Friday, July 22, 2011

What's It About Horror Movies?

*NOTE: I am away on vacation. This post has been scheduled for your enjoyment. So...Enjoy!*

I recently had a conversation with a friend that went as follows...

Friend: "Tina, you write romance novels and urban fantasy. Your books are all about love and adventure. So..." Awkward pause. "What's with your freaky obsession with horror movies?"

Tina: Stunned into stuttering. "Ah. Um..." Raises eyebrows at friend's question. "Well, how can you NOT like them?"

Friend: "They're gross. And they freak me out. I can't even watch the old black and white films without putting a hand over my eyes?"

Tina: Flies off into a side tangent. "Well, the 1920s Dracula is scarier than most horror movies today. Nosferatu with the long fingers." Eeeks. "So creepy."

Friend: "You see. That's just weird. How do you like that kind of stuff?"

I didn't have a real answer for my friend. Recalling that first moment I watched Max Schreck appear on the screen as Count Orlok in Nosferatu, still gives me chills. Screaming at the TV when the killer is right behind the victim, covering my best friend's eyes at the "really scary parts", cringing inwardly when the director shows us the tormented mind of the killer, the music that matches the rhythm of my heartbeat, all of it ignites my senses.
Perhaps its the physical and emotional experience that keeps me coming back again and again. I jump. I scream (in fright and frustration). I cower. I shake my fist. I laugh. And sometimes when the characters are especially annoying, I cheer when the killer wins. It takes me on a roller-coaster ride of emotions, and provides the ultimate thrill ride, safely from the comfort of my living room or movie theater. No matter how gruesome or frightening, the bad guy is not getting me.
Isn't that the real fun of a horror film? The experience. Good fights the most sinister evil and no matter how many lives are lost, no matter how many people die, the main character often wins. When evil wins, it's usually because the characters were so ridiculously dumb (like running up those damn steps. Why don't they run out the front door?), that we secretly want the killer to whack them.
It's a rush. It's a thrill. And heck, it's just plain fun. What's your take on horror films? Love 'em or hate 'em?

Oh, and seriously, how creepy is Count Orlok?

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