It would be accurate to say I prefer horror movies. As in, there are movies in other genres that I like (or, even, love) but I prefer horrors. I will have as much fun mercilessly mocking a bad horror movie as I will being thoroughly horrified by a good one. The same is not true for other genres. A bad rom com will be fun to sneer at for roughly 30 seconds and then I’ll just be sad that I didn’t do something else with my time. (Side note: this is why my upset over the violence and excessive (TO ME/IMO/reminder: my opinion!!!) misogyny/rape in GoT was such a big deal for me: I’m not one to opt out of a movie or TV show because of darkness or violence or twisted bullshit. Violence towards animals, maybe, but people ish? Nah. So, me being at all iffy about GoT was weird in ways that annoyed me. Anyway/side note.)
I have very few horror movie peeps in my life. I got super lucky and landed a few close friends who love them (plus a brother who will happily binge watch hours of horror movies with me just so he’s caught up, all the while sipping scotches and snarking about anything that happens to warrant it). But most of my friends tell me that the horror genre is just too stressful, and life is stressful enough as is, so why poke that particularly constipated tiger? And, they have a point. Life is stressful. I do not want to poke tigers, let alone that one. No. So what the hell am I even doing, watching these things with the reckless abandon I usually reserve for dark chocolate, good scotch, and excellent sex?
After I wrote Nightmares, I thought maybe my fascination with horror grew from my struggles with situations that render me helpless. Most of my favorite horror movies have at least a shallow wound’s worth of the helpless motif in there (Martyrs, The Shining, It Follows, The Ring, Psycho, The Skeleton Key, Insidious —ok now I’m basically just naming horror movies that I like because of course after Martyrs and The Shining, I can’t remember my all time favorites. Shhh, kitchen), so maybe part of me is morbidly soothed by watching others get colossally fucked whilst being helpless. Or, I’m sorting out what it really means to be helpless. Or, you know, bleh/something. Regardless of its specificities, I’m sure my own personal psychological festival of grim inanity plays a part.
I think the psychology behind humanity’s consistent and often unrelenting trends towards violence is also mystifying to me. I speak my mind readily and frequently unapologetically, but will avoid an entire relationship if disagreeing with that person means there will be any sort of abuse, whether it’s verbal, emotional, or physical. I was never great with aggression or power plays, and have only become less likely to stick around for it as the years have limped on. Movies that focus on our fuckery, even if it’s entirely fictitious fuckery, have captivated me because there is so little of me that understands the psychology of violence in its daily micro doses, much less at its utter, abyss riddled, end; I can’t see the story the way I do with other genres. I don’t process it with the part of me that easily accepts another person’s entity, another group’s humanity. I have to sit in my discomfort and reach in directions that apply much too frequently in real life. Horror makes me face a darkness that exists despite my frustration with it.