Over this last weekend I sat down and watched Texas Chainsaw 3D (in 2D). I’m a fan of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise… well, the original and the 2003 remake. Texas Chainsaw 3D was awful and I didn’t care for the 2nd-4th movies either. Anyway, I’m a big horror movie fan in general. From psychological terror to mindless slasher films I dig the whole genre. The morning after watching Texas Chainsaw 3D my wife, who didn’t watch it, asked why I liked horror movies so much. It’s a question I get pretty often from non-horror fans so I figured I’d dedicate some words to the topic.
My love for horror movies started with the taboo. I had a friend in Middle School named Steve and the two of us had an unspoken goal of watching every scary movie at our local video rental place. Why? Because we weren’t suppose to. We knew there was no way we could rent anything from the adult section, but we could sneak a horror flick or two. To start with, it was pure titillation. The idea of watching something you’re not suppose to watch. Then, like most things, you make friends who are into it.
Some of my friends in High School loved horror movies so much that after graduation then went to school for make-up and special effects. Learning about the art of the whole process, even tangentially, gave me a new appreciation for the genre. Now a days when I watch a horror film it’s less for the titillation or the fright, but more for the artistry that goes into it. A particularly well crafted severed head or blood that’s flows perfectly simply impresses me now.
But, there is another reason. A bit of a dark side of the love I have for horror movies. I was pretty depressed when I was a teenager. Eventually that sadness and despair turned to numbness and thoughts of suicide. It was in my old friend the horror movie that I found some sense of relief. Feeling dread or even a cheap jump scare broke me out of my mire of depression. In a similar way to cutters running a blade over their skin just to feel pain I would watch a horror movie to get an emotional shock.
Horror movies helped get me through some dark times in my life. Horror movies helped me make friends as an awkward angsty teenager. Horror movies taught me to appreciate special effects and the work that goes into a movie beyond the actors, writers, and directors. I love horror movies because they are such a deep part of my life. Honestly, whenever you ask me “Why do you like horror movies?” I often think, “How could you not?”