My love of horror films

by lauren atkinson

I un-ironically, unapologetically, love horror films. And not just the good stuff: in fact, I love the cult classics and dumb stuff almost as much as the "intelligent" films. I have a lot of fun memories around watching movies with friends and family. But horror movies, I remember vividly. 

There is an adrenaline rush that makes watching a movie not only mentally engaging but also a physical entertainment. 

As someone with anxiety, this might seem a bit contradictory to what you'd expect. An unexpected physical reaction to something can be emotionally triggering to some. In many ways, the feeling that I get from watching a horror movie is somewhat therapeutic: it's like I am taking all of the anxiety that normally results in a migraine or muscle pain and channeling it into something that is temporary and even, rational. 

it's ok to be afraid and nervous about someone lurking in the corner and it's also ok to freak out over a client meeting or presentation of a big project. But I don't want either to eat me alive.

Horror movies give me the ability to engage with something nerve-racking and come out on the other side unscathed. That's what appeals to me. I come out knowing that everything is ok -- at least for me. 

I can remember the first time I saw a single scene of a horror film: it was Child's Play, the scene where Chucky strangles Mike as he's driving. There was a made-for-tv edit that was playing one Saturday evening. I remember my mom was at a bible study and my dad was channel surfing. He kept it on, thinking I wasn't watching, then when he realized I actually was, he quickly flipped the channel and said "Sorry, thought you were in the other room." Let's be honest, that really didn't leave a mark.

The first full movie I saw was Poltergeist, followed by Children of the Corn in my friend's basement when I was 11. The whole time that I was watching, I felt like an outsider as I was focused on the humor of both movies. To this day, I can still quote most of Poltergeist and take every opportunity to watch it once a year. 

One of my high school boyfriends and I had a movie marathon one year on halloween weekend: Freddy v. Jason, Jason X, Friday the 13th VI. I remember walking home from his house and making a mental note to revisit my favorite killer, jason voorhees, soon. 

Luckily, I visit him often now. 




One night, my best friend and I sat down and watched The Ring and the original Texas Chainsaw in the basement of my parent's house. She spent the hours after huddled under the covers as I attempted to convince her that there were more movies I wanted to watch. I was on a roll and my heart was racing for more.  That ended up proving futile and I allowed her to pick another movie instead, ending the evening on a rom-com. 

The first time I watched Saw was at my crush's house. His family had one of those impressive theater rooms in their basement. (for context of our evening: this was not a date. I was definitely the cool girl he watched movies with: After Saw, we also put on Irreversible and Mulholland Drive. Far from date night movies.) After our movie marathon, he lended me his copy of Saw on VHS and I drove home, proceeding to watch it three more times that weekend. 

I accidentally watched Skeleton Key in theaters in 2005, when I had gone into the theater to see a comedy (I want to say it was 40 Year Old Virgin, could be wrong) and walked into the wrong movie screen. I started watching and kept watching, knowing it was the wrong movie. (Although, I now regret my choices -- should've left for the intended film)

Prom night, I didn't party. Instead, my group watched Seven in the living room of my good friend's (a Belgian exchange student) host house while eating mini donuts and pizza.

Each week, I am searching for the next movie to be an outlet for my pent up anxiety. Do you have any horror favorites?