Don’t get too scared...or do
If I’m being honest I’m a bit of a fanatic when it comes to horror movies. I will watch anything that comes into my field of view whether it’s a 80s classic like “Nightmare on Elm Street” or something new in my Netflix suggestions. I love horror movies almost to the point where they have become predictable when I watch them.
I know I’m not alone in my addiction to the frightening; I have several friends whose idea of a good time is just sitting on a couch having a “Friday the 13th” marathon (excluding Jason X). But why do we like to get scared so much? What makes us voluntarily want to experience terror for entertainment?
For me it truly is about enjoying getting scared. When I watch a good horror movie that actually manages to freak me out it’s like a feeling of adrenaline. I like that feeling of being scared when I know I don’t technically have anything to be afraid of and when a horror movie manages to do that, it goes in “Greydon’s List of Horror Movies That are Good Because They are Actually Good” or GLHMTGBTAG, I need to work on that name. Most recently the 2017 rendition of Stephen King’s “It” really impressed me. Everything about the fear factor in that film was fantastic.
Another one of my favorite horror movies is the 2008 film “The Strangers.” If you haven’t seen the movie I won’t spoil it, but come on people it came out like almost ten years ago. It has some truly scary moments that will have you looking over your shoulder because everything that happens in “The Strangers” is technically possible. It has no paranormal monster and no extraterrestrial visitors. “The Strangers” is just about a group of crazy people that antagonize a couple and I think that is what gets to me the most about it.
When I watch a film like “Alien” or “Paranormal Activity” I know that those things could never happen to me because they rely on a form of horror that is not real. Psychological thrillers though are often realistic enough that you start to get those thoughts of “this could actually happen to me.”
There are some horror movies, however, that I watch for other reasons. Not everything in the horror genre is good. In fact I’d say only about 15 percent of horror films are truly good movies. Luckily about half of that remaining 85 percent fall into a category of being so bad that they are good. These movies have bad actors, bad lines and usually really stupid antagonist. But in some bizarre form of overall terribleness the films end up being hilarious. If you want examples watch a Scy-Fy original movie some time.
For the most part though when I start a film that labels itself as scary, I do it because I expect to be scared. That being said the cinema is not the only way to experience horror. I love a good scary story and in some ways reading something scary can be more terrifying because it is up to your mind to visualize the monster. Some Authors have nailed down the set-up to make reading a page sends shivers down your spine and that is the feeling that horror fanatics crave.
One of my favorite forms of frightfulness is something you can typically only experience as you get closer to Halloween. Haunted house are something that I absolutely love and I’m not talking about that house three doors down from yours that has always been abandon but sometimes you hear things when you walk by it. I’m talking about themed attractions where people in costume try to scare you as you make your way through a dark and heavily decorated house of horrors.
Just this past weekend I went to a haunted house in Memphis and it was amazing. They had animatronics that would move based on motion detectors and some truly terrifying costumes. Every year after I get out of a haunted house I always say to myself “why is this not an all year event?”
The festive time of horror may not be for everyone, but if you’ve never given it a try I recommend you ask whoever you know that is a fan of the genre what their favorite horror movie is. You might just enjoy yourself or you might wet yourself, one of the two.