“How can you watch something like that?” is a question I’ve been asked quite a bit over the years, and only half the time they’re talking about the porn I’m streaming. The other half of the time they mean the human being I’m watching be sliced and diced by a masked man in a darkly lit low budget slasher flick.
In addition to buckets of blood, homicidal spirits, and no shame, horror is really the only genre that non fans don’t understand.
I don’t like romance movies. I think their cheesy but I can see why other people do like them. They want to be swept away with grand gestures and unbridled passion and all that other chick stuff. I get it. They just aren’t my thing.
If you don’t like horror movies why do you think people like them? Here are 5 misconceptions about horror fans.
5. We All Look Like This.
I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a time in my life where I wanted to dress like that. Sure, I went through an adolescent punk faze where I dressed in dark colours, put holes in my face and listened to the Dead Kennedys. Yes my lip is still pierced and yes ‘Holiday in Cambodia’ is still on my ipod. But it’s been a good 4 years since I’ve tried to look like that because I’m an adult now.
I can see why people jump to this goth image when it comes to horror fans. Goths are obsessed with death and shit right? I think that’s how it works. It would make sense if a majority of them were into horror. It’s obviously a look that draws some inspiration from more darkly themed media.
For the most part I look perfectly normal these days and most of my horror fan friends at first glance are completely undistinguishable. Largely we tend to dress and accessorize like anyone else if for no other reason than it makes it easier to walk among you undetected.
4. We All Like the Same Things.
I see this a lot from people I know who enjoy watching scary movies but aren’t necessarily immersed in the genre. They see an advertisement for the 13th Paranormal Activity movie and their brain undergoes this thought process:
“Hey that looks scary. My brother really liked the last instalment in the franchise. I bet he’d like to see it. You know who else likes scary movies? Elle. I’m sure Elle would like to see this even though she doesn’t believe in ghosts and feels a burning hatred of any major studio film that uses the found footage format for cheap scares in spite of having millions of dollars available to them to produce a legitimate movie with actual cinematography.”
Suggesting that any horror fan will like ANY horror movie is like saying any Scifi fan who loves space exploration movies will love anything to do with time travel. Do you like Die Hard? Then by extention you have to be excited for Amazing Spiderman 2 as they’re both action movies. That shit just doesn’t make sense.
Like any other genre there are many subcategories of horror all with their own fans. For instance my sister also happens to be into horror movies. It’s our key bonding topic. She is more into paranormal horror films (ghosts and shit) and really isn’t all that thrilled with gore and serial killers. I however love me some juicy gore and am often disappointed when I sit through a whole 90min movie without seeing someone’s insides on the floor. I just don’t feel fulfilled I guess.
Insidious was a film that really divided the horror community and I think my sister and I are a good representation of that divide. She loved it and was all over Chapter Two where as all it did for me was remind me how good Poltergeist is. Seriously, I called out for Carol-anne like 4 times watching that movie.
3. We Don’t Understand “Good” Filmmaking.
I don’t wanna be that girl, but I have a certificate in Motion Picture Arts. I notice more while watching a film than your average movie goer and I know when I’m watching a cinematic turd but sometimes that turd is a floater and it becomes kind of brilliant all over again in the shittiest way possible.
No genre does “so bad it’s good” like horror. The horror industry turns out bad-good movies like no bodies business and for that alone they have to be the best genre. Honestly, what movie did you have more fun watching Citizen Kane or Sharknado? Of course Sharknado the movie was a cheese covered crapfest but that’s the charm of it.
You watch it for pure stupid enjoyment not because you’re looking to add some culture to your life. No horror fan ever got finished watching Them, Child’s Play, or Piranha 3D and thought to themselves “This movie is going to revolutionize filmmaking as we know it” or “My life is changed forever” we know exactly what we’re watching and that’s a storm of body parts, nudity, obscenity and batshit crazy and we celebrate it. If we didn’t horror-comedy wouldn’t be a thing.
That’s not to say the genre has nothing of quality to offer there are plenty of smart, thought provoking , well made horror films out there: The Exorcist and Silence of the Lambs took home Oscars, the original The Wicker Man is considered one of the greatest british films of all time, and The Shining is a damn masterpiece. Although in recent years most of horrors hidden gems tend to be of the foreign film variety.
2.We’re All Depraved.
