My father cannot bear to watch horror movies, particularly where the devil, anything that looks demonic, or snakes are concerned.
I understand his trepidation. He, after all, actually believes that there are such things as devils, demons, and snakes.
Me? I’m not so sure. Oh, I’ll give you the snakes. Seems those things actually exist. But having grown up without organized religion, the devil remains a lower-case entity for me, something in the abstract, while the devil in my father‘s head is capitalized.
So while I may not be afraid of devils, demons, or giant snakes, there are people out there in the world that certainly inspire fear in me: people who steal children, people who try to blow up airplanes with devices hidden in their underpants.
I think that’s why I enjoy horror movies so much.
Horror movies, for me, are a way of alleviating that fear – a controlled burn of sorts.
Now let me be clear. I’m not talking about slasher movies. There’s nothing scary about buckets of blood thrown at the camera.
Blood in and of itself is not scary. It’s just not hygienic once outside of the body.
Which is its own kind of scary.
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a decent horror flick. Too much now relies on computer-generated images, leading to whispered comments in the theater like “pshhh! That’s not what werewolves look like!” or my personal favorite: “That severed head looks totally fake.”
Of course it looks fake. Those real severed heads can ruin a film’s budget.
I like my horror movies to have a tinge of realism, with just a touch of end-of-the-worldism.
My liking them, however, does not keep me from watching them from between the fingers clamped over my eyes. Because while I want to be scared, I also want to be comforted by the image of my own capable fingers standing between me and the screen.
“But you’re missing it!” people will say.
Ah, but it’s all part of the experience, isn’t it? I’ll watch the movie through my fingers and buy the Raisinettes, you buy the popcorn, and we’ll both look at the parking lot differently when we leave the theater.
Because horror movies aren’t real.
A Meeting in the Meeting
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