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CARRIE CLASSON (cont.)

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That's when Willard is killed by his little rat friends.

Afterward, I watched a few interviews about the making of the movie. This was before the days of computer- generated imagery and to get the last scene, Bruce Davison was covered with peanut butter and had 600 rats poured on top of him.

They said they shot this scene last because they weren't quite sure how it all would all work out.

I didn't learn how much the young Mr. Davison was paid for his role, but I'm guessing it was not enough. The movie was a huge and unexpected success when it was released, and a slew of killer animal movies followed. There were movies about snakes and killer ants and, of course, “Jaws,” a bit later on. The movie also apparently prompted an uptick in pet rat adoptions.

The idea of horror fascinates me. There are movies and books about dolls and babies and clowns and all sorts of things that wouldn't, under normal circumstances, be scary. I can read horror novels only because I can put the book down and reassure myself that I am still in my home, no monsters in sight.

And maybe that's why we need scary stories right now more than ever.

It's good to leave a scary world and realize that everything is not as terrible as the book or movie. Real life might be less certain than usual, but I can take comfort in the fact that I'm not covered in peanut butter with 600 rats swarming all over me.

Sometimes, you have to take what comfort you can get.

Till next time, Carrie

Carrie Classon is a writer and performer. She is the author of “ I’ve Been Waiting All My Life to be Middle Aged” and a syndicated columnist. Her memoir, “ Blue Yarn,” was released last year. Learn more at CarrieClasson. com.

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