I don’t know what it is about having the desire to watch people be killed horrifically on screen that makes people think you’re maladjusted. It’s just like wanting to see your one true pairing on your favourite show kiss, only in this case that victims blood is the sassy young woman trying to make a better life for herself and that wall behind them is the charismatic bad boy with a heart of gold.
In saying that, just because a person enjoys watching unspeakable violence doesn’t mean they’re going to go out and commit acts of unspeakable violence or even that they fantasize about committing acts of unspeakable violence. Maybe they think about shooting assholes in their ball sack after a bad day at work, or shaking a baby that wont stop screaming in the restaurant but don’t we all have those moments? Don’t you? Either you do or you’re a dirty liar. Would you ever actually act on those thoughts? I hope not, because I myself am known to be kind of an asshole, and as I lack a ball sack to be shot in I fear what that may leave as a target. Fuck that kid though.
I personally could never cause any real bodily harm to another person or thing and I confess to thinking up some pretty depraved shit. I’m convinced a cheese grater would make an amazingly gross household torture device.
I may not be squeamish in movie theatres but I still can’t sit through surgery footage on the news or the discovery channel. That shit is gross. Besides I’m a vegetarian for fuck sakes. I cry during SPCA commercials just like everyone else. Hell, a friend and former co-worker of mine who shares my tastes in low budget gore-fests once told me she teared up watching ‘Brave’ because of the look of
sadness and confusion on the bear’s face.
As much pleasure as I take from stylized violence (particularly during those 5 special days a month) I don’t see anything wrong with that for one reason: It isn’t real. If I was sitting around looking for snuff films online then yeah, you should worry because that’s fucked up, but in this case all the violence, gore, and death isn’t real. It’s entertainment. It may not be everyone’s ideal of what entertainment should be and yeah, some of the shit the French do is twisted beyond belief, but it’s all in good fun. At the end of the day there’s no harm no foul.
It’s a spectacle like anything you find on realty tv which I’d argue is worse because those are real mentally handicapped people on TLC and A&E who are being exploited. The way I see it I might be watching some sick, over the top, shit play out in my Walmart $5 movie bin Midnight Horror Pack but at least I’m not taking any joy in any real person’s misfortune.
Not everyone has the stomach for horror. Some people don’t like being frightened and don’t see the fun of it. Some people are more sensitive to violence and dismemberment and that’s ok but it doesn’t mean you have some moral high ground or level of sanity over me. We horror fans are perfectly well adjusted. Sure we have a few crazies but it’s still less than any given religious group has.
1. Our Parents Did Something Wrong.
I think I was about five or six when I saw my first horror movie beginning to end. Yeah I got the whole “you’ll get nightmares” bit but I didn’t care. Damn it I was nearly out of the primary grades and I was going to watch some zombies eat some bitch! My big sister got to after all. Gandalf forbid I didn’t do everything she did.
I was something of a shy kid but I wasn’t a scared kid and my parents where able to gage for themselves what I could handle in terms of media at any given age. It’s not that they didn’t care or didn’t pay attention they just trusted me to be able to judge for myself whether or not something was too scary for my young mind. Sure occasionally this resulted in my needing to leave the door opened a crack but I’m happy for it because I think it helped me grow up to be a less fearful person with an idea of what not to do if I’m ever being hunted by a whack job whose idea of interior decorating means using my skin to upholster his recliner.
I wasn’t abused, I didn’t have a sibling die, I never had an intruder enter my home, I never killed any of my cats, I never poked at a dead body in the woods with the neighbour kids and came back periodically to watch it decay. I had a normal childhood which is more than I can say for any of these sheltered, sugar fearful kids we have running around these days in kneepads and biohazard suits.
People are always so concerned with exposing their kids to violent media and are so quick to blame movies and video games for their kids problems but it’s your job to figure out what your kid can handle not societies to shelter all kids from anything fun. Maybe your kid is a pussy and can’t handle a John Carpenter movie at 8 years old, fair enough. But if your kid hits 11 years old and they still haven’t seen Halloween or The Thing because you’re to afraid to damage their precious developing psyche that kid is probably going to be a pussy for life.
If the worst thing my parents ever did to me was letting me watch Rose McGowen get murdered trying to escape out of a garage doggy door I think they did a pretty a good job. Frankly, I’ve seen scarier tire commercials.