A Brief Horror Thought

We’ve been watching a bunch of horror movies in the last few weeks; it’s Chloe’s thing, and something she’s done ever since I’ve known her — when it gets to October, she tries to watch as many horror movies as she can, even going so far as to draw up lists of potential movies to check out (or, in many cases, rewatch; there are favorites that get annual check-ins, just like I obsessively rewatch Holiday Inn ever December).

Me, I’m not really a horror guy. It’s never been my scene, although that became far more the case in my last relationship, where I was with someone who really disliked horror and so we never watched it, and somehow it became received wisdom that I didn’t like horror as if by accident. I remember watching The Ring way back when I first moved to the U.S., and being terrified when my phone rang at the same time as the phone onscreen, so I know I was into horror once; I’m not entirely sure where and when that faded, but things got slippy in that relationship in all manner of ways. (I also remember seeing The Blair Witch Project on opening night, way back when; that was a bad idea, all things considered.)

I mention this because, watching all these horror movies in a row made me think to myself, I want to see a horror movie without any supernatural elements. Or, really, what I mean is, I want to see a movie where the protagonist isn’t justified in their paranoia.

Think about it: what if Rosemary in Rosemary’s Baby actually was as delusional as everyone kept gaslighting her by saying? What if Sydney didn’t continually face off with a new serial killer in each successive Scream movie, but was instead just utterly traumatized by what she’d gone through, and had to come to terms with that, instead?

What would be left would be entirely different movies, I know, but not necessarily less interesting ones, nor stories less worthy of telling. After all, sometimes I wonder what lessons such movies are teaching when the core message is, “it’s okay to be scared and close yourself away, because they really are coming to get you.”

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