During the Halloween season I have noticed quite a few trends. Over sexed versions of our favorite characters litter the streets, the stores fill with Christmas decorations
and all of our favorite horror movies hit the shelves for 5 bucks. Ah, what a magical time of year.
I wasn’t always interested in horror movies. I used to be deathly afraid of them. I was an impressionable child and those movies always left a little something behind in my mind, which tended to leave a little something behind on my sheets. Nightmares filled my dreams and paranoia filled my waking hours after accidentally peeking during a horror movie.
For some reason, that all changed a few years ago, and I became drawn to the genre. I found myself unable to stay away from the films that once scarred me as a child. I was drawn to the thrill of fear, the feeling that would grip me as scare after scare was thrown my way. It was exhilarating, and then it was over.
The monsters began to look more ridiculous. The films themselves began to fill them- selves with ridiculous amounts of gore to try and find a way to shock audiences. There had to be a way to bring back horror. More scares, better monsters, more blood.
The sad truth is that a good, quality scare is hard to earn. Jump scares only work so many times, and often times when the monster is revealed near the end of the film it loses its scariest quality, which is my imagination.
I loved horror movies, and I feel like most people do, not because of the film itself, but because of how much your mind can warp reality after the movie is over. Every shadow becomes suspect, insignificant noises, ones that you’ve heard every night, creep from the darkness slowly gnawing away at your sanity. The greatest fear is fear itself.
Your mind fuels it. Though you may realize it’s just a movie, and it can be repeated ad infinitum, that knowledge becomes meaningless as you hear a noise outside your window. Shadows menace you, and the closet becomes a portal to the darkest, coldest depths of hell.
It’s all in your head.
Horror films need to take a step into the past. Instead of creating more extravagant monsters, create better shadows. Instead of giving fear an objective form, let it be created in the mind of the viewer. The monsters in films never match what my own mind can create.
Horror movies are wonderful things. Two hours of our greatest fears, and then we can return to the safety of reality. Well, sometimes. Go out and enjoy your Halloween activities. But just be sure to remember one thing. The thing that gets you won’t be that thing you can see, it’ll be the one thing you can’t.