Editorials, Everything Else — October 31, 2011 at 6:00 am

WHY NOT HORROR MOVIES?

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Considering this is the last day when I can do pretty much whatever I want here at Man, I Love Films, I figured I’d take advantage of the editorial feature here and talk about something that’s been on my mind for awhile now. Why don’t people watch horror movies?

There are some people, many whom write for this very site, who admit they don’t like horror movies or only seen a few. I can’t imagine having to go through my entire life without watching The Exorcist, Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Shining, and yes Friday the 13th. I wouldn’t be the man I am today without Friday the 13th. I’d probably be named Nedrick and be into math and living in a basement apartment and swear to everyone in the accounting department that the landlady is NOT my Mom.

One question I get asked a lot is “Why do I watch these movies where awful deplorable things happen to seemingly innocent people?” My answer to that is simple: why do women watch romantic movies?

Bear with me on this. Women watch romantic movies because they’re all about a woman who wants to find the perfect man, and she finds one hunky beefcake and they get all passionate and he’s perfect in every way. Women then look over at their boyfriends or husbands, who’s either drooling in their sleep, or reading some sports magazine while farting and drinking beer. Are they gonna leave their boyfriends or husbands and try to hook up with Brad Pitt or Ryan Gosling? No, they’re not. But they can enjoy the fantasy of fucking Brad Pitt or Ryan Gosling.

Same goes for how I can watch fucked up horror movies. I KNOW it’s fake. I know the chick getting chainsawed in half is just some actress who couldn’t land a part in the Ryan Gosling film so she’s doing this to pay the bills. I know the guy under the mask isn’t really a psycho serial killer. But also, it’s escapism.

I’m sure there’s been some period in your life where you said “UGH! I hate that guy! I just want to kill him!” but you never do it because you know you’ll get caught and sent to prison where you’ll learn how much a man’s anus CAN hold. What’s a more perfect way to escape than watching some guy in a mask kill a bunch of people. There’s a reason why all the victims in horror movies are dumb teenagers: because real life teenagers are fucking annoying. (GET OFF MY LAWN!)

I love watching movies, both good and bad. I’ll watch ALMOST anything (within the genres I love). When Tarantino releases a movie, I’m the first in line. When Alien Bloodsucking Feet Part 29 is released, I instantly get it on Netflix. I just enjoy watching them. And honestly, these movies have a lot of awesome gems in them. Without Snakes on a Plane we wouldn’t have “I’VE HAD IT WITH THESE MOTHERFUCKING SNAKES ON THIS MOTHERFUCKING PLANE!” Without Friday the 13th Part 6 we wouldn’t have Horshack trying to bring Jason Voorhees to life. Without Shark Attack 3, we wouldn’t know what to do when you’re pretty wired from chasing a giant shark all day. (Answer here)

And so I end this with a question: why NOT horror movies? Give them a chance. I’m not saying you have to watch The Human Centipede or A Serbian Film. True story: a girl I went to school with put on her Facebook “I need suggestions for a good scary movies for the kids” and I replied back The Monster Squad! She responded: “Oh no! I don’t wanna give the kids nightmares. I think we’ll watch Casper instead!”

Man, she has NO idea what she’s missing.
-Jason

(Later tonight, my takeover ends where I review the perfect “HALLOWEEN” (wink) film.)

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11 Comments

  • I like horror movies; I just like them in small doses.

  • I’ve admitted before on this site that horror is low in my genre rankings, but I will also admit right now that I’ve seen all of the horror films you listed in your opening.

    And I love that these life-affirming choices are all close to or over 30 years old – the gloden age of modern horror.

    As for Horror = Chick Flick? That I don’t buy. If a woman were presented with the opportunity to be with her ideal man (the root of all romantic comedies), she just might pursue it (whether she’s in a committed relationship or not). How many people would chainsaw a teenager in half if presented with the opportunity to do that?

    • I dunno, have you seen “Hostel”? (Probably not.)

      I only compared the two genres to establish both is about escapism. I don’t think anyone is really crazy enough to WANT to see teenagers get sawed in half, but it’s fun to imagine in a fictional setting what’d be like, that’s all.
      -Jason

      • You’re right. I haven’t seen Hostel. I have no desire to, either.

        And I understood the point you were making about films being escapist fare. All films are, regardless of genre. But you went into enough detail in your comparison of horror to romance that I felt compelled to debate that specific comparison. That’s all. I hope I didn’t come across as judgemental. That wasn’t my intent.

        I think the true answer to your question “Why NOT horror movies?” lies in part of your response to me, which was, “… it’s fun to imagine in a fictional setting what’d be like [to saw teenagers in half].” That’s not fun for everybody. And I understand that imagining riding off into the sunset isn’t fun for everybody, and imagining saving the planet from destruction isn’t fun for everybody, and imagining living happily ever after isn’t fun for everybody. But you have to admit there is a certain instinctive recoil response to horror that doesn’t exist with other genres.

        I think it’s that recoil response that is the root cause for horror being the most common genre in the “Why would you watch so much of ‘this type of movie’?” question.

        It’s a good debate, Jason. And that’s what I like about this platform and this website: good debate.

        • I didn’t think you were judgmental at all. And you’re right, I am aware there are people who wouldn’t want to watch certain types of horror movies and I respect people’s opinions on stuff. I just don’t think some people give certain horror movies a chance, that’s all.

          And yes, this is indeed a good debate.
          -Jason

  • I love horror movies. To each their own, but I love ‘em. And I know they’re fake and all, but you nailed it – escapism. And another site did a post and one line they had resonated with me and still does: “Who’d want to live in a world where every movie is perfect.” Not me.

  • I watch horror movies because I like being scared. Of course, not all of them scare me, but I like watching people in peril. Sometimes they escape, sometimes they don’t. Either way, it’s exciting. I guarantee you, 100%, that if you send one of those “I don’t watch horror movies” people, I could find at least one movie they would enjoy. It’s sort of the same for very heavy character dramas. It’s the suspense. Now, once you realize you like horror movies, it’s up to you to figure out what kinds you like. Fans of The Haunting might not like I Spit on Your Grave. I’d say it’s more likely for the inverse to be the case.

  • Part of what I love about the horror genre is that there are so many gems out there, but you have to dig deep to find them. It’s so satisfying to stumble upon a little known, no budget horror that’s genuinely good. You have to dig through a lot of crap, to be sure, but when you get to the good ones, it’s extremely satisfying.

    The other thing is this- it’s such a “check your brain at the door” genre. Nobody is going to preach to you that “Triangle” deserves an Oscar. Nobody will ever tell you that “Human Centipede” is one of the best movies ever made. You watch it and either it’s enjoyable and it surprises you, or you watch it and it sucks… but who cares, because expectations are low anyway. If it’s really good, it gives you a jump. And if it REALLY sucks, then it’s GREAT because you can laugh at it. Horror becomes comedy.

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