How to watch Horror Movies?

(Or How to not be afraid of watching Horror Movies?) Just 3 points to remember.

The Horror genre is one of the most well-known genre that people like to watch. The prospect of watching something so bizarre, eerie and macabre that its terrifying and gets the adrenaline pumping through the body is quite popular, and even pleasant for some. People like to scare themselves with the experience. The horror genre often interlopes with other genres such as psychological, science fiction, etc., and has been present for quite some time, as Britannica mentions it since 1913 with The Student of Prague, a German movie made on dual personalities.

So, what if you’re not a horror movie fan but still have to watch of the genre due to whatsoever reason only you know best? What if you do not like the sensation of watching something unpleasant/dreadful just so you can experience the rush and ‘edge of the seat’ thrill which others seem to be enjoying so much? Or you like horror movies but do not know how to watch them without getting scared? Well then you have come to the right place. I am going to tell you some how best to watch horror movies (which again, the reasons you know better of why you are watching something you do not like).

Horror movies though made by combining different genres has some common components which the makers put in there to produce scare. So while watching Horror movies keep the following points in mind:

  1. It’s All in your head:
    The most important thing which the makers of these movies make use of is psychology. The prospect of going to watch a horror movie while thinking that you are afraid of the abstract concepts portrayed in them, coupled with the stories you have heard since you were born – the good, the bad, the bizarre, the evil, injects this thought subconsciously in your brain that you ought to be afraid of watching these movies. The makers make use of the psychology of the human mind to make movies more terrifying and fear-inducing so that people who like to watch them enjoy more.
    We tend to be more afraid of the unknown rather than what we know. The entities portrayed in these movies are just that – the unknown entities capable of performing most strange actions which defy science and common sense. We are more afraid of ‘What could be‘ then ‘what is‘. We are more afraid of what unknown lurks in the darkness than the darkness itself.

    So if you start thinking along these lines and start telling your brain this simple truth, you will simply view them for what they really are – movies. To aid you can watch and read about how they made those movies – what software they used to create that terrifying scene or who was the make-up artist they used to create that eerie appearance of the entity you are seeing in the movies and how they did it, etc. Start reading about it, watch the interviews, make it boring so that watching the thing do not excite you as much as it was meant to by its makers because now you will be aware of how those scary scenes were created. If its something tangible, you will not be afraid of it.

  2. It’s just scare tactics:
    You will notice a common trend which you will observe in these movies viz., the idea of ‘surprising’ the audience with some loud noise, grotesque imagery or some creature running towards the camera. Surprising the audience, not scaring them. See, most of the modern horror movie makers do not understand the difference between surprise and fear. Tell me how often you have seen the following happening in any modern horror movie:

    The scene is suddenly completely still and silent and there is a pause. The camera
    is focused on some dark spot or area or perhaps some place which is kept so dark
    that the audience cannot view what is beyond or on it. The camera remains focused
    for a while and suddenly with a loud noise some bizarre thing happens – maybe a
    creature comes running, a man with makeup to portray a ghost or some folk tale
    entity attacks – all this either from the dark spot, or somewhere else while the
    attention of the audience is focused on one point.


    These are common scare or shall I say surprise tactics to shock the audience in the moment. No matter what the plot of the movie is, you will find that the scare tactics revolves around what is described above. You must understand the distinction between fear and surprise. Fear is something that is not built up ‘in the moment’. It is built slowly and gradually. It is much grander than cheap surprises and has a lasting impression of dread and horror while you watch. A good horror movie is which is able to invoke this fear in the audience even while they are watching a normal scene. Not many modern movie makers have been able to reproduce it.
    For instance, take an average modern horror movie employing the above method and compare it with any acclaimed horror classic. Let’s take 1973 classic ‘The Exorcist’ as an example. What is the difference between The Exorcist and a modern horror movie? Did they employ any such surprise tactics? The answer is No. They did not need to. They built the plot slowly while showing each and everything true to light. They didn’t speedily waved the cameras, instead they kept it focused as their special effects unfolds on the screen to the audience. Horror movie makers still copy or tries to copy the scenes from this iconic movie to make theirs’s more scary. People still remember that movie in awe of the fear it inspired in them when they were watching it.

  3. Measure it:
    This is a shortcut but equally effective if done properly. The advise here is simple. Measure the horror movie you are going to watch against a standard. When you are going to watch the horror movie, is the movie in question measure up to your standards of a good movie? Because a movie with just horror scenes without a good story, good actors and performances is simply bad and not worth wasting your money and watching if not enjoyable. So measure it.
    A good, practical mind always measures things and invests their time in what is the best (or optimum) choice. You can choose the horror movie which scared you the most and measure the movie you are going to watch against that movie as a standard. If the present one falls short, then there is nothing to be afraid of. If it surpasses your standard, you have gained a movie which was able to surpass your standard and now can be considered as your new standard for horror movies.

    What you are doing here is starting to analyze, calculate. You are using your rational mind to measure a movie. While creating a standard you are converting fear, which is intangible, into a standard which makes it tangible. The more you do it, the better it becomes with added benefits not other aspects of your life. A person who trains their mind to be more analyzing, increasing their reasoning skills takes better decisions in life.
    You remember the Harry Potter books? It’s okay even if you don’t or have not read them. Severus Snape says this in Order of Phoenix –

    “Fools who wear their hearts proudly on their sleeves, who cannot control their emotions, who wallow in sad memories and allow themselves to be provoked so easily – weak people, in other words – they stand no chance against his powers! He will penetrate your mind with absurd ease, Potter!”

    Train your mind. It’s very easy. You are training it subconsciously everyday in every little decision you are making. Simply start thinking ‘What if you choose something else, other than your normal preference?’. Your mind will start processing and analyzing providing you with reasons why you should or should not.

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