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Discuss: Friday the 13th

Given that today is Friday the 13th, I thought I’d ask a question about things that are frightening and terrifying.

I hate scary movies.  Always have.  If your film involves zombies, ghosts, witches, monsters, serial killers, blood-thirsty sharks, demons or children possessed by anything other than the Christmas spirit, I am so unbelievably not interested.  In other words, I hate being scared and I definitely don’t find any of the traditional tools of fright to be entertaining.

This is probably why I dislike Halloween so much.

I find that there are enough things in real life to be terrified of that I don’t need to add fictional things to the mix, and I don’t really understand why so many people will pay good money to be frightened.  So here’s the question:  Do you like scary movies/television shows?  What kinds of scary things do you find entertaining and why?



  1. Devon says:

    I love Halloween and to some extent, scary movies…good ones. The first “Halloween” was brilliant. Try watching that for the first time at a drive-in theater.

    I watch “The Walking Dead” and “True Blood” now, without affecting my sleep. But growing up, the old horror movies, like “Dracula” and “Nosferatu”, used to terrify my dreams. And I happily went to the theaters to be scared witless while watching David Selby in the “Dark Shadows” movies. The movie that affected me the most was “The Omen.” I couldn’t close my eyes without seeing that wicked nurses’s eyes willing Damien to tricycle his mother over the second-floor railing.

    Growing up in Kentucky, I enjoyed dressing up for Halloween even though I generally had to haul my brother and sister around with me. It was a chance to wear my ballet costumes outside of the recital, and recalling my younger brother dressed as a squirrel has fueled our Thanksgiving dinner conversations for years.

    After moving to Montana as a parent, I have to say, Halloween was more about indoor parties than going door-to-door because costumes, most years, had to be designed to be worn over heavy coats, boots and ski masks. Luckily my son enjoyed being a ghost for several years in a row.

    September 13, 2013/Reply
  2. Anna says:

    “I find that there are enough things in real life to be terrified of that I don’t need to add fictional things to the mix”

    That basically sums up how I feel about scary or depressing movies. I watch a movie to be entertained, to immerse myself in a fictional world preferable to my own reality, at least temporarily, not to be traumatized or saddened. If I do happen to watch something disturbing at night, I always have to watch at least 30 mins of light-hearted comedy or mindless entertainment before going to bed to balance it out.

    September 13, 2013/Reply
  3. Amber says:

    The line I usually draw is “people scary.” Serial killers, possessed children, etc. Give me Giant _________ (dinosaur, crocodile, sheep) Terrorizes Small _________ (island, beach, village, town) and I’m happy.

    September 13, 2013/Reply
  4. A.J. says:

    Agreed, nothing scary. I can *somewhat* do action/spycraft movies but I don’t care to be nervous or on the edge of my seat watching a movie/tv show…I want to relax. I want brain candy.

    September 13, 2013/Reply
    • s says:

      same here. i’m not a big action/horror movie fan and tend to watch a lot of chick flicks and nonfiction stuff (when i have cable, which is … not currently haha).

      September 13, 2013/Reply
  5. AnnaD says:

    I agree with you. I don’t want to feel terrified. Action movies or thrillers, sure – but nothing with chainsaws or demons. I have enough trouble sleeping as it is…

    September 13, 2013/Reply
  6. ohraq says:

    I always like the idea of a scary movie but then half way through I am closing my eyes and cringing… I should probably learn but there is a certain thrill to being scared of something that you know deep down is not a real danger. However with sad movies or just gratuitously violent movies I draw the line- there are enough sad and terrible things in this world, why would I pay money to watch that and feel the melancholy afterwards? I already get the Times and Post.

    September 13, 2013/Reply
  7. Dolly says:

    “… I hate being scared and I definitely don’t find any of the traditional tools of fright to be entertaining.”

    Agreed. I also don’t understand HOW the traditional tools of fright CAN BE entertaining.

    I have a self-imposed ban on watching anything remotely scary. A perfect example of why this ban exists is what happened the night I watched “The Exorcism of Emily Rose.” If you’ve seen the movie, you know the main character gets possessed by a demon at 3AM. I watched the movie before going to bed, but was not especially creeped out until I woke up a few hours later exactly at 2:59AM. I was convinced my demonic possession was imminent and did not move a muscle until exactly 4:01AM (after “the witching hour” was over), at which time I sprang from bed, turned on all the lights in my bedroom, turned on the Christian radio station, and read my Bible until my alarm went off. This was like, a year or more ago. And these days, if I happen to wake up around 3AM, I still have a small panic and usually end up sleeping with my Bible.

    That said, I do love a good ghost tour. I can’t explain that. At all.

    September 13, 2013/Reply
    • mk says:

      I had to laugh–not at you, but with you. I had exactly the same experience! I still don’t look at my clock when I wake up in the middle of the night 🙂

      I used to watch all of the slasher movies and still find them fun to watch around Halloween, which is one of my favorite holidays. But I think the torture porn is not clever, just disgusting and horrifying. And the level of psychological fear that the demon/possession movies create is too much–too real-seeming–but maybe that’s due to my religious background as well.

