Why I Enjoy Watching Scary Movies

“I enjoy watching scary movies.”

When you think about it, that’s a strange claim to make. Why would someone willingly watch something that makes you feel uncomfortable and freaks you out?

Here’s the thing, unless you watch a bit of horror you might not realize that it’s a pretty nuanced genre, there are a lot of rules and traditions. As well as that there are different types of horror which appeal to different people. Some people get a kick out of watching movies with lots of gore and torture (that’s not my thing). Personally, I love trashy horror movies featuring teenagers getting attacked.

There are two main reasons, which are semi-related as to why people watch horror movies. The first is a sense of catharsis you get from watching some average person survive through a horrific experience. It was terrible and disgusting and gross, but they GOT THROUGH IT. And by extension, so did you. A lot of people will say that there’s something wrong with their life, or that they feel stressed, but aren’t able to actually put their finger on what’s wrong. Seeing something horrible and terrifying but also very concrete can help them try to cope with a general feeling of unease in their real life.The Strangers

Another reason that it makes you feel better about your own life is it give you something to compare yourself to. “Well, I know things haven’t been going very well lately, but on the plus side, nobody’s barged into my house wielding a machete.” But for this to happen there needs to be some trust between the creators of the movie and the viewer. The scary thing has to be outlandish and incredible, some people say things like “oh I really liked Paranormal Activity because I could totally imagine that happening to me” and while that’s true, you still don’t really think that you’re going to be attacked by some demon. However, a strange man coming in and stealing your children, that’s way more terrifying, because this is a real thing that actually happens to people and as such, you don’t see much of it in horror films. Joey Comeau touched on this on why horror movies shouldn’t feature rape.

This is why when people ask me what the scariest horror movie I’ve seen is I’ll say Sinister, but then say that you’d be much better off watching The Strangers. Sinister is terrifying, but in crazy, unreal ways, but you still have this sense that there’s no reason why each act in it couldn’t have actually happened (something to keep in mind while watching it is that the story was inspired by director’s actual life). Although The Strangers will still leave you terrified and is about a home invasion, it still makes the whole thing crazy enough that you’re pretty sure it won’t happen to you.

My recommendation for horror if you’ve not really seen any and you’re wondering if you might be interested in it would be something stupid, like Final Destination or Jeepers Creepers. If for some reason you enjoyed that and start wanting more try The Strangers. Only watch Sinister if you’re prepared to be totally and completely terrified (don’t watch the trailer, it spoils most of the scares).

Tell me in the comments why you watch horror, or what your favourite movies are. If I get enough interest I’ll sit down and come up with a recommendation list of different types, because good horror is hard to find.


How I survived a Zombie Apocalypse (part two)

Continued on from part one..

The plan was that since you can only be killed when nobody else heard your would be killer say the words “you’re dead” or “you’re infected” Matt, Kenni, James and I would stick together in a Left 4 Dead group of four and be safe. When we saw a suitable victim, one of us would go in for the kill and the others would stay back.

This worked really well, and it wasn’t long before I’d stacked up more kills in that one night then I had during all of the murder game, but then we started noticing something. The people were starting to behave as if they really were in some kind of zombie movie.

You may have heard about the Stanford Prison Experiment in the ’70s where people were put in a mock prison and given roles of guards and prisoners. After only a few days though, people started to act like they were brutal guards or prisoners in a jail. Much pain followed and the experiment was cut short.

Something similar might have happened here.

People started gathering into hordes. When our little Left 4 Dead crew would try to approach large hordes of humans they started to shout. Some of them even tried to infect us. Can you believe the nerve?

Some time later that night, the human horde had somehow transformed into a zombie horde (again, I feel as if this were partly my fault) and made a wall of zombies, stopping us from passing. Eventually we got backed up into a corner. Somehow Matt and I got separated from Kenni and James and we had to run up and down some flights of stairs to escape.

After several dead ends when we saw zombies and had to turn around we eventually made our way into the library where Matt and I had lots of friends. Several of which were working on a newsletter and didn’t appreciate zombie hordes interrupting their work. They informed the zombie horde of this loudly and in no uncertain terms.

It was at that point that Matt and I made an executive decision and took a break from the game to get back our energy. So we helped with the newsletter (helped may be the wrong word), played a few card games and generally had a good time.

However.. the whole time we were doing this the zombie horde was standing in a big group at the entrance to the library staring at us.

When we tried to get a drink of water they formed up, some of they pushing, trying to get close enough to whisper to us. It was proper mob pushing. I don’t know how we got through but somehow we did and we entered the tutor (camp leaders) area which gave us some degree of safety.

I had a long think about all this, had a drink, and eventually wondered over to Ben (the creator. and therefore, god of the zombie game) and handed him my cards, effectively committing suicide. Zombie Apocalypses are too much for me to handle.

Besides, it was starting to impact my social life, I passed the rest of the night talking to some very pretty girls, whom would not have trusted me, had I not ended my part in the apocalypse.

So what’s the point of this whole story? Zombies are scary, so a good Zombie Apocalypse Survival Plan is important.

How I survived a Zombie Apocalypse (part one)

The following is the true story of how I survived a Zombie Apocalypse (of my creation).

In the christmas break this year I want to a camp called the national computer science school and every year they play a game called Murder. In Murder all the participants are given a secound nametage with the name of their victem on it. The aim of the game is to hunt down and kill your victem by saying “You’re dead” without anybody else hearing you. If you manage to kill your victem they hand their card over to you and the person on that card becomes your new victem. Get the most kills and you win. Simple.

This game had been running for many years so all of the kinks had been worn out of it. Play went pretty good, atleast I think so (I won). Infact the director of the camp noticed the massive outlier that was my score and told all the kids “Don’t be caught alone with Tom Parker. He will kill you”, which hurt both my game and social life.  The next game worked… less well. I feel like I should accept part (most) of the blame for this.

The Zombie Game Rules:
1) The humans don’t know who the zombies are
2)Humans can kill anybody by whispering “you’re dead” to them
3)Zombies can turn humans into zombies (and work with the zombies) by whispering “you’re infected”
4)If a human accidently kills anouther human then they become (and work with) the zombies
5)There are only a few zombies at the start of the game
6)The team that wins is the team that’s still alive at the end

Matt and I (the two top scorers in murder) assumed that we would be selected to be the starting zombies, seeing as we are such darn good killers and all. But instead we both got put as humans.

This game was designed to be a stealthy game, all about sneaking around and finding infomation on who’s a zombie. Unfortunatly Left 4 Dead 2 had just been released and we all really liked it. So rather then the sneaky approach we thought it’d be fun if we turned the game onto “Apocalypse Survival Mode”. Instead of being stealthy and only killing the people that we knew were zombies Matt, Kenni, James and I decided to go around killing everybody, human and zombie alike. Reflecting back I’m not sure how we thought that this was a good plan.

I’ll finish this off tomorrow. The Ring is on.