I’m going to tell you why I’m a horror lover.
It’s close to Halloween so now feels like a good a time as any.
Wasn’t allowed to watch as a kid.
Think back to when you were a kid, were you like me? Were you essentially allowed to watch whatever it was that you wanted? It was like that in our house, and I am so grateful to my parents for not being too strict on what it was that I could watch.
I mean there were some restrictions.
Apparently, as a child, I had a tendency to get a story read to me. Under normal circumstances, you would think that I would fall asleep. This wasn’t the case. What would happen is that one of my parents would fall asleep. I would take that opportunity to sneak downstairs and watch TV. One time I did this, my mum came in to find me watching the 1982 version Cat People.
“What are they doing,” young me asked
“Eh…they’re playing horseys,” my mum responded before being whisked off to bed.
I don’t remember this event, so I wasn’t too traumatised by the event, I hope.
What I’m saying is that my parents did practice some discretion they weren’t like, “Happy 7th birthday son, here’s Basic Instinct”.
So, erotic thriller was forbidden but so were horror films. That worked out fine for me because I didn’t have a need to seek them out because, in all honesty, I’m a bit of a coward. I remember having to go to the toilet at certain moments when my aunt took me to see Jurassic Park in the cinema.
That avoidance of horror came to an end by accident.
Dawn of the Dead
Around 1999 I had a terrible taste of music, I was a big fan of Kula Shaker. There was some music magazine show that had them on.
After the segment ended, Simon Pegg came one and talked about his favourite horror film, Dawn of the Dead. The clips shown had me intrigued. Pegg’s passion sold the movie for me. It so happened that BBC 2 were showing it that night. I got my dad to set the video recorder for it. Even though it was getting recorded, I stayed up to watch.
From that moment on I was hooked on horror.
Fun fact: because reality is a simulation and you can see the code repeating everywhere. The lead singer of Kula Shaker, Crispian Mills, directed Simon Pegg in the horror Slaughterhouse Rulez.
Horror is Surprising
What I found the most surprising about horror is that your imagination does much of the work for you. The payoff is never as bad as you think that it will be. Your mind does much of the work for you.
It’s not that horror wasn’t effective it was like most things that you avoid in your life. The fear of a thing is worse than the actual thing. It turned out I loved horror and am disappointed that I didn’t get on the ghost train earlier.
An aspect of horror that I noticed the more I watched was how much the genre bled into others. Think about some of your favourite films they have elements of horror in them. Early Disney films are like little starter packs of horror for kids. There’s the body transformations of the Queen in Snow White, the boys who became donkeys in Pinocchio. Then there’s Pink Elephants on Parade.
My favourite animated Disney film, Alice in Wonderland, is an episodic horror film. Think about some of the scenes in the movie, I’m right. The tea party is a big step down in a film that is a descent into madness.
Outside Disney, my favourite film, Ghostbusters, has strong horror elements. For some reason as a child, I didn’t recognise it as a horror. Seeing the movie as an adult the horror is intense. When Dana Barrett gets possessed by the terror dogs, how did parents think that was OK? I’m glad they did, but that scene might be too much for the wussy kids of today.
There’s another thing that I noticed with horror, and that is that it is one of the most versatile genre’s. It can deal with the real world be set in the future or in the past. Terrestrial or extraterrestrial threats, natural or super. There is no limit to where the genre can take you as a viewer.
It’s also a genre that the audience will go above and beyond when it comes to suspension of disbelief. I’ve heard people accuse certain films of being unrealistic. That never happens with horror, but that is because to accuse it of being far-fetched is to miss out on the fun.
In a scary film, people can do unnatural things, and we as an audience will accept it.
Walk through a mirror? Go ahead.
Telekinesis? Close the door then.
See the future? Tell me the lotto numbers.
What I’m trying to say is that you can get away with a lot in horror films. They probably most resemble the dream. Occurrences may not make literal sense, but your brain understands. At least it does on the subconscious level. That could be one of the reasons why horror has always been a favourite genre since the dawn of cinema.
One thing that I noticed in another post is that many film scripts break down into 2/3rds dialogue ⅓rd action. What was interesting was that the opposite was true when it came to horror films.
You could argue that horror films are more visual than other genres. Horror is more cinematic than other genres. It is more universal in its language, and that’s why it has a broader appeal.
Could that be part of the reason for their appeal?
Anyway, if you like horror, I hope that you enjoyed this post.
Do you have a favourite horror film?
Would you mind commenting and telling me what it is because I’m always on the lookout for new movies.
If you don’t like scary movies or wouldn’t usually watch I hope that this post makes you reconsider. You’re missing out on some wonderful experiences.
Also, I made a film a couple of years ago, and you can check it out here.
If you watch let me know what you think. I’m always interested to hear what you think.
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