Editor’s note: Every Friday, HLN brings you the "My First Time" series. It explores the first time your favorite celebrities did something significant or memorable (so get your mind out of the gutter!).
In this installment, actor Marlon Wayans — whose film, “ A Haunted House,” parodies scary films like “Paranormal Activity” and comes out in theaters on January 11 — opens up about his current and childhood fears.
HLN: When was the first time you were truly scared?
Marlon Wayans: I was scared of this bully named Wilbur, and my brother Shawn beat him up for me. But just the thought of having to fight him scared me. He was a big dude and we were skinny — we were hungry kids. And I remember watching Freddie Krueger. I was the 7-year-old drinking coffee. I was staying up. I was not going to sleep. So that scared me.
HLN: What scares you today?
MW: Death. Everybody asks, “Are you scared to see ghosts? What would you do if you saw a ghost?” I’d talk to it! I would be happy because then I’d know that there’s life after death and I wouldn’t be as scared of death. What happens when you die? I’d want to party and hang out. I’d be mad if everybody else was hanging out without me. And where does everyone go? Am I going to be a bird? I don’t want to be a bird! I don’t want to poop green.
HLN: Is that what scares you about death — that you don’t know what you’ll be after you die?
MW: No, I just love life. I don’t want it to ever end.
HLN: What would be the scariest way to die?
MW: Any type of death is scary. It could be a mosquito bite, meningitis, a car accident. It could be that I fell down the stairs or got hit by a car. It could be the flu. Just death in general.
HLN: So do you try to live your life to the fullest every day?
MW: I enjoy every moment. I haven’t had a miserable day in I can’t tell you how long. It’s just the way I think. I could hear the worst news and I find the best lessons in it. I never look for a reason to feel bad or to die. I look to live and to learn and to laugh.
HLN: You mentioned ghosts earlier — do you believe in them?
MW: No, but I do believe in crazy people who speak different voices and shoot green stuff out of their mouths. I believe in insanity. But I don’t know about exorcism — that always looked like it’s all acting.
HLN: Your newest film, “A Haunted House,” is a parody of the lost footage-style films, but this isn’t your first spoof. What sets it apart from your other work?
MW: Actually, this one is different because it’s not a spoof. This one is more of a horror-comedy with parody moments. There’s a story in this movie: A girl moves in with her boyfriend and she brings a demon or a ghost with her, and the ghost winds up coming in between their relationship. There are some really funny characters. So it’s not as desperate as a parody, yet it’s as funny as a parody.
HLN: What draws you to this genre?
MW: First, you’ve got to love it. A lot of times, you love a genre and then you hate it. And once you start hating it, that’s when you can start poking fun at it. Originally, I loved “Paranormal Activity” 1 and 2, but then along came all these other ones, and you’re just like “OK… enough!” But it lends itself to laying out a story that everybody’s used to seeing and then we just flip the story.
HLN: Did you have to watch a lot of the lost-footage style films?
MW: Over and over and over again.
HLN: They’re pretty scary films — did they scare you, even after watching them so many times?
MW: I was scared that I’d have to watch them again.
HLN: Are you a scaredy cat in the theater? Do you jump and scream and grab on to the seat?
MW: Listen, I don’t think any guy’s a scaredy cat in the theater. You know what makes guys scared in theaters? Girls! Because y’all see something and you scream and then he screams and it’s like, “Would you stop? If you didn’t do that, I wouldn’t be screaming like a girl!”
HLN: So you have screamed out like a girl in a movie theater?
MW: I didn’t say I did that. I’m saying that it could happen.