This was a entry I meant to post around the Halloween season. I forgot about it until now, so here we are.
As All Hallow's Eve approaches, I feel the need to discuss what is frightening in this world. Now, I am a person who has fears. Really, there is no person who isn't afraid of something. But it seems like I have more unusual fears than most. The typical horror movie formulas of blood, mutilation, and jump scares don't have much of an effect on me. Some bloody scenes may make me sick, and I do get surprised by the occasional jump scare. But I can't really say that they scare me.
Here's a good example. A few nights ago at a party, some friends on mine were playing a game called Slender: The Eight Pages. I will not comment on the game play since I really didn't get what was going on. Most of my friends were having fun, but I didn't get what was so scary.
I think the problem is that if I know something is fake, like a video game or a movie, I don't let myself get into it. I remember going to a haunted house attraction once and was so unimpressed with it, that the staff began to avoid me to scare others behind me.
But that's not to say that I don't find all horror fiction banal. I recently was watching a let's play of a game called the Witch's House. This game seemed scary, not because of the jump scare near the end, but rather because it plays on the mind of it's participant. Being forced to do something disturbing like cutting the limbs off a teddy bear and seeing them them bleed is something that penetrates my mind and let's me forget that I'm in my room watching a video on youtube.
In fact, one of my favorite horror movies of all time is a Japanese film called Kakurenbo - Hide and Seek. The story focuses on a group of children who go to a forbidden city to play a game and are pursued by a gang of demons. But what I find most frightening of all is the ending. After being chased down and captured by the demons, the head demon gives the last survivor his prize: He now is turned into a demon and forced to hunt the future participants of the game. To most, I assume this is a weak twist. But this horrifies me far more than creepy ghouls or heartless serial killers.
Maybe it also has to do with the idea of stupidity. Or rather, the idea that in most horror movies, the survivors victims all behave in an idiotic manner that only guarantees their deaths. When I know I would behave in a much more sensible manner than them, it makes the deaths of these characters more humorous than scary. I've come to understand this is part of the appeal of horror genre, but I personally don't get that appeal. And that seems to be what it all comes down to. I don't get the horror genre.