery, while never having the same scare factor as the Twilight Zone, confused and disoriented me but now would give anything to see an episode. The creativity of the shows inspire and delight me with possibilities instead of producing “what the heck am I being subjected to mama” questions. Also please understand dear reader that the “D-rating” does not apply to all the many dumb movies being made today. Some are pure trash to which me and mama agree are not worth our time or snacks to even consider viewing (I am speaking to you Cats movie!). We are not viewing these movies to question our existence after all, just enjoying a small window of escapism.
All I am saying is to anyone reading this is pick something, anything that you can to learn to enjoy with your family and friends. You may not like it at first but try to understand what joy those things give for the ones that do. Step outside of yourself and see the other person and how the world has impacted them also. It could be cooking, baking, fishing, sports, dumb reality shows (although that recommendation is random and I detest those shows), puzzles, sewing, anything! Enjoy your time with them. Now me and mama are going to watch some Supernatural because I stan that show hard and she loves it too.