This Week, We Just Love To Terrify Ourselves

I’m not a horror movie person.

There are thousands of other things that I would rather do than watch a scary movie. Let me reiterate that: THOUSANDS. However, once in a while, I will succumb to some freak urge of mine to watch something scary.

Watching a movie that terrifies me is so insane. Why would I do it, if I know that I can’t deal with it? It’s not even a cathartic experience. I just get anxious and paranoid.

Case in point, in 2009 little 20-year-old me thought she was going to be hard and watch Paranormal Activity. The story revolves around a couple that is being haunted by a demon…and it all happens while they’re sleeping. I can handle ghosts and spirit stories relatively okay, but there is something about demonic entity crap that just overwhelms my soul (also, getting murdered). I blame it on my Catholic upbringing and the Church, sort of, saying exorcisms are real*. Anyhow, I couldn’t sleep for three days. Three sleepless nights me staring at my ceiling and refusing to look anywhere else.

Oooh, and then, around Halloween last year, the radio station that I listen to played a recording of a real-life exorcism. I almost died. Could I have changed the station as soon as they announced it? Of course, I could have, but I didn’t. I think I can deal with the things that logically I know aren’t real,  but then it turns out that I can’t.

Of course, I’m not the only one that has a penchant for occasionally terrifying herself. I have some predictions for what would happen if you we all did it simultaneously (you can’t help walking out of theater slightly paranoid):

1. Fight or flight reflexes would kick in. Personally, and amazingly, I’m a fight kind of girl. If you jump out at me to scare me, I will hit you.

2. Injuries would be on the rise (see above).

3. At least whoever is profiting from simulated human terror would be happy (example: the people who made that insensitive Chernobyl movie).

4. More than one person would have a breakdown. You can only push yourself so far, people. I’m sure this would happen to me. I would start seeing things after a few movies.

I salute you if you’re one of those people who likes to watch horror movies. I can’t do it. I tried watching the Alien movies a few weeks ago and failed. I got through the first one, but I literally said, “I can’t take the anxiety of watching Alien 2.” I’m a sad little person, what can I say? I’m going to give up on the horror movies for a while, or until something comes up that I just have to watch because of peer pressure.

I want to know about what type, specifically, of scary movies you just cannot handle: Cults? Evil dolls? Also, for those of you that actually enjoy the horror genre…please, how do you do it? Is it a technique? Can you just effectively separate yourself from the fantasy versus reality?

*I tried Googling the position of the Church, but then I got scared because I didn’t know exactly what was going to show up in the results. 

Image via Shutterstock

  • Carolyn Toth

    I checked the back of my Catholic Bible once after seeing a speaker who’d witnessed exorcisms, and Catholic Bible says we’re good, don’t worry about them.

  • Michelle Samson

    My 80 year old art history teacher told us that before he was a teacher back in 1969, he was learning to be a priest. He quit that because he it gave him no real pleasure and he met his wife while helping people. So while doing that, one of the steps is to become an ordained excorsist, which he did. However, he told me that he has never performed one mostly because he doesn’t believe in them and because the church told him not to perform any, just to call someone experienced if it is really legit. He pretty much told me that any symptoms of possession can be explained by a mental illness.

  • Elle Caddie

    I go through phases where all I feel like watching is horror movies (it generally lasts all of a day). I’ll have a marathon – the more gore the better, somehow it seems less real that way – then I’ll be reduced to a shuddering mess for weeks & revert to checking under my bed for monsters before sleeping. Healthy, I’m sure. Despite the glaringly obvious fact that I don’t seem to handle horror all that well I’d say I’m a fan of the genre, nothing like a little psychological damage here and there…

  • Kati Ber

    I watched Human Centipede a few months ago… back then when it wasnt popular yet (is it popular now??) and couldnt sleep for like a week after that…
    I am still scared when I think of that crazy professor and I am getting goosebumps right now even thinking about him!
    I guess I’ll just stop watching Horror Movies at all…

  • Kristy Fletcher

    Feel like the oddball here. Love horror movies, never get scared, past the jumpy adrenaline during the movie. Nothing lasts past the credits. I like the movies like Scream that are self aware, I like Paranormal Activity for it’s great use of “found footage”. I like the ‘exorcist’ type movies, although they get pretty boring, all ways the catholics, who are apparently the only people that can get possessed. The only movies I will not watch again are Saw 3 and up, Gore porn, not really for me.

  • Amanda Chick

    I wrote my senior thesis in college on the horror film genre and how America only remakes foreign horror films, leaving the message of the original lost in translation. This is coming from the girl who was TERRIFIED of Chucky as a child, but as an adult I’ve come to appreciate and somewhat love the genre. When I got past the blood, I realized the director is trying to tell us something (now, maybe not with major American horror films like Saw), but many European and Asian horror films are meant to comment on a fear of the people at the time.

    But a trick? A continued exposure over a set period of time. Watch a lot of horror films, with the lights on, and the scariness will wear off. I still jump and scream like a crazy lady sometimes though…

  • Anonymous

    A genuinely fascinating read, I may possibly well not agree entirely, but you do make some quite legitimate factors.

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