For Halloween… I thought I should share.
For years I have proclaimed that horror stories aren’t realistic enough to scare me. I have friends who have always been scared of certain types of horror creatures, or didn’t like certain horror flicks because it gives them nightmares, etc. and this has always been confounding and amusing to me. I truly couldn’t understand how a made up story, whether in a book or a film, could actually scare anyone. I decided to explore horror more fully to see if I could reproduce this feeling in myself to experience this state of fear by the simple act of watching a movie, or reading a book.
Let me clarify … I am not a psychopath or anything. I experience a myriad of emotions on a daily basis – including fear. And I experience many emotions from movies & books. I even cried several times while reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Dobby!!). But I just didn’t understand actually fearing a book or movie. Being scared for a character is a totally different thing…but having that fear drawn out of the story made no sense to me.
So, I decided to look for anything scary that I could try to allow myself to be scared by. I looked up the lists of most scary movies & books in existence to see if they could spark fear -real fear- in me. I read the top few books: The Shinning, Hell House, & The Haunting of Hill House, and had already seen all of the scariest movies, apparently, aaaand….
Now I come to the point.
I have suddenly been awaken by fear.. or, rather, fear has suddenly been awakened in me. It is the night before Halloween and I am on Shudder watching horror stuff, random cult or campy caught my eye but they have a documentary section so I watched a cool doc about the evolution of the horror genre from the silent era until now which was really cool… then I put on a doc about The Shinning called Room 237 about several fans who have discovered crazy things in the movie that they think explain plot points, or reveal hidden meanings, etc. I have watched the movie The Shinning a zillion times and read the book since it tops the horror book charts and they never did anything for me -though I need to mention that the books is an amazing novel worthy of anyone’s time and should be required reading in schools because it is that good- but this documentary was creeping me out! What???
A documentary about a movie based on a book was giving me chills… even though the book itself, while wildly entertaining and worthy of reading more than once, didn’t scare me at all… no chills. It totally doesn’t make sense, right? Well… it doesn’t until you realize one important difference. When I read The Shinning, when I was trying to discover fear in media, was in August of 2013 which was mere months before I got pregnant.
I realized that this had been coming on for some time now. And as cliche as it will sound to most people, it all started to change around my pregnancy & after Bronson was born 16 months ago. Not only did having a baby change my fear spectrum but having crazy postpartum hormone issues clearly gave it that extra push. Anyone who thinks they know fear: try being completely taken over with OCD and the illogical fear of SIDS. I woke up on many occasions to check to be sure Bronson was still breathing… and even now if I see him laying in a questionable position can’t go back to sleep until I have gotten up, gone to his room, hovered over his crib to see if he moves, and finally put a hand on his back to feel his chest expand & contract confirming life.
Being in a constant state of motherly fear was obviously completely new to me… but there were instances when I realized it was more than that. For example, Cris made me watch some dumb Western movie whose title I cannot recall but whose plot surrounded a spinster and a stubborn old man taking several STD infected crazies back to their original home town or someplace… and the movie marked the first time I can remember being shaken by a movie since my adulthood. There is a stupid scene where one of the women, crazy and effed up in the head, tosses her baby in the hole in an outhouse!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! When I realized what she was about to do, it was already too late to close my eyes… I started crying hysterically and couldn’t stop. Cris had to pause the movie to calm me down. I was PISSED at the creator of the movie for their decision to add such a horrific element to the character’s fuckedupness, and more pissed at Cris for showing it to me (as if he would have known it was there or that it would have affected me).
And that is when I could no longer watch anything, at all, ever, that showed harm to babies, in any form. Apparently, it makes me hysterical past reason. I began to notice that movies I had already seen THOUSANDS of times also gave me the same hysteria. Remember Ghostbusters 2 opening scene with the baby in the runaway carriage in the road? And even the stupid “cans” scene in Speed? Yep- those made me cry like a crazy person too.
So that is when it started. But I realize, now, that is has grown past mommy-fears. Movies I have seen before – regular run of the mill horror movies – give me a whole new spark of fear that I never had before. Whats more, and surprising, is that I have no interest in exploring this new spark. If you had asked me back in August 2013 if I would enjoy a fear spark I would have said YES and would have taken it with me to re-watch every horror movie ever to get that fun belly-drop feeling, to get goosebumps, and to experience nightmares from stories. I would have loved every second of it. Now, I just want to stay as far away from that feeling as possible.
I still love horror movies, and the genre as a whole.. and I will still watch new movies and read new books. But I am no longer on the hunt. I will no longer watch them, daringly, in my room, by myself, without lights, to gain effect. I will no longer allow the feeling to last once ignited and watch the full length of a movie that is already begun to freak me out… now I will actually turn it off and throw on a Disney to counteract the affects! yea… that is totally something I do now… crazy right?
So this is my insight to fear, in case you can’t find real fear in horror. Have a baby? I guess?