My Crippling Fear of the Film “Signs”

By: Chelsea Pingston

I was 7 years old when I first saw the film, Signs. It’s basically a science fiction thriller about an alien invasion and how a family that lives on a farm deals with it. I’m really bad at summarizing plots so click here for a more in depth summary. Anyway, my oldest sister was babysitting me while our parents were at work or running errands during the film’s opening night in theaters. She decided to take me along with her friends to see the film and told me not to tell mom or dad. I had no idea what the film was about or why she wanted to keep it a secret from our parents. I was just excited for a night at the theater with my sister and her friends (mainly because she never included me with her friends because of our age gap). I remember my excitement of the drive to the theater and the pure euphoria I felt when my sister bought me a bag of popcorn and an icee (looking back on it, she was totally bribing me so that I wouldn’t tell our parents what we were doing). All of us gathered into the theater and chose the back row where the cool kids sat and soon enough the lights turned off and the film began. The film started with me happily munching on popcorn and the film ended with me on my sister’s lap and wrapped in her shirt. She was clearly frustrated with me because of how much the film terrified me.

Once we got home that night I slept in my parent’s bed with the scene of the black, faceless alien walking across the yard at the child’s birthday party replaying over and over in my head. Here’s the scene I’m referring to (I was literally shaking when I searched for this video clip for you guys).

I began to sleep with my parents every night for almost a week. They finally sat down and asked me why I was so scared until I told them the truth (with much dismay from my sister). They were mad at my sister for allowing me to see the movie and they were frustrated with me because my fear of aliens stuck with me for another two weeks until my mom did the coolest thing any mom could ever do. She finally sat me down and called the actor who played the alien in the movie and had him talk to me on the phone and explain to me that the alien was not real and that he was just an actor. He even went as far as to tell me that if aliens were real, that they were harmless. After that phone call felt so relieved. It was incredible. That night and every night after that, I slept peacefully in my own bed.

Years later my mom and I talked about what she had done for me. She admitted to me that I had not talked on the phone with the actor from Signs, but she had instead called our local theater and asked a young usher to convince me, her daughter, that he was the actor of the alien and asked him to help me not be afraid of the film anymore. I will never forget what my mom and the theater usher did for me. It had helped me overcome not only my fear of aliens, but also every horror movie I had watched from that day forward. It helped me realize that the monsters on screen were just actors and actresses, nothing more.

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6 thoughts on “My Crippling Fear of the Film “Signs”

  1. It’s kind of funny when we look back at things we were scared of as kids, but it also goes to show how impressionable we are when we’re young. I had a lot of similar experiences, like when I watched “It” and obtained my (still somewhat present) fear of clowns, or when I watched “Mirrors” and had to cover the mirror in my room before I could fall asleep. It’s so great that your mom made an effort to assuage your fears, and also that you completely believed her and could stop being scared!

  2. Reading this I was like “what the heck, how many actors does your mom have on speed dial!?” But that’s exactly how I felt about the movie “Chuckie,” you know the one with the evil little doll that kills people or whatever. Honestly, I never even saw that movie; I just saw the movie poster and couldn’t sleep for months. I needed my parents to give me a “happy thought” every night before I go to bed. Looking back, I can’t believe how terrified I was over something so small and I’m sure you feel the exact same way. It’s good that we can get over our small fears but it always feels like there’s something else just waiting to keep us up at night.

  3. There’s nothing that makes me want to watch a movie more than hearing that someone else found it terrifying! The movie summary sounds interesting, and while that scene isn’t the scariest thing I’ve ever seen, it did give me more chills than I expected it to. And your mom is awesome – that’s such a sweet and creative way to reassure you.

  4. Your mother is so sweet for working that hard to help you overcome your fear! I’ve never heard of this movie but the trailer really intrigued me. I think that it is interesting becasue one of the characters mentions that this film is a documentary and the way it is presented gives off that feeling as well. This horror technique really draws me in becasue I always love a true story with a twist to it, and this just seems so real becasue sleep paralysis is something that many people suffer from.

  5. It’s been years since I have seen the movie Signs, but reading this brought back some fears! Im curious, do you believe in aliens? I have no idea if I really do, but my dad was always a strong advocate for them, so I am curious if any fans of Signs believe in aliens to some extent. Anyways, your mom seems awesome for doing that for you. I can relate to being scared after viewing horror of the screen, and, to this day, I still get pretty traumatized by things, even when I do know they are just actors! Its crazy what Hollywood can do!

  6. I was about to say that I wanted to be friends with your mom haha. That is so cool of them to do that for you. When I was younger I was so scared of the zombies in The Haunted Mansion that my parents made me go to therapy. It was rough.

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