Now, I wasn't quite sure how to title this post as I don't really feel guilty about my hidden addiction as such, but more the amount of time spent on it! When I've got a chunk of free time on my hands I love nothing more than snuggling down on the sofa under a blanket, switching Netflix on and watching a horror movie. Recently I've been through the following: Candyman, Candyman 2, The Ring 2 (Netflix often only has sequels, which is a little annoying), The Woman in Black, Apartment 143, Poltergeist, Sinister, When A Stranger Calls, The House at the End of the Street, and, erm, one or two more that I can't quite remember the names of.
I'll watch a horror film at any time of day, be it first thing while eating breakfast, as a late afternoon treat or at night. Working in a school, I get quite generous holidays which means copious hours available for indulging my addiction. I love the horror genre more than any other, even more so than musicals which is most definitely my second favourite genre! I think my obsession started when I was around ten years old and stumbled across a VHS copy of Face/Off at my Dad's house. Now I know Face/Off is more of a thriller than a horror, but it scared me witless, what with the whole slicing one's face off and swapping it with another story-line From then on I was hooked. I remember watching The Sixth Sense one evening with my best friend (again at my Dad's house when I was about eleven- he was clearly much more lax about parental guidance guidelines than my Mum!) and we screamed so much I'm surprised the neighbours didn't call the police. I was terrified, especially when the kid is hiding in his makeshift tent in the middle of his room and that scary girl starts snipping away at the opening before puking her guts up all over him. Aaaaargh!!! And when his mum walks into the kitchen and all of the cupboard doors have been pulled open, and of course when he's in the little girl's room and her hand suddenly shoots out from under the bed and grabs his ankle. God, my heart is racing just writing about it. Scary times.
The first scary film I recall watching in the cinema was The Others. I must have been about thirteen and I went with a group of school friends. We sat in the back row, screaming our heads off every five seconds. As soon as the film starts with Nicole Kidman waking up hollering from a nightmare I was off, pumped up on the adrenaline of fear and screaming so much I actually thought I might be sick. The part that still totally scares the pants off of me now is when the daughter is playing with a puppet and you realise her hand is suddenly the hand of an old woman. And the scene in which the two kids are hiding in the wardrobe and the old blind woman suddenly flings open the door. I still can't bring myself to watch that without my hands over my face for protection. I think The Others is one of the scariest films I've ever seen, and it's only a 12! It spooks me out every time. What I love about The Sixth Sense and The Others is the plot twists and the ace acting. From then on, I was hooked on horror.
My favourite type of story-line is anything involving possession or ghosts. This freaks me out far more than things that are actually possible, such as the torture and murders carried out in The Strangers. My friend Michaela wrote a fab blog post about her favourite horror movies during which she states she would simply kill herself if ever she should find herself in such a situation, and I'm sure I'd do the same if a bunch of crazy real-life murderers with masks were tormenting me. Saw, The Strangers, The Purge... I'd be out of the game from the get-go. Nothing to be scared of; just leap out of a window and it's film over.The ones that really give me the chills are the ones involving invisible forces. because then you'd be wondering if it's all in the mind or real... When I watched The Exorcism of Emily Rose in the cinema it was enough to put me off watching a scary film ever again (well, at least for a few months afterwards). I have genuinely never been so terrified in all my life. The idea of an ordinary uni student suddenly speaking in a gravelly voice and contorting her body into all sorts of positions due to being possessed by demons was waaaaaaaaay too much for me at the time! Jennifer Carpenter is suitably freaky as Emily Rose, and as it was based on a true story, that of the supposed possession of Anneliese Michel, it was even scarier than usual. (By the way, if you plan on Youtubing the real Anneliese Michel and decide to listen to her exorcism tapes, DO NOT do so at night!) I recently watched The Possession which looked as if it would be a super scary possession film, but unfortunately it fell totally flat and I thought it was rubbish. A demon trapped in a box that opens by itself and a ring that turns Emily's finger blue? No. Didn't do it for me. I mean, they called her Emily, which immediately annoyed me. And wouldn't someone notice her whole hand turning a funny blue colour after a few days?! But, even though it was rubbish, that's part of the joy of watching horror films. Even the rubbish ones are enjoyable for any jumpy scenes they deliver.
Then there are the classics, such as The Exorcist (not that scary although the spider walk down the stairs is worth a watch for it's total creepiness), The Omen (loved the recent remake with Julia Stiles), Poltergeist (again, not that scary but has some funny moments and the acting is pretty great) and The Amityville Horror (the remake totally spooked me out, making it one of all-time favourite horror movies). I absolutely love the Scream series and could watch those movies over and over again. I also really like I Know What You Did Last Summer and lots of the Japanese remakes such as The Ring and The Grudge.
What is it I like so much about scary films? Considering I'm scared easily and have a very active imagination prone to catastrophising, why would I want to scare myself silly all the time? I just love the sense of anticipation that comes with waiting to be scared, the eventual 'jump' that follows and the relief of 'surviving' each shock. I have a tendency to swear like a trooper throughout horror films, which is rather stress relieving. I've always been into ghost stories and 'real life' hauntings, and even though I don't believe the films are 'real' it's still exciting to think 'what if...' When I was younger I'd write heaps of scary stories and always loved reading Goosebumps and Point Horror.
It's the excitement, the stress, the release of anxiety and the 'high' a good, safe, contained scare delivers that is so addictive and enjoyable. It's funny because my parents hate scary films and my fiance finds them boring, so usually it's just me watching them alone like a bit of a loser! I have a few partners in crime who I go to the cinema with to watch horror films, but there's something really quite nice and relaxing about snuggling down on the couch, bag of popcorn in hand, to watch a random scary film on Netflix. Bliss!