Scare Yourself to Death
OK, so I'll admit it. Scary movies, well, scare me. I'd like to say it ended in high school, when I ended up all alone in the front seat of The Sixth Sense theater, my friends snickering somewhere behind me. The whole theater, however, heard me gasp when the boy-with-no-back-of-the-head turned around. But I watched it several years later while home by myself at night and am proud to say I had no nightmares.
Unfortunately, this inability to be quiet followed me to college. I refused to watch The Ring without the lights on. And Wrong Turn, about the inbred West Virginia mutants killing innocent college students? "If you aren't quiet, Nettie, you can't watch the rest of the movie with us!" I suppose it's progress that I'm making a fool of myself in a room with a rented movie instead of a theater. OF course that might be because I'm just cheap.
In spite of this, I continue to scare myself. I love Silence of the Lambs, although I've watched to the point of it no longer being scary. I've discovered Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction, which makes me jump at least twice an episode even though the whole point is that it may or may not be true. So is there some deep psychological significance for why we continue to deliberately scare ourselves?
Is it easier than facing the reality of what truly scares us? Is it at least more exciting than some drama about people whining for their lives or trying to win a million dollars by eating bugs? Does it vicariously satisfy our dark sides like nothing in real life ever can? Comforting to know that we are actually safe and can scream and someone will always come to our rescue? Maybe. Or is it just fun to be scared?