Halloween: the day for trick-or-treating, costume parties, watching horror movies, and other spooky celebrations. I’ve always enjoyed Halloween and some of its traditions, and though I’ve outgrown trick-or-treating and, as a graduated adult, possibly even costumed nights out, watching spooky movies is a tradition I can continue to enjoy.
Along with the traditions I indulge, another way in which my Halloween experience has changed with time is in the types of films I am willing to watch to mark the occasion.
In the past, I could only sit through and enjoy not-too-scary movies, like the Scary Movies or the Scream series (apparently, I’m a slasher fan), but I’d been off by anything creepier and more sinister, like Chucky or A Nightmare on Elm Street. Having had my fair share of sleepless nights after even the briefest glimpse of horror – I still remember a particular case involving Chucky quite well – I had no desire to willingly subject myself to that level of fright. And, even though the experiences mostly occurred when I was much younger, they were impactful enough to keep me away from the genre for quite some time.
Recently – probably in the past couple of years, give or take – I’ve been coming around to the horror genre. Whilst I’m still by no means a fanatic, I’ve started to appreciate movies that scare me; movies that keep me on the edge of my seat, that make me jump, and that make me excited to see what will happen next, even as I hide behind my hands.
So, what’s brought on this change? I hear you ask through some spooky Halloween magic. Well, I guess I got drawn into the genre because I discovered how intriguing the movies could be.
It’s a running joke amongst some who know me that if I haven’t seen a film, I probably still know how it ends because I’ve watched the Ending Explained video. Whilst it’s not entirely accurate – because I simply don’t have the time required to achieve it – there’s truth in it. I do, in fact, know how a lot of movies that I haven’t seen end, and this is especially true for horror movies.
For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, Ending Explained videos are videos – typically on YouTube – in which someone describes and explains the plot of a movie, sometimes delving into what it all means. It’s these videos that made horror movies seem to me like a worthwhile pastime. They showed me that there is analysis to be done in the genre – something I hadn’t considered in the times I was trying to change the channel as quickly as possible – and as a person that loves overthinking, that made the genre very appealing.
Through Ending Explained videos I discovered that beyond the scares, horror movies can be quite interesting from a story telling perspective, if only you take the time to look. The horror isn’t just there to thrill and scare the audience, it can also be used to dramatise and enhance the messages and themes that the movies contain.
Take, for example, Stephen King’s Room 1408. On the face of it, it’s a movie about a sceptic who tries to spend a night in a room he doesn’t believe is haunted, only to be terrorised by it. Within that story is another about a man forced to come to terms with death and loss. And, as another example, there’s the movie IT. Not only is IT a movie about a horrifying, but admittedly funny looking clown who satisfies his hunger by terrifying children and then eating them, it’s also a tale about troubled children facing their fears and coming of age.
Once I could see beyond the horror to the stories beneath, it became easier for me to enjoy horror movies. Additionally, I got older, allowing me to sleep a lot better after watching them – even if I do sometimes have to counter with funny or sweet Youtube videos before I close my eyes for the night.
I haven’t seen all horror movies or even all the Ending Explained videos for them, and I don’t necessarily go out of my way to find them to watch either. However, one or another does come along and pique my interest every now and then. Though I may not end up watching whatever movie it is, I’ll at least give it a chance by checking out the trailer, and afterwards, if I’m still not too sure it’s worth my time, the Ending Explained. (And yes, I do sometimes watch movies even after I’ve seen the Ending Explained.)
I will admit that I’m still not mentally prepared to watch something as scary as The Void – which I’ve only ever listened to the Ending Explained for because even just the pictures of the movie terrified me – I can watch, or at least consider, others. I’m now willing to watch movies like the two I mentioned above – I’ve already watched IT and hope to see IT Chapter 2 soon, and I’d like to watch Room 1408 at some point, too. And, maybe I could handle movies that are slightly scarier, and maybe at some point I’ll even consider the movies that scared me so in the past or other horror classics that people tend to watch at this time of year.
The point is, I now have another movie genre – or at least parts of one – that I can sit down to enjoy, think too much about, and discuss. And, at the end of the day, that’s what watching movies is all about, isn’t it?
What are your thoughts on the horror genre? Are you a fan? Do you have a “favourite scary movie”? Tell me down in the comments.
Thanks for reading and Happy Halloween!