Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Why I don't do horror

The other day when I was winding down the school year and showing movies a kid asked why I never bring scary movies. I pointed her to Shaun of the Dead and she gave me a disappointed look. "That's not scary," she said.

And okay, she has a point. Besides my undying love for zombies, I really don't enjoy horror movies at all. I'm too empathetic.

I think with horror movies if you have empathy, you enjoy the scares. If you can shut your empathy off, you enjoy the gore. When I watch a gory movie I am entirely too grossed out to enjoy it and it gives me bad dreams. I probably saw Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night Two like 15 years ago, but I still remember this one scene where this girl went to hide in a locker and Mary Lou squeezed the locker until it crushed the girl and flesh colored ooze came out. Despite the completely illogical appearance of the ooze, I still have icky feelings about that scene.

And torture porn REALLY grosses me out. All that Eli Roth stuff, I can't watch it. I'm too busy thinking about how painful it is to enjoy it. I'm not entirely sure what exactly you're supposed to enjoy there. Are you supposed to be scared for the person getting tortured? Because I am the first person to feel for the protagonist, but I'm too grossed out to even be scared.

I do like movies that use suspense instead of gore. I watched Jeepers Creepers the other night for the first time, and although the ending became sort of silly and the story could have used some work, there were moments when I was clutching my pillow yelling "Just drive the goddamn car, you fucking retard! GOOOOOOOOO!" because I was trying to get away from the scary flying man.

And then when they explained what he was I was like oh.

The point is, I can watch a movie that's actually scary. I cannot watch a movie that's disgusting.

The exception is most zombie movies.

Okay, so I still can't really watch Resident Evil because there's a definite gross-out factor there, and because any kind of laser cutting people into bits really disturbs me. My ex made me close my eyes for the first five minutes of Ghost Ship because everybody gets sliced in half with a thing. And Cube can go suck a dick. I have never gotten over that stupid fucking asshole of a movie. And I will never forgive it for the hurt it has caused me. But the point is, with most zombie movies it's the zombies getting the grossest hits and they're not human anymore, and also the blood usually looks really fake.

This one time a friend of mine asked me to read his screenplay and it was basically Hostel, only in his movie somebody slid down a slide of razor blades into a pool of alcohol. Why the fuck would anyone enjoy watching that? I almost retched while reading it. I like my scares without vomit, please.


  1. I hate, HATE, HATE torture porn, too. I can't enjoy that stuff. the SAW movies are well-written and well-directed, but still so gross and disturbing.

    Like you, I feel for the protagonist most of the time. The only time I took pleasure in someone's death were those bimbos in the remake of "Black Christmas," because well, they deserved it.

    I prefer to watch 80s/70s horror movies because they were cheesy and badly acted. No thanks to Eli Roth or SAW, I'll stick with Friday the 13th and Halloween.

  2. and DONT watch Midnight Meat Train! God, that movie was so disgusting, over the top, and totally worthless. I felt depressed after watching it.

    and I don't get Rob Zombie's movies, either. I'm not sure what was the point of "House of 1000 Corpses." Ugh.

  3. I am so cripplingly sensitive that I can only really enjoy lighthearted, pleasant comedies. I prefer to explore the nuances of human emotion, because the extremes are just too upsetting for me.

    Similarly, my taste buds are so sensitive that even mildly spicy foods are literally painful to me. Related?

  4. I’m curious about something – what do you think about a movie like, say, Alien? Alien is, like most horror movies, not really about anything. There’s a killer on the loose, and it’s taking everyone out, one by one. Yes, there’s an evil corporation, and blah, blah, blah, but for the most part it’s just chasing and killing.

    And hey – pull up Jason X, and it’s pretty much the same movie, only with a creature that’s harder to kill.

  5. Of course I love Alien. I was trying to think of reasons why Alien is different than other horror movies but I couldn't come up with anything convincing. It just is.

  6. I like horror movies. I tend to wait for them on DVD although I did see Drag Me to Hell on the theatre and that was a lot of fun. The audience laughed as much as we cringed.

    I'm all in for a good gore flick. Some of the more distrubing stuff comes over form Japan. Not sure what the hell is going on over there...


  7. My main problem with horror movies is that the characters are idiots (almost any Slasher), and as soon as they do something ridiculously stupid (let's split up!) I lose all sense of empathy for them.

    The second problem is that some of them are so illogical, if you actually think about them for more than five minutes after, you find soooo many plot holes. I'm looking at you, SAW.

  8. I think Alien is different just because it's well done. It works more like a symphony than a horror film. It's all about tension and release. Any deaths or gore don't hit as hard, because it breaks up the tension. Hell, it's almost a relief when someone dies, anything is better then the tension which comes from the fear of the unknown.


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