Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Scary Movies

Dave and I were talking last night about scary movies. I used to love scary movies. When I was in grade school, my friend, Stephanie, and I watched all six of the "Children of the Corn" thrillers. Of course, they were late 80s or early 90s scary movies - can't really be compared to the gore of modern scary movies.  My parents even went to see Blair Witch Project to see if I could see it. I saw Texas Chainsaw Massacre on opening night in college. And now I won't even watch the previews.  So what changed? I used to love having the pants scared off me.  Here's my theory.

Up through college life was very care free, I still had my parents to fall back on if I needed them. My biggest fear was getting a low GPA and failing a final. Post-college I got married and had something to lose. Moving away from my family, having my husband deploy, living in a completely foreign culture: all of this was much scarier than Children of the Corn or Blair Witch.

Life's a lot scarier when it's real. I don't need to be a thrill seeker or an adrenaline junkie and watch scary movies to get a buzz. Real life is much, much scarier than whatever Hollywood can make.

Horror films over-do the blood, guts, and gore to make it scary - to prove a point. But emotional films do the same thing. Think about any movie that makes you cry. Like the Notebook. Both the Notebook and Texas Chainsaw over-embellish to evoke emotion. They just evoke different types of emotion. I can't watch super emotional movies any more either. It used to be that my roommates and I would watch Legends of the Fall once a semester, to get the emotional catharsis that accompanies the viewing. Now I don't need to watch movies to feel something because once again life has proven to be much more emotionally draining than I could have anticipated in my care-free college days.


  1. And that is all the reasons that i only opt for comedy. Life has plenty of drama in it, I don't need an overdose. Same with scary. There is plenty of real life scares to keep you in focus. Maybe Dave will now understand why I always ask, what happens next? Just can't bear any more stress.

    So, enjoy Buss Lightyear, Up, When Harry Met Sally, Tortilla Soup, Fawlty Towers, and Monty Python.!

  2. I think the last scary movie I watched was "Creature from the Black Lagoon" and I was 9. I STILL have nightmares. It's good of you to avoid them all together- you're right- real life has enough of highs and lows of life/art imitation dichotomy :) :)

  3. Why I like to write fiction is that you then get to work with all the real life elements and distill them into a more intuitive version of the truth. Kind of a way to understand the scary part of life without having to scare anyone, but only make them think....(mumbles) or something like that....In any case, I agree with you Ann, life is scary enough -- we can spend a lot of energy overcoming fear, so why create more with scary movies? I've never liked them, myself.

  4. I miss our college movie dates…west wing, sex & the city….those were good times