As a general rule, I tend to steer clear of horror films when I can. The level of enjoyment I derive from the viewing never truly makes up for the extent of sheer terror I feel afterwards. The amount of fear I feel is also disproportionate to how scary the film actually was. I confess to being someone who covers their eyes during Scary Movie and all of its sequels.
Usually, I’m a fairly rational person. Whether or not rational people would have put themselves in this situation is another story, but I usually spend the duration of a horror film trying to imagine the activities taking place outside of the main shot.
I bet there’s someone above the camera dripping that blood onto her neck right now. I wonder if he’s wearing a harness… The make up artist was really talented, she really looks like a walking corpse, I wonder how long that hairdo must have taken— WHY DID HER HEAD JUST FALL OFF? WHY IS SHE RISING OFF THE BED? WHY AM I WATCHING THIS???
My very first experience with a horror film was William Malone’s House on the Haunted Hill when I was 5 years old. It was a terrible movie, said by critics to have been an “unsophisticated and unoriginal film that fails to produce any scares.”
Well, scare me it did. I spent the following year insisting that my parents left their bedroom door ajar until I fell asleep, because I was afraid that “the darkness” would get me. I remember a night that they had quietly shut the door, thinking I was fast asleep. I wasn’t. Queue the mad dash I made, dodging the tentacles from under my bed and the zombies grasping for my flesh as I raced towards the door to fling it wide open again.
That little incident led to me dragging my mattress into my parents’ room for about a month, until my mom pointed out that they would be more or less ineffective should anything remotely frightening appear in the room. In her words: “I’m not the Queen of England, okay? If something were to actually happen, I can’t imagine why you’d think running to me would make a zombie not want to eat your brain.”
As I was growing up, I’d diligently take a seat in front of my television every night at 7:30 to be terrified into oblivion. The intro for Are You Afraid of the Dark gives me chills to this very day. Due to the fact that I’m writing this at 4 in the morning, I can’t quite muster up the courage to watch the clip to make sure that my fear is rational, but yeah, I’m pretty sure it is.
Last weekend, I attended a gathering at a friend’s house where the entertainment of choice was to watch The Conjuring. Lo and behold, I’d actually seen it before! Hurray! A film in which I knew what was going to happen couldn’t possibly be scary, right?
Wrong. Yes, I’d watched the movie before, in the cinema with deafening surround sound and pictures blown up to ensure the scare factor was at its maximum. However, I only took advantage of one of those commodities. I didn’t so much watch The Conjuring as I did hear The Conjuring.
There’s a bit in the movie where the characters mention the clocks mysteriously stopping at 3:07 in the morning. I wasn’t looking, so I don’t actually know what is supposed to happen at 3:07am. However, that doesn’t prevent me from turning into a nervous wreck every morning until the clock strikes 3:08. Tonight was no exception.
It takes me ages to forget the images from a horror movie. The Exorcism of Emily Rose scared and scarred me all throughout high school. Now though, I’ve finally managed to put it out of my mind and have never felt more comfortable sleeping with my room door shut.
Show me a trailer of it, though, and I’ll be right back in my parents’ room. Mattress and all.