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13 August 2008

Scaredy-cat gene will make you scream How do you feel about scary movies?
I used to be a terrified little kid.

The other night I was in the house alone folding laundry and had the TV on in the background. Tales From the Dark Side came on, and by the time the theme song was done playing I was wigging the hell out. I changed the channel.

Ten minutes later I thought, that's idiotic. You're a grown person. So I changed the channel back, and sure enough it was idiotic and not in the least bit frightening.

But then another episode came on and the theme song wigged me out again so I changed it for good. So apparently I will never get over the trauma of having watched Tales From the Dark Side when I was a kid.
posted by The Loch Ness Monster 13 August | 17:19
I LOVE LOVE LOVE horror movies, but only if they scare me.
posted by BoringPostcards 13 August | 17:47
I was very easily frightened when I was a kid, and "kid" even stretches farther than you might expect. If I got the wrong thing in my mind I would be up all night, literally, and fighting with the urge to turn on the lights. And it didn't take much. There were episodes of Star Trek that did me in, honest.

The article's kind of interesting because I've got a real sonofabitch of a startle reflex, too, as many people have discovered upon innocently walking into my office. I certainly came by it honestly; definitely, unquestionably I got that from my mother. But I never drew a link between that sharp, over-in-a-moment SNAP! of a startle and any deeper fears.

My sister's maybe even more sensitive in certain ways; I don't think she has a violent startle reflex, but, hm, it's like even if it's just in writing, bad images are very, very real for her and cause a lot of distress. It's weird to me because she is in every respect tough as all hell and can deal heroically with anything she has to face in the real world. But what's left imagined is a lot harder.
posted by Wolfdog 13 August | 17:48
Definitely a scaredy-cat, though generally more with supernatural stuff than with slasher stuff. Scooby Doo used to give me nightmares for weeks.

I really can't watch horror films at all, and most of the time I have to change the channel if promos for horror films come on. It was hell trying to watch tv around the time that The Happening, The Strangers, and some other scary thing came out; I was flipping the channel every five minutes. (This does not stop me from watching tv shows about hauntings. However, it should.)

I remember sitting through an entire horror film at an acquaintance's sleepover, staring at the ground the entire time and trying to tune out the dialogue. The acquaintance was one of the popular kids and I didn't know anyone else at the party, and I didn't want them to make fun of me, so I didn't want to leave or say anything, but I also knew I couldn't watch.

I did go to see the American version of The Grudge when it came out, because of my obsession with Sarah Michelle Gellar. My then-boyfriend and I were walking home, it was dark, and when I looked over he was making an enormously scary face. I screamed and screamed and screamed -- I knew rationally that nothing was wrong, but I couldn't stop screaming.
posted by occhiblu 13 August | 17:58
Oh, also:

But what's left imagined is a lot harder.

I think that's why ads for scary movies freak me out so much -- so much suggestion without anything "fake" looking to cut through it. Signs freaked me out because it was so good at that element of suggestion, but once they showed even a glimpse of the big baddy I stopped being scared.
posted by occhiblu 13 August | 18:01
Depends on what you mean by scary. Movies like "The Silence of the Lambs" freak me the fuck out. Freddy and his ilk are comical and gross me out.
posted by eekacat 13 August | 18:18
Yeah-yeah, occhi! Posters or ads for scary movies were one of the worst things for me. Interesting, interesting. I ruminated a little once on the blue about what seemed scary to me as a kid, and I found that an interesting thread.

Nowadays I enjoy some things like The Ring or The Others which have a lot of tension to them - but if I'm alone and I let myself, I can still get pretty well weirded out. When that happens, I find it comforting to go out in the woods at night where things are alive and sound right, more so than staying inside which compounds the vague sort of claustrophobia that goes along with fright.

Stuff that's billed as Horror and has to do primarily with violence, or gore, or pain, I'm just not interested in. I guess I think most of that stuff isn't really scary; just I know what blood and guts are actually like from having my hands in 'em, and at the age where I think a lot of kids are interested in showing how tough they are, or how much they can stomach, I kind of already knew myself.
posted by Wolfdog 13 August | 18:25
I'm another one of those 'what's left to be imagined' is more frightening than the outright 'here's the baddy' type stuff.

There's only been one show/movie that I've ever had to turn off though and I've never been able to figure out what actually happened. It was an episode of the Outer Limits (newer ones probably) and all I remember from the very beginning was some woman on the phone with some man and he was saying that since the moon was so bright outside and so low that it meant the end was nigh. Or something like that. Unfortunately, that show was on at something like 1am. When the moon was quite bright. FREAKED ME THE FUCK OUT. There was also the whole show about how machines were going to attack us when the year 2000 came around, but I was pretty drunk at that point in time which probably had something to do with it.
posted by sperose 13 August | 19:08
I have a high startle response and also have anxiety issues. I don't mind, I'd rather that than depression issues, and I'm good in an emergency. Horror films are a little more complex, because I've developed an audience aesthetic over time. But no, I can't watch The Exorcist to this day.
posted by rainbaby 13 August | 19:10
This explains everything! I like scary movies, but I have a startle reflex that is off the charts. Loud noises, seeing someone as I turn a corner, popping balloon... all make me jump, yelp, and have heart palpitations.

Once, my sister and I were watching that god-awful murder mystery with Sean Connery that takes place in a bayou and he's creeping around at night in a swamp and a gator JUMPS out at him. My sister exclaimed (really loudly) "GOD.....DAMN!" Which made me get the nervous giggles, which made her laugh, until we were shushed by other movie-goers, which made us laugh more. She later told me that she had said "GOD" involuntarily, but then felt she should tack on "DAMN" for some reason. Still cracks me up.

And my mother told me that when she saw Wait Until Dark (you know, the one where Audrey Hepburn plays a blind woman who gets mixed up in a murder mystery), when the murderer leapt out from behind the couch, the woman sitting in front of her involuntarily threw her coke straight up in the air.

posted by Specklet 14 August | 05:15
WTF is the matter with people who expect you to watch their freaky @#$* on television while eating dinner??? The other night I was eating dinner with my parents. Unbeknownst they had rented a movie about the freaking Inquisition, for gd's sake. What are you supposed to do, leave the table? And why would you comfort someone who's really sick with the flu by renting a vampire movie or something??? Or how about when you're at college, far from home and what's their idea of a movie night but Midnight Express. WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH PEOPLE!!!

I'm gonna GIVE you that gene variation, clodheads.
posted by serena 14 August | 21:55
"official" vs. actual job descriptions || My sweetie and I are thinking of adopting a bun.