To help celebrate Halloween 2017, I set myself a goal to watch a different horror movie every day for the month of October (you can find the list of movies here).
In all honesty I was hoping it would kick my writers block in the face and get me into the second half of the Cosmic Decay sequel I stopped writing. Instead it actually helped me realise a few things about myself and the world around me. Here are a few things I learnt while watching a horror movie a day for a month:
It’s a great conversation starter for single people
They say that watching horror movies are an aphrodisiac, generally due to the 1950’s pretense of the woman being scared as all hell that she would cling to her date and sleep with him for comfort afterwards. This is not the case anymore, and it definitely doesn’t work with me, but I’ve discovered that watching horror movies are still an excellent idea for a date and a great conversation starter for single people. Once people discover I am serious about my horror, or use the generic question of “what are you up to?” and I answer with watching horror movies, people are more than happy to discuss and critique with you what you’ve watched, give recommendations, and suggest going to the movies with you to see the latest horror flick.
Horror movies are a stronger genre of film to watch, but are a lot more universally loved than if you were to tell a potential date that you were watching a months’ worth of romance films or chick flicks. It can be a violent and scary genre, but it’s also a pretty safe bet.
However, this is based on my experience in a hetro dating world. I once had three separate people request dates to watch three different horror movies with me on the same day. As a strong and confident woman (as well as being super hungover), I chose instead to watch three different horror movies by myself and planned the dates for other times. But the offers were there, and so was the conversations.
Desensitization is definitely a thing
Gore used to freak me out. In all honesty, the idea of being flayed is still one of my worst nightmares and I will avoid witnessing this at all cost during the plight of entertainment, but since the count of horror movies watched has risen since my teenage years, the idea of gore is no longer an issue for me. I have friends who jump at every jump scare, and one’s who are grossed out when people are shot in the head and brain matter goes everywhere.
But this doesn’t bother me in the slightest at all anymore. I have literally come to desensitization, which is defined as “make (someone) less likely to feel shock or distress at scenes of cruelty or suffering by overexposure to such images”.
I have seen so many intestines ripped out of bodies, witnessed blood splattering everywhere, and written about chainsaws whirring through decayed torsos that even my imagination is totally fine with it. This is saying a lot of someone who struggled to sleep during her childhood due to a certain album cover that showcased a skinless human form.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m still not stepping foot inside a museum or exhibition that displays real cadavers or human bodies anytime soon. But I no longer have nightmares about it
The idea will likely scare people more than watching horror movies themselves
When my boss heard about my horror movie a day project she began to inform me about an article in the news that she had read about a woman who was charged for murder and had only ever watched horror movies and was obsessed with Freddy Kruger. While I joked that I was hoping it would turn me into a murderer so I could kill off the characters in my horror sequel that I am writing, this can be seen as a common theme in many other acts of violence around the world. The acts of the gunman in the Columbine incident were dissected and it was suggested that their actions were heavily influenced by their use of violent video games and listening to music by Marilyn Manson.
As a listener of harder music, and a purveyor of darker things, I truly believe that these acts of violence are not based on external influences and are rather based on the instincts of humanity and survival deeply rooted in people. However, it can and has been proved that by being exposed to something enough your perception of that exposure does change. This can influence you, but the seeds need to be there. It's the nature vs. nurture argument. This brings to me the next lesson I learnt:
Human nature is the real essence of horror
What really will scare or horrify me in a horror movie are acts of human nature, and the darker side of humanity. In example, these are the scenes of rape in I Spit On Your Grave and the stealing of innocent children in The Hills Have Eyes. These are the true scenes or horror because we are the only animals on this planet that have the ability and the intelligence to act with malicious intent and for the mere momentary pleasure of it.
We can be a cruel and terrifying species, and this is why I am a vegan who is pretty ok with the idea of a zombie apocalypse because it will show humanity what it is like to be tortured and eaten in a way that is malicious and cruel – like we are. Zombies are basic and darker human instincts, and it’s probably why the zombie horror genre has stuck around for a lot longer than the other creatures of the supernatural world.
I definitely have a ghost in my house
I always suspected that there was a presence in my house – I would be sitting on my bed writing on my laptop and feel something watching me from the hallway. I would wake up in the middle of the night and feel like something was in bed with me or in the house and force myself to get up and walk around to make sure there wasn’t an intruder.
My house has always had a good vibe and my dog has never freaked out about unseen entities roaming the hallway, so I always kind of assumed it wasn’t a malevolent spirit. Honestly, I thought it pitied me. It had seen me crying into a bottle of wine on my darkest days, so why add possession to my list of woes?
Recently though, its presence has heightened. Many just assume that the fact that I have been watching spooky movies every day has caused me to create images of hauntings in my head, but I had a friend over who senses these spirits as well and agreed that a ghost was there. They even told me exactly where in the house it was without my informing them and even heard it go bump in the night.
So the main thing I have learnt is that there is 100% a ghost in my house. If I ever get possessed, you heard it here first folks.
Photos Regrammed by Jungle Tribe