      September 14, 2013/Reply
  8. Emily says:

    I HATE scary entertainment with 2 exceptions: The Walking Dead and shark movies. I love them both!

    September 13, 2013/Reply
  9. KRF says:

    I love this post! I also do not share a love of Halloween and anything scary (I cracked up at the Christmas spirit comment). I still have not recovered from a sleepover I attended in the 6th grade when the movie “Pet Cemetary” was rented. I tried to get over my fear of scary movies when the “Scream” series came out and found myself equally terrified even though I they were supposed to be tongue and cheek type films! Thanks Belle

    September 13, 2013/Reply
  10. lhh says:

    I don’t like scary, violent or sad movies; I’m a PG-13 kind of girl.

    September 13, 2013/Reply
  11. GA says:

    I’ll admit it: I’m a horror junkie. So is my fiance. In fact, we have a Friday the 13th date to see Insidious 2 tonight. We love Halloween, we love scary movies, and I also play horror video games. They’re more immersive, and therefore more effective. Kind of like drugs, maybe? It takes a bigger dose each time to get a sufficient response? My fiance actually draws the line at these, because in his words, “After a certain point, it’s just psychological torture.” Touche.

    Funnily enough, I’m really not a macabre person. And I hear the “But there are so many REAL things to be afraid of” argument a lot, but the best way I can describe it is that real horrors make me more sad than scared. It’s a deeper, more present type of fear that makes me have doubts about humanity. Scary movies, particularly those featuring fictitious monsters (ghosts are my favorite), are shallow scares that give me an adrenaline rush but don’t leave me afraid after they movies are over. I don’t believe in ghosts outside of the movie theater. I don’t await the zombie apocalypse. To me, it’s all just temporary fun. A different type of escapism.

    I’m not sure if that makes any sense. I’ve tried explaining it to my very-much-anti-horror friends, and they don’t seem to understand it. I guess the real and more concise answer is… “different strokes!”

    Just so we’re clear, I also watch a LOT of chick flicks. I mean, an embarrassing amount.

    September 13, 2013/Reply
    • GA says:

      Though I should add that I do have a line I will not cross: no on-screen animal or child brutality, CG’d to hell and back or not. I can barely handle that stuff OFF-screen.

      September 13, 2013/Reply
  12. Ann S says:

    My sister’s birthday is Halloween (mine is New Years’s Eve…go figure) so Halloween was always a big deal at our house

    But I am not a fan of scary be it demons/monsters/maniacs or those equally horrifying- for-a-completely-different-reason sparkly vampires

    September 13, 2013/Reply
  13. BC says:

    One word…
    Especially when they have an evil/happy smirk. Can’t watch them, don’t want to be near them! Poltergeist and Steven King’s It scarred me for life.
    Scary movies, I can take them or leave them. Unless they have a really good story to tell or are stupidly funny, Otherwise I don’t bother. Of course never if a clown is involved.

    September 13, 2013/Reply
  14. Cindy J says:

    Honestly, I stay as far away as horror movies as I can get. I can’t even watch the ads. That stuff just stays with me long-term and keeps me awake at night. I have a really hard time understanding anyone who says they enjoy watching torture, death, gore, etc.

    September 13, 2013/Reply
  15. ~M says:

    I cannot take scary movies. I cannot take scary stories. However, Shaun of the Dead is an AMAZING movie. Simon Pegg is my favorite actor. It took me 8 years to work up the nerve to watch the movie. It’s very bloody and there are a few scary/shocking parts, but you can tell when they’re about to happen and I just close my eyes. It’s so funny. Not as good as Hot Fuzz, but pretty fantastic.

    September 14, 2013/Reply
  16. Reed says:

    I prefer thrillers. However, I love Halloween–if only for the decorating.

    September 14, 2013/Reply
  17. Cynthia W says:

    I liked them when I was younger – but just your basic 80s slasher-type movies, The Exorcist scared me half to death and I won’t do anything with demonic possession. I also don’t like any of the new torture-porn type scary movies, so I haven’t watched one in years. Ghost stories, I can do.

    To tell the truth, I’d rather watch a horror movie than a dramatic movie that involves the death/kidnapping/assault of a child or anything that involves the brutalization or exploitation of women – to me, that’s the least entertaining thing that I can imagine watching. And I’ve walked out of movies that sprung that kind of surprise on me.

    September 16, 2013/Reply
  18. Capitol Hill SE says:

    “I find that there are enough things in real life to be terrified of that I don’t need to add fictional things to the mix” –Agree completely, especially as I sit in my locked-down office while the Navy Yard shooters are still at large. I dislike any entertainment that involves violence, including crime investigation shows. Hits a little too close to home.

    But I do love Halloween. Not the gruesome elements, but the jack-o-lanterns and trick-or-treating and costumes that don’t involve fake blood. I’m a late October baby, and I adore that time of year and the whimsical weirdness of Halloween. It’s one of my favorite holidays.

    September 16, 2013/Reply