The Internet is abuzz with people stating that they’ve found the scariest movie of the past few years. These posts are so sure of themselves, that is until they find the next scariest horror film the following week. I’ve got one site declaring The Witch to be unbearably terrifying while another calls The Taking of Deborah Logan the most horrifying movie on Netflix.
I see posts like these all the time and while their air of certainty may vary, there’s one thing that stays the same: the comments.
An overwhelming about of them will be about how the movie isn’t scary at all which somehow leads to the conclusion that it’s a waste of time. What a narrow-minded and simplistic method of judgment. This one-step way of declaring a verdict would leave me without horror films to love.
Maybe it’s because I’ve been watching horror movies since my toddler years, but I’ve never once been scared by one, and yet it’s one of my favorite genres. While I’m sure it’s a thrill having a piece of entertainment leave you unnerved and suspicious of every dark corner as you crawl into bed at night, I see it as a mere bonus.
It’s telling that some of the classics aren’t host to a spine-chilling effect; I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t love Night of the Living Dead, but I’ve also never met anyone who’s been scared by it.
I’ve been seeing a lot of praise for Kristy this week (sidenote: you’re better off watching You’re Next) but I don’t see many instances in which someone could actually be scared by it.
This is a genre routed in the psychological with an occasional dash of comedy. It’s why Rosemary’s Baby is more mysterious than anything else and why many people enjoy watching Black Christmas when December rolls in.
If a movie is actually scary, by all means, applaud it, but it shouldn’t be the most important box on the “Is a horror movie worth it?” checklist.
With the desensitization brought to us by the Internet age, there’s not much that can scare the general population anymore. I think the only person that’s been scared by a movie recently has been my sister, and that’s just because it’s not that hard to have that affect on her. If we don’t stop holding horror to currently unreachable standards, we’re all going to be a very unhappy bunch. Enjoy it for the ride; that’s what it’s there for.
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