I hate horror movies.
(I am still watching Lovecraft Country, because Lovecraft + racial reckoning + OMAR COMIN’.)
However, I will not watch all five SAW movies. I will not watch the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I will not watch any of the Halloweens and I only saw one of the Friday the 13ths at a sleepover like 100 years ago and none of the others nor that one ever since. People tell me I should watch the Haunting of Hill House because SHIRLEY THEE JACKSON but I cannot. I got 20 seconds into The Ring and shut that shit down.
(I liked Get Out fine, but it had other stuff going on.)
I don’t enjoy being scared. I don’t get some kind of almost-sexual frisson from monsters jumping out of the dark. I have no desire to wonder if there is a dead thing under my house or some tentacled thing swimming alongside me at the beach. I get the psychology of it, of loving being scared.
I know there are people who love being terrified. I don’t get you, people.
I don’t get this, either:
What do you GET, out of convincing yourself your perfectly fine normal block is a dystopian hellscape from which only Donald Trump, himself some kind of underworldly creature, can save you? What does living in this kind of constant rage do to your body and mind? What HAPPENED TO YOU, that you feel this is a way to see the world, as a shiny cover over dark and skittering things, all of them thinking about eating you alive?
There’s a bulletproofed bodega near my old bus stop (back when I did things like take buses places; god I miss the bus) and it’s known to be disputed territory between two groups of assholes who take turns holding it up. Every other weekend there’s crime scene tape around it and I warn relatives off of it but I also go weeks and months without thinking about it at all, walking past it at all hours of the day and night.
I lock my doors at night, I’m not an idiot, you know? But when I told out-of-town acquaintances that our garage had gotten broken into this one time, everyone acted like I’d lost a child, like my sense of safety had been somehow personally destroyed. I suppose it could have been, but my crazy pills were working back then and they didn’t take my bike. But then the line comes out, “oh, I suppose that changed how you look at things,” meaning the old “conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged canard.”
Shove your worldview off on circumstance, I guess, blame your kids and taxes for you having always wanted to be a shithead, but what kills me is that by this logic the most conservative people on earth should be poor people who live in the neighborhoods Gaetz and his fellow electroputzes tell us to speed through in terror.
Poor people of color are disproportionately the victims of crime, so what is our excuse, my fellow honkies, for this constant “back in Grandma’s day you could leave your bike on the lawn and no one would steal it, it’s such a different world” kind of racist small talk? What is our immense need to be so scared all the time? Why do we WANT our leaders to tell us we teeter on the edge of a knife as the world holds its breath?
Did THAT MANY of us read Watchmen wrong?
I mean just generally how dare we, the group of people least likely to be shot by police in the back as we walk away from them, pretend to such depths of fear and despair as to turn to someone whose Twitter bio is “Florida man” to tell us how precisely we’ll be dismembered upon the morrow? How dare we get some kind of sick high from that?
Especially when there is so much to be scared of. I think that’s why I hate horror movies so much. We’re in the middle of a pandemic, the second of my lifetime to result in mass deaths, and let’s not get started on the massive unending unwinnable wars. You want me to look at that and worry about some dipshits posing for Instagram photos as gang members and six cars on fire?
I don’t lack for sources of fear. If I did I wouldn’t need to make up a story about prisons and riots and death in the streets. I could make myself terrified every day by turning on C-SPAN, but god damn, man, sometimes you just have to put down the political crack pipe and go outside.
It’s harmless out there, I promise you. Especially where you live.