I don't entirely understand those who enjoy being scared.
Perhaps my nervous system is just oversensitive, but I find any substantial thrill seeking a little unbearable. Don't get me wrong-- I'm not a total wimp. I'm open to adventure and going off the beaten path... but you will never find me skydiving, let alone on a particularly treacherous rollercoaster.
I'm also not a huge fan of horror films, as you can imagine. I trace this to the the shift from cheesy teen slasher films, a la Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer, or plot driven scary flicks, like Stephen King films, to the torture porn trend of Hostel and Saw. Frankly, the notion of watching really gruesome scenes makes me cringe. I've already written about my neurotic need to read about the plots of these hideous films once they come out, for fear of being ambushed by the movie in some situation and being surprised by the unblinking cameras detailing a slow, but creative, murder scene. It somehow makes me feel more at ease, as though I am psychologically preparing myself... just in case. (It makes sense in my head)
With this in mind, it may make sense that I haven't seen a horror film in years-- until the Duke talked me into one this week.
And I somehow agreed to watch it, in the dark, late at night.
It is funny, knowing the cycle of anxiety disorders at a rote level, to notice how badly I worked myself up. It was probably both my continued emphasis of the fact that I simply don't do scary movies, as well as the rotating thoughts of "I know they're going to die. I just don't know how horrible and nightmare inducing its going to be" that started me off. Midway through the film, I was a ball of nerves, sweaty palmed, with a sick, heavy feeling in the pit of my stomach that weighed me down to the bed. Through clenched teeth, I told the Duke that I had vetoed any sudden taps on the shoulder or rapid movements. The only physical contact was to be my iron tight fingers gripping his arm.
It was only towards the end, when I realized the primary deaths were relatively mundane (how sad is it that I call vicious stabbings mundane?) that my lungs began to feel like they were taking in oxygen again.
As the credits rolled, and my toes unclenched, we flicked through the channels a little, in an attempt to inject some happier thoughts into my brain before I went to sleep for an early morning of work. One film came on, a truck rolling through a deserted landscape. We only settled for a matter of moments until bold letters announcing "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" stamped themselves to the screen.
Back to flicking. Suddenly, an elephant on the screen, then Robin Williams.
Great, it's Jumanji. I can do this.
Haha, he's melting into the floor!
Waiting, what's that crawling through the window?
(Ahem. Huge arachniphobe here.)
At this point, I pressed the off button with enough force to leave an imprint in my finger, declared the mass media to be conspiring against me, and accepted that the night would probably be rife with dreams of masked intruders and foreboding children singing in the background.