One of the best things about October is the plethora of horror flicks available on TV. I have about eleventy billion channels because
I need to get a life my carrier gave me a good deal, so I’ve been watching a movie every other night for the past week. Sometimes they’re ones I’ve already seen, and sometimes they’re new to me. Classic, campy, creepy, scary, insane, I just love ’em.
Horror isn’t for everyone, however, and when I posted a status update on Facebook the other night saying I was watching Sinister 2, one of my old college roommates said, “I don’t know how you watch that stuff.”
If you’re not familiar with the Sinister movies, well, let’s just say they’re nerve-wracking in the best possible horror flick way, a great mix of tension and brutality, and they revolve around creepy kids to boot. You never know when something is going to happen, and sometimes there’s a payoff to a build, and sometimes there’s not. Although there’s some gore, it’s not gore for the sake of gore. In my opinion, The Walking Dead has a lot more gore, and a lot more gratuitous gore.
My response to my roomie was, “Watch it? Oh, honey, I’d love to WRITE it.” And it’s the truth: I do write horror for fun and catharsis. I would love to have written something like the Sinister stories, but for some reason, my stories always take a Janet Evanovich/Stephanie Plum turn for the comedic, probably because if I ever dove too deeply into the tar pit where my heart should be, I might never come out. It might be too comfortable.
See, horror flicks have never bothered me, even as a kid. My parents used to let me stay up past my bedtime just to watch a good one now and then, and we just loved Chiller Theatre, the Saturday-night program that showed horror movies on a local New York station. Anyone remember this?
My mother and I were both dismayed when Kolchak: The Night Stalker was canceled after only one season. She loved spooky stuff, too, and when I was in my 20s, sometimes we’d both turn the TV to the same channel and watch the same movie while we were talking to each other on the phone. The best was Trilogy of Terror, 20 years after it came out. Oh, that doll with the knife was so absolutely relentless! Yet there we were on the phone, both of us calling the main character an idiot for attempting to grab the knife by the blade with her fingertips as the little beastie plunged it under the door at her ankles, yet we were also laughing.
I have to give the nod to my parents on my imperviousness, because whenever we watched horror together, they made it a point to tell me, “it’s only a story, it’s not real.” As a result, I can watch stuff like the Sinister series and brush it off before the credits are done. My brain learned young, so even on a subconscious level, it just files everything away and puts a lock on the drawer.
That’s not to say I’ve never been seriously disturbed by something I’ve seen in a movie or on TV. One of the most terrifying things I’ve ever seen was the first season of HBO’s True Detective. No offense to anyone out there who lives in a rural area, but I couldn’t live in an area like the show’s setting, where there is a lot of religious fundamentalism, good ol’ boy cronyism, and wide, open space. I firmly believe that the more a community suppresses itself with extreme forms of religion (things like tent revivals and so on), and the more insular that community is, the more it backfires in the form of psychotic behavior that’s then brushed under the carpet and never acknowledged or spoken about.
And there? Out in the middle of nowhere? A dude can walk around wearing filthy tighty-whities and a gas mask and carrying a machete for years before anyone a) finds out about it, and b) does something about it. In other words, that show terrified me because it’s entirely possible. It could happen.
Ooh, I just gave myself the willies. If you’ll excuse me, I need to go get my mind off it with some lighter fare—like Hellraiser.