July 12, 2016
We all have that friend who’s a little more squeamish than the rest, although it definitely depends how good they are at hiding it. You know, the friend who, when faced with the prospect of entering a Haunted House, playing a horror video-game or even – god-forbid – watching a horror film, would turn to you with a slight shrug and a casual “I’d rather not” (if they’re a lot more vocal, they’d just run for the hills screaming).
Well, that friend is me.
See, Cory gets it.
Quick disclaimer: I don’t think I’m the most cowardly person in the world. Heights don’t really faze me – in fact, I love coasters – and the prospect of being in a small space doesn’t really make me tremble in my sneakers. Bugs do make me flinch, but that’s a whole other story, and a very different type of fear. Right now, we’re focusing on horror flicks.
I will admit, there’s a whole host of horror films – both from the East and the West – that have good writing and well-developed characters. Sci-fi tends to do this pretty well, if you ignore all the B-Grade stuff, of course, just look at Alien. John Carpenter’s The Thing is also pretty interesting because it unravels similar to a “whodunit” murder-mystery, except with a monster twist and a little more gore. Eesh. But my interest in horror will continue to be non-existent for these very reasons:
1. The gore.
Okay, this applies a little more to American/European films because of their love of slasher-flicks – one question: Why?? – but it’s a factor nevertheless. The advancements in modern makeup and things like CGI have meant that blood and wounds now look more realistic than ever, and directors know it. Horror films have staged increasingly complex and nausea-inducing scenes of both heroes and villains being injured or killed in a variety of ways. My general rule of thumb is that your vital organs should, you know, remain inside your body for the entire duration of the show. Otherwise I’ll probably make like Sheldon Cooper and drop to the ground at the first sight of blood. I’ll leave my appreciating movie makeup to watching episodes of Syfy’s Face Off.
2. The setting.
While I applaud shows like Cabin in The Woods for jabbing at the genre itself, any situation set in a day-to-day location will undeniably rank high on my freak-out-o-meter. That’s the reason why most of us get the weird feeling we’re being watched/followed whenever we find ourselves alone on certain walks home – that fear has been embedded into our consciousness because of whatever we’ve watched. It’s also part of the reason why long, dark corridors make me so nervous; they’re way too common for comfort. Thankfully, we don’t have a huge abundance of genuinely haunted houses in Singapore, but anything set in a hospital, or school, or simply by the side of a generic road, and it’s Nope-town for me.
3. The monsters/ghosts/demons/etc.
Following the strange incidences of what happened during screenings of The Conjuring 2, I am definitely not interested in messing with whatever spirit follows that film around. Is it any wonder why horror film sets have been known to be plagued with ~*mysterious*~ incidents ranging from serious injuries to even deaths? Even “Macbeth” is forbidden from being uttered in a theatre. Poltergeists are probably the worst, too: are you slowly going mad, or are you simply facing an invisible foe? I prefer keeping battles with my enemies strictly in the mortal, physical realm, thanks.
The point of horror films is that you need to feel afraid, and well, I am afraid…enough to not need to incite more fears within me. Horror films, are, after all, forms of escapism: it’s easier to channel your fear by screaming at an on-screen demon than facing the horrifying(ly low) number in your bank account. So to my fellow anti-horror folk out there, I will say this; at least our fears are contained in the world of entertainment. Maybe the day we conquer horror films will be the day we become the bravest people on the planet…but that day isn’t today. I’m sticking to my Parks & Rec re-runs for now.