I was 8 years old when Christmas 1989 approached and would’ve considered myself to be a fairly normal kid.
But after Christmas Eve, I was never the same again.
I had developed a passion for football, computer games, music and films. I loved all kinds of films but an experience with Jaws shifted my focus towards the scary stuff. The dark side, if you will.
Watching Spielberg’s classic on TV at Christmas with my family was an exhilarating and intriguing experience. I felt safe sat in between my parents, willing to take on the killer shark, knowing I’d be just fine as long as the television set didn’t pull me into the water!
But as gripping as Jaws was, how could it scare me if I never found myself swimming in the ocean? Of course, there’s no way it could! The thrills dissipated as the credits rolled.
My imagination was wild but it wouldn’t allow for such ridiculous thoughts as a shark attacking me when I’m lying in bed. My worry only existed during the film (and any time I was next due to be in water!).
But those temporary childhood scares were soon to change. Dramatically. I was about to encounter something which would become my most potent, consistent fear button for the rest of my life. Something which I couldn’t reason with or loosen myself from its evil grasp.
As my memory serves, on an early evening in December I saw the first of several adverts on ITV for a film called The Woman in Black, to be shown at 9pm, Christmas Eve.