Being Safely Scared

The horror genre is on my mind lately. In part, I’m on a serious re-watching binge (the inspiration being meeting Tony Todd and writing about Candyman for The Geek Girl Project) and in part probably because we’re reaching the part of the year where I can’t watch scary things for three months because the children will be home with me. The youngest isn’t old enough and the oldest is never sure what to make of actually scary things. Being scared is something of an acquired taste and I think being safely scared is a rush without the crash, like eating cake and not wanting to take a nap afterward (yep – I’m officially old now) is one of my favorite things.

I do enjoy being scared as long as it’s the right kind of scared. I don’t like being afraid. Bone deep, marrow chilled, how do we survive kind of fear is terrible and I don’t know anyone who likes that kind of fear. Millions live that life every day and no one should envy that fear. I’ve been that kind of afraid and I would not recommend it. I do think that knowing that kind of fear makes being safely scared even better. There’s that moment where it feels similar (never the same), the adrenaline is rushing through the blood, the heart is pounding so loud it’s like a drum in your head, and every hair is standing at attention. And then you remember that you are safe in a movie theater or living room and the fear abates without leaving it’s print on you. I think that’s why so many people like me enjoy these sorts of things – being scared without actually being in danger is an awesome thing.

I have had a movie cause panic attacks but never the scary ones, which are the ones you would think would do it. I’ve had certain thriller type movies make me uncomfortable (Maniac for instance), or completely grossed out (like the Saw movies), or disgusted (Devil’s Rejects etc), but not panicky which is nice for me. Honestly, I’m more likely to have a panic attack during Harry Potter of all things – I do not know why the Mad Eye Moody/Barty Crouch thing bothers me so much.

It doesn’t take much to startle me or make me feel uncomfortable but to actually scare me, at least as an adult, that takes some doing. I really love it. I hear Candyman’s voice in my head, the Hell Priest still lurks in the shadows of my laundry room when the light hits the one corner just so. I have a weird and overactive imagination and that doesn’t help. I tend to scare myself more than anything. One night a few years ago I stepped outside and the smell of freshly turned earth hit me and all I could think of were zombies. The fact that we’d been working outside that day planting and such completely vanished from my brain, logic took a backseat and my brain was absolutely certain it was zombies. And this is why I write – if I didn’t, I could probably convince myself that zombies are real but if I put all my weird on paper, it’s easier not to do that.


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Filed under Books, Movies, Weird

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