Thursday, October 30, 2008

Scaredy-cat

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?
GIANT SPIDERS?!?!?!

(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. 

30 comments:

Arielle said...

I hate scary movies too! I'm a wuss.

Yoda said...

I'm like you -- I just don't enjoy scary movies. 'coz WHY??? Why would you watch as a character writhes in pain from having his arm chewed away by a ghoulish monster?

There's a reason why its called HORROR! You're not supposed to like it.

That said, J has talked me into Netflixing "The Strangers". Hear that ones a real scary one!!

ToughGirl101 said...

I LOVE horror movies, it's just that scary movies arent' scry anymore. Gore doesn't scare me. I've had ot move to the Japanese film industry to get my thrill-seeking behavior fulfilled on screen :-(

PS. Yoda, The Strangers was disappointing. It didnt make me jump at all.

wee-h said...

I like british horror films like the Descent and Dog Soldiers that mix black humour with horror, but i know what you mean about horror porn... and yes, i read the wiki entries on any horror film im going to see too... you are not alone!!

P.s... my security code says phoar.. excellent

Princess of the Universe said...

I used to love horror movies like the Scream genre etc.
But yeah, once the SAW movies were released, the movies went to a whole disturbing level that I just can't do anymore. (If I ever really could)

verybadcat said...

This is what is weird about me:

- Have Panic Disorder and a few phobias, for good measure.

- LOVES horror movies.

- Lost it-completely- the last time I went to a haunted house.....

Make of it what you will.

the frog princess said...

Am I the only one who is dying to know what movie The Duke talked you into watching?

I like old horror movies, which are often almost funny (the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre? Really not all that scary), and I'll always have a soft spot for Scream, but I have never seen one of the Saw movies and have no desire to. Outright gore isn't scary... it's gore.

That being said, I can't remember the last time I saw a *good* horror movie... but "House of Wax" was highly entertaining, being that we watched it just to see how Paris Hilton died :)

EF said...

Frog Princess, I too wish to know the movie that ended the dry-spell of five years! I kept thinking, I hope it wasn't "The Strangers" or "Norbit".

Lauren said...

I can't handle horror movies! My roommate loves them and I...hide in my bedroom. Yeesh.

lifeintheleftlane said...

I love horror/suspense movies. But I'm with you on hating the gore. Blood and guts isn't scary...it's gross. I want something that keeps me on the edge of my seat but doesn't make me want to vomit because it's just so disgusting.

I was a huge fan of the Scream movies because they were funny and scary. And they weren't too nasty.

Nilsa said...

Dude, I'm so with you. I find scary movies a waste of my time (and anxious-ridden energy). And would never be one to choose to do the scary things.

That said, I did humor Sweets on the honeymoon and go zip-lining ... 600 feet in the air at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. Yikes!

Paula said...

If I get made to watch scary movies, I tend to watch most of them through my fingers and accidentally peek at the bit i was trying most conscientously to avoid. I don't understand why people put themselves through it either!

Psychgrad said...

That's a pretty rough night of film watching. I'm a wimp when it comes to horror/suspense films. I sit with my thumbs plugging my ears and my fingers covering my eyes. If necessary, I will also hum to myself to drown out the sound.

It's not so much the gruesome sight of someone being slaughtered. It's the suspenseful buildup that kills me.

But none of that seems to extend to thrill seeking behaviours.

Katelin said...

i can't stand scary movies either. matt somehow talked me into seeing the descent in theaters a couple years ago and i haven't recovered since. scariest. movie. ever.

Crushed said...

The second Omen film shocked me first time I saw it, that's pretty dark.

I prefer psycholoigcal horrors to gorefests.

Ninth Gate is one I'd recommend.

Caz said...

See I'm the opposite. I'm not immune to scary movies, I get really really scared (like jump, scream, peek through my fingers scared) but I still LOVE to watch them. I just need to decompress before I go to sleep or I dream about them.

Then again I am a thrill-seeker, I went bungee jumping because it was the scariest thing I could think of to do...

Surfergrrl said...

I think it's fun to be scared if you truly know you are safe. But other than that, I think it's fun. It's a rush I guess. Although if I'm home alone and watch a scary movie, I usually have to remedy the movie with something like, the princess diaries, before I go to bed. :)

Daisy said...

Could NOT agree with you more- especially the physical contact veto during the film, I freak out so badly if anyone touches me when I'm that scared! And I also have that thing when you're so thoroughly scared that anything you see after that, even a children's film suddenly takes on new scariness!

Jocelyn said...

I've been realizing really strongly lately how much purposely scaring myself seems like a waste of time and energy. I mean, I have a job and kids. There's enough possible terror in daily life.

Essentially Me said...

I absolutely HATE horror films! I never watch them (anymore). I can't even watch a preview for them on television, that's how bad it is.

Princess Extraordinaire said...

I can't watch horror movies either - I haven't watched one in years as I'd be scared out of my mind everytime I treid...

benjibopper said...

heh, seems the whole continent is conspiring against you today.

in toronto we used to write our fears on paper and burn them in a bonfire in a local park. also there were giant puppets. true story.

dmb5_libra said...

i only like certain kind of scary movies......zombies, vampires, and the chessy teen/scream queen flicks. The Ring? I saw that in the theater (stadium, so nice and big!) and I didn't turn on my tv for a week afterwards. Movies like that I am a total wuss.

lspoon said...

A girl in the store last night asked me if there were any more of the fuzzy spiders she saw when she walked in located anywhere else in the store. Thinking she was stocking up for a party I was like 'Oh yeah they're in the center, we have a whole table of them.' She blanched and politely informed me that she would be steering clear of the middle of the store. Turns out she's deathly afraid and was just trying to be proactive about her scare sense. :)

Also, horror movies and me? BFF's for life :)

Roshan said...

Girls & horror films. I once took a girl to a horror movie and she dug her nails in my arms so hard during the really scary scenes, we had to pull them out with pliers!!

Crashdummie said...

i agree with u on this one - i dont watch horrer movies. I mean why do ppl inflict such kinda torture to themselved. iiik!

Michael said...

Oh, indeed.

I usually tell people I find real life terrifying enough, thanks.

Your Ill-fitting Overcoat said...

I do the exact same thing! (Read the detailed synopsis of horror films, while never actually watching them.) I never really thought about WHY I do it, but I think it's exactly what you say-- like I'm trying to prepare myself somehow.

Ugh, I hate scary movies! Mostly because they are SAD to me. Like, some people really DO get brutally murdered and it's so horribly sad. Why would I want to watch that for entertainment??

poodlegoose said...

I don't particularly like being scared either. But for some reason, horror movies have never really scared me. Get someone to pop out from behind a corner in the dark? That'll have me peeing in my pants.

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