Like most of you reading this, I’m often asked by non-horror fans what it is that I’m so drawn to, about horror movies. Why do I like being scared? And why do I have so much fun watching people get sliced and diced, on screens both big and small?
These aren’t easy questions to answer, and quite frankly words often escape me, when they’re asked of me. But I finally have an answer, thanks to a 20-second video that sums it all up in a way that words alone never could.
Check out the video below, courtesy of America’s Funniest Home Videos, and then we’ll talk more about it!
I think it’s safe to say that every horror fan on the planet has had this same reaction to a scary story as a kid, whether it was one we read in a book or one we watched on the screen. Rather than being repelled by terror, we all realized that we were fascinated and intrigued by it, and in that sense this kid kinda represents all of us.
As his mother reads him a tale from Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (which is soon being turned into a feature film!), you can tell that he is genuinely intrigued by the story, his eyes glued to the page and his mind drowning out everything going on around him. And though the story terrifies him, he ultimately insists that his mom keep reading.
And therein lies the fun of all things horror, both for kids and adults: they allow for us to confront our deepest and darkest fears, always from a safe enough distance that we can never actually be harmed by the words on the page and/or the images on the screen. Like we all did/do, this kid understands that, and his post-scare reaction beautifully conveys the fun of being scared.
It’s no coincidence that most horror fans fell in love with the genre at a fairly young age, as it’s that childlike feeling of being scared about the monster under the bed that drew us all in. And though most of us have long since conquered those silly fears, horror movies give us the chance to get back in touch with those childhood feelings, which is a pretty damn beautiful thing.
So why do I love horror movies so much? Why do I like to be scared? Because it makes me feel like a kid again. No matter how stressful real life becomes, horror movies both new and old are always there for me, serving as a window to a time when the thrills and chills of childhood made life so much more fun.
Thanks to horror movies, I’ve never lost that feeling of being fascinated by the unknown, the scary and the monstrous, and I sincerely hope I never do. Though the monsters are no longer under my bed or in my closet, they’re still there when I want them to be, and I take a whole lot of comfort in that.
So thanks, kid. Thanks for reminding me why I fell in love with it all in the first place.