It starts off like this.
You’re alone, in front of an eerie, empty house. It looks old, like it’s about to collapse any moment. You’ve never seen anyone come near the house and everyone avoids it. You’re warned to stay away, but obviously, you enter because you’re ‘curious’. After an inspection of the house, you find black and white photographs of families lined across the walls, creepy dolls, creaky stairs and doors that seem to close on their own.
But, despite all of this, you still decide to stay; you’re brave (not really, you just lack brain cells). You see a room, and enter. There’s a mirror in the corner, and you stand in front of it. But, as you stare at yourself, you realize there’s someone standing behind you. Later on, it turns out that someone died in a very tragic accident at this very house. Wow, who would have thought? It’s not like you were warned to stay away!
This, right here, is a scene from a typical horror movie. It’s kind of like a classic recipe that has been in your family for years, and has never changed. There’s always the fixed farrago of ingredients:
An imbecilic protagonist who stays alive until the end, even though he/she makes terrible life choices.
A friend or lover, who is (surprisingly) pretty smart, but sacrifices himself/herself to save the protagonist’s life.
A creepy house/object that the protagonist will not think of destroying until he/she literally faces a life or death situation.
Silent scenes, or scenes with quiet murmuring, where the audience is forced to maximize the volume, and BAM! Add a loud jump-scare right after this to scare the viewers.
A finale, where everything is fine…..or is it?
And then, depending on the success of the movie, there will be a terrible sequel with exactly the same story, this time, with different characters.
Horror movies have been around since the late 19th century, and (surprisingly) continue to attract a large audience, even today. I’m probably being hypocritical; I insult movies with unsavory jump-scares, yet I always get hooked onto them. But why do people love horror movies? Why do we like to feel terrified and scared?
Fear is a popular and common theme in these movies. But in reality, fear because of life-or-death situations hardly touches our lives. It is a distant feeling which we hardly feel in reality. It lets you feel the adrenaline pumping through your veins without having any consequences. (Not to mention not being able to walk by mirrors or go to the washroom alone for a day or two.)
Admittedly, many people avoid horror movies. Quite a lot of people refuse to watch horror movies and it’s understandable. The psychological trauma, the gore, the anticipation, and the endings aren’t for everyone. Some people reject fear for the same reason others crave it.
Fear is a rare, infrequent experience. It’s like a drug. Some try it for the first time and are hooked, while others retch in disgust.
To create the perfect horror movie is not an easy task. Too much gore disgusts the audience and ruins the thrill and many mythical or fantastical elements destroy the movie’s vibe.
I’ve learned the following things from watching horror movies. Just follow these instructions (because obviously, one day you’ll be faced with a situation like that) and you’ll be fine:
Don’t split up from the group. Splitting up your group in the woods, a haunted house, or some other creepy location, is a sure sign that you and your friends are going to be picked off one by one by the bad guy.
Don’t shoot the villain just once and assume he’s dead. That never happens. Five minutes later, chances are, he’s alive.
Stay quiet when the killer is near you. Making noise while trying to hide from someone who wants to take your life isn’t very smart.
Don’t go investigate a strange sound. This is self-explanatory.
Try not to be clumsy when running and trip about five times. Try and remind yourself that you’re running for your life and you’ll be alright.
Don’t go upstairs or to the basement. When something attacks you in your own house, you should never run up the stairs. What are you going to do up there? Sprout wings and fly out of a second story window? And do you actually think locking the doors will help you for a long time?
Don’t bring weird, ancient stuff to your house. Whether you inherit the strange relic from your granny or see it at yard sale, it’s best to assume that anything old with strange writing on it is probably going to kill you.
Especially if it’s a mysterious old box with no key, some sort of weapon from the Dark Ages, a creepy old baby doll, or a dusty book written in Latin.
At the end of the day, horror movies are just fiction. The blood is ketchup and food coloring, the monsters are people with masks and costumes, and the possessed children are just really good actors. Here’s a little secret that helps me a lot: Don’t believe movies that say “Based on true events.” No matter, how much ‘evidence’ there is. There’s a reason these things are called ‘supernatural.’ They just want the cinemas to be filled up.