Scared and satisfied

Peyton Ramirez

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I watch horror movies all year long. For some reason, I love the thrill of being so scared I have to hop into bed with my sister and struggle to fall asleep. Don’t ask me why. I just love watching scary movies and October is when they are in full bloom. There are marathons of horror movies, from Tim Burton to James Wan and I can’t get enough.

While the genre will always have a place in my heart, it has a reputation for being less than respectable. Yet it takes a lot to make a horror movie that is more scary than ridiculous. Fake blood and frantic screaming does not make a scary movie. The only things that are scary about bad horror movies are the acting and special effects.

I have a scale that I rate movies on. The scale is from one to ten, one to five being I turned off the movie before it ended, six to seven I almost stayed awake the entire time, eight to nine I was really scared but also able to sleep afterwards and a ten I was truly and utterly scared. A ten should make me so scared that my bed is neatly made for days because I sleep in my sister’s bed.

A few weeks ago, I tried to watch the original “It.” I got about 30 minutes in before I fell asleep. It was like watching a “Saturday Night Live” skit that was making fun of a cheesy scary movie. It was ridiculous. The characters would say a line and then dramatically stare at one another for a minute before repeating the same process again and again. It was really sad to watch.

However there is a shining light in the horror movie making business: James Wan. Wan has directed practically every horror movie I have come to love.

The first horror movie I ever actually enjoyed was “The Conjuring.” It’s definitely a ten on my scale. It’s a typical scary movie plot. The Perron family moves into a new house and starts experiencing a supernatural presence. They contact these experts, Ed and Lorraine Warren, and long story short, they save the day.

After seeing this movie I could hardly walk around my house alone. For about a month, if I was ever home alone, all of the lights in my house were on. I loved it. Call it weird but the thrill of being scared draws me in.

Following this movie, I was equally obsessed with the sequel and the “Annabelle” movies. Unlike many other scary movies, the movies from “The Conjuring” universe seemed to have happy endings. The family always got rid of whatever evil spirit was haunting them. It was comforting. Things would be terrifying and hopeless and then Ed and Lorraine would come in and save the day. It also helped that their methods of saving the day were centered around faith in God, which is something I can relate to.

Wan also directed the “Insidious” series, which is another favorite of mine. The movie begins with the horrifying shrieking of loud violins and then presents a very similar plot to “The Conjuring,” in which a family is haunted and desperate to get rid of the spirit. So why is it that movies can have the same plot and I still do not get bored of them? It’s a question that will forever haunt me.

A scary movie is a scary movie. I don’t expect a ton of blatant differences when I set two horror movies side by side.  However there is a huge difference when actually watching the movies.

The same way anyone can bond with characters in any movie, I love the horror movie characters. I became part of the Perron family. I felt the terror that they felt and hoped for an outcome that didn’t end in death. It’s not all just about being scared that a monster is going to eat someone’s face off. I am scared because I care. It’s just as much about being invested as it is about being blatantly scared.

That’s what makes a great horror movie. I can’t watch a movie that doesn’t draw me in. Scary faces jumping out at me will definitely make me jump out of my seat and maybe even send popcorn flying but to make me truly scared, I need to feel attached to the characters and the situation.

Scary movies have always been a way for my family to bond so I hold them to a high standard. I feel like now really good scary movies don’t come around that often. However I have taken the month of October to watch all of the ones that are most often discussed. I have rewatched some of my favorites as well as a few that I hadn’t seen or didn’t like the first time around and I still haven’t gotten through all of them.

There are so many reasons to love the month of October. Fall-ish weather, costumes and candy are just a few but none of it matters to me the same way that horror movies do. To not know which place on my scale a movie will fall into, to sleep or lay awake in terror, to scream or not to scream. It’s all about the thrill and I love the thrill.

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