I vividly remember staying up all night at a sleepover when I was seven years old after watching The Shining. I was curled up in a sleeping bag staring down the hallway just waiting for something to turn the corner, sinisterly smile my way and slowly creep towards me.
I vividly remember being afraid to walk through the sporadic darkness on the street from the shadows cast by the patches of trees (which hid their own brand of terror) during my 6am walk to the bus stop when I was ten years old after watching The Exorcist.
I vividly remember swimming in the Gulf of Mexico when I was twelve years old and seeing a sign that read “Caution: Deep Water Ahead” after already barely being able to touch my feet to the sand and panicking as I imagined Jaws grabbing me and dragging me further and further down the continental slope as my family watched my blood and limbs bubble up around them.
I don’t ever remember anything scaring me more than a movie.
It’s taken me awhile to articulate why I love horror movies so much, and I think I’ve realized now it’s because there’s not much that scares me. Honestly – I take no credit for that. I was fortunate to have been born with a hard-to-intimidate character streak. But to watch a movie that affects my emotions to the point of constantly looking over my shoulder in the dark…that’s visceral. Romantic Comedy’s, Action movies, Musicals – SO fun! Horror movies – that shit hits you hard.
Movies about love are great, but you usually have to be in an emotionally receptive place for them to affect you. Action movies are fun but when they are over most of us don’t have fast cars and secret missions to help keep our imagination alive. Fear, however, tends to be more universal. And since fear isn’t something we tend to prepare for, we don’t need to be emotionally receptive when things beyond our control or imagination strike our vulnerability.
Back to what I was saying about how things don’t really scare me…maybe it’s better to say that the things that scare me in real life don’t keep me scared. You only get the opportunity to be brave when you’re working against fear, and I love a good chance to be brave.
Moving to New York on my own to pursue an acting career never scared me because it made sense for what I wanted to do with my life. Demonic possession and a monster stalking me outside my window – that’s fucking terrifying.