Horror Houses: The Garbage Disposal That Messed Me Up for Life

horror houses tms (3)

I watched a lot of horror as a kid, but the movies didn’t really scare me. Heights? Snakes? Chickens? Terrifying. But scary movies didn’t freak me out, they felt safe, like home.

Except for one. I watched it in the middle of a month long movie marathon. My father’s father had died, dad was depressed, I was home from school, and dad rented several movies everyday. One scary story after another.

And then there was this one. I was eight years old. And suddenly, I was curled around a pillow, too scared to cry, too scared to sit on furniture. (If you’re on the floor, nothing’s beneath you.)

We had just moved into my grandfather’s huge old house with an unfinished basement, and there was this movie where the house was haunted….

I don’t remember much about the movie, except briefly about something in the attic, and the garbage disposal scene. To this day, I will not stick my hand in a drain. I remember this scene in vivid, horrifying detail. High school jock. He taped the light switch up. And then…


But that’s all I remember. I spent the next few years in that big old house wondering if something was in it, waiting to get me. Always replaying the bits of that movie I could remember in my head.

Horrifying movie. Horrifying!

Since our theme this month is Horror Houses, I’ve been thinking about that movie. And I found it.

Amityville: The Evil Escapes (1989), the fourth Amityville movie.  Here’s what IMDB says the movie is about:

The demonic forces in the haunted Long Island house escape through a mystical lamp which finds its way to a remote California mansion where the evil manipulates a little girl by manifesting itself in the form of her dead father.

Yes, it is a movie about a terrifying lamp. Yes, in the end, to make it all stop, they just unplug the lamp and finally throw it out. The end.

Here is the trailer for this TERRIFYING NIGHTMARE.


And here is the garbage disposal scene that messed me up for life.

I’d like to tell you that I watch that scene now and laugh, but honestly, I keep looking away. It took me a couple plays to be able to fully watch it. And it still gives me the heebie-jeebies. Some things get in to your head and became SO BIG that facing them head on doesn’t do as much to make them small as you’d expect. I’m still not sticking my hand anywhere near the garbage disposal (even if someone throws out all the lamps first!).

I’d read and watched a lot of haunted house stories before this one, and even more afterward, but this is still the only one to mess me up. I love that it’s about as cheesy as it can possibly be.

On that note: Do haunted house stories freak you out? Are there any cheesy movies too scary for you to get through? Share your terrors (embarrassing or not) with me in the comments! And pretend that garbage disposal scene above has left you scarred for life, too. The internet buddies that are traumatized together, stay together.

  • Kathy Palm
    March 2, 2016

    Dude. I can not put my hand into the drain with the disposal. CAN NOT! WILL NOT! I have seen this too and ew.
    Really though Poltergeist and the clown doll scarred me for life. To think that something not alive, an inanimate object can move? NO. Just no. I tend to watch things to see if they will move. Dolls. Statues. Though logic says, “That is fiction. Movie effects. You’re fine!” Fear whispers, “YOU ARE GOING TO DIE!”

    • Faith McKay
      Kathy Palm
      March 23, 2016

      I could have guessed the movie that stayed with you was Poltergeist 🙂

      I actually really wanted inanimate objects to come to life as a kid. Like, that was one of my top “things I wished would happen already”

  • The Davis Girl
    March 2, 2016

    “I’m still not sticking my hand anywhere near the garbage disposal (even if someone throws out all the lamps first!)”


    But not with my hand. For me it’s basements. When I’m on the floor there is ALWAYS Something Else beneath me. I don’t do basements. NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE. Maybe I’ll clean your disposal? You clean my basement? Or we could just…not.

    GRATE post. See? See what I did there?

  • Jenny
    February 24, 2018

    YES!!! I just did a search to find out what horror movie had a garbage disposal scene where someone loses a hand…And I found this page/post 🙂
    I watched it under very similar circumstances, (young child binging horror movies with Dad after a loss in the family) and I have never used a garbage disposal because this scene MESSED me up!!!

    • Faith McKay
      February 24, 2018

      That’s wild! I still get the heebee jeebees when I look at the light switch!

  • Natalie
    July 27, 2021

    I told my bff about my fears of the garbage disposal and we are now in our 40s lol. This is the scene that scarred me for life!! ?

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