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The horror, the horror

It was a dark night. I can't remember if it was stormy. I was 6, and my cousin, Dee Dee, was sleeping over. It was definitely a momentous occasion, since our parents were going out.

The babysitter had told us about this great, creepy movie she had seen, about aliens hunting humans for sport. (This was after Jamie Lee Curtis learned to hate Halloween but before Jason went to summer camp.) It was airing that night on cable, and if we promised, promised not to tell my parents, she would let us watch it.

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The movie was called "Without Warning," I remember the title. I remember the horror show when my parents got home, and I ran wailing to them in terror. (My cousin, who was of sterner stuff, would never have ratted.) I don't remember a single frame of the movie.

I've never been able to watch horror films since. When I was younger, even PG-rated movies could turn my stomach, much to my little brother's disgust. (He was ready to trade Disney for "Gremlins" at age 8).

Once, at a slumber party, a whispered, late-night description of "Nightmare on Elm Street," sent me, hand over mouth, to the bathroom. My mom, who had to come get me, felt the need to lecture the girls on not terrorizing their guests. I didn't get invited to too many other sleepovers.

I'm sure there's something to the theory that we like scary movies because it helps us exorcise our real fears. I've just never been able to share in this form of group therapy. Hollywood could save millions of dollars on special effects and fake blood if it took as little to creep out others as it does me.

This is a roundabout way of saying I won't be going to see "Red Dragon" this weekend.