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the horror genre
please stop shoving it down my throat
by reem al-omari (@Reemawi)

When I was a kid, I used to wonder what I would be like when I grew up. I would spend hours staring at the reflection of my tiny hands suddenly enlarged in my parents’ magnifying mirror and being completely fascinated.

More than my tiny hands, I expected to outgrow my shyness, imagining that sharks lived in swimming pools and those scary things I used to see on the streets of New York that would rattle with the sounds of the subway zooming under my feet.

I was fascinated by growing up and becoming an adult and becoming stronger in body and mind.

I looked forward to being able to watch scary movies and still be able to function and go about the next few days following the viewing of the scary movie, without any issues. Even more so, I wanted to be as cool as all the other kids who could watch scary movies with no worries.

I’m 28 years old now, and I must admit that though I realize sharks don’t and cannot exist in a swimming pool, and that my shyness has lightened a bit, and the subway vent things on the streets of New York don’t scare me quite as much anymore… I still can’t sleep or function normally when I’ve watched anything scary.

Though I avoid scary media like a guy would avoid a musical, I do end up being talked into seeing certain media, because the person recommending it convinces me that it’s so good that “it’s a good kind of scary.”

Sometimes, that’s possible.

I avoided seeing The Sixth Sense when it first came out, but after the buzz that movie created, I finally broke down and rented it, and it became one of my favorites based on a friend’s adamant recommendation.

On the other hand, I was also talked into The Shining, and that pretty much scared the shit out of me… I couldn’t sleep or walk into a bathroom without checking behind the shower curtain for a long time, and I was in college at the time. Silence of the Lambs horrified and terrified me in so many ways I can’t even begin to describe, and though I was in high school at the time I saw that, I can’t imagine I’d feel any different if I watched it today.

I must’ve lost a full month’s worth of sleep due to these movies. And well, since those movies, I’ve learned to not let people’s recommendations cloud my judgment or over-estimate my stomach in that respect.

Of course, movies aren’t the only media that have managed to cost me a good night’s sleep. I’ve been robbed of sleep and a feeling of security by TV shows like the X-Files, and a few horror movie trailers.

I’ve been successful at avoiding scary movies, and I generally don’t watch much TV, but I still have friends who just don’t get scared by movies, and they constantly try to sell me on one that’s so good, that “it’s a good kind of scary.” They’re quite belligerent, and I have no idea why it’s so important to them that I get over essentially, my hatred of the horror genre.

For instance, just yesterday, a friend told me about the trailer for a movie she believed to be a documentary about a serial killer who’d recorded all his “deeds” over the course of 10 years. She found it intriguing and wanted to see this documentary out of “morbid curiosity”.

The alleged documentary was 2,400 hours of the twisted antics of a psycho.

Pretty scary stuff all on its own, but I could handle a vague explanation like that. If you have morbid curiosity, satisfy it on your own time. I certainly won’t be sharing your popcorn at that viewing.

But then later on, my friend proceeded to show me the trailer for The Poughkeepsie Murders, the film she felt a morbid curiosity for. For one thing, it wasn’t a documentary after all, which comforted me for a split-second, but only for that long. Snippets from the movie set to some creepy music and sounds scared me so much; I was jumpy the rest of the night and even had trouble sleeping.

I am 28 years old, obviously an adult, and I had trouble getting to sleep last night because I was so haunted by scenes from a horror movie trailer.

Ridiculous, I know, but I can't help it.

Though my hands are bigger than they used to be and I am not afraid of the subway vents on the streets of New York, and I’ve even gotten over the debilitating parts of my shyness… Obviously, I haven’t outgrown the scaredy part of me; part of me being the key phrase here.

Take it as me simply not liking the horror genre, and let me be. I promise I won't shove anything you don't want down your throat.


Reem lives and writes about it. She thinks that's what writers do, anyway. If it's not, then she also has a degree in journalism under her belt, along with the titles of reporter, editor (in chief, even) and, of course, opinion columnist.

more about reem al-omari


sometimes you want the hero to die
a movie where that was the case
by reem al-omari
topic: film
published: 8.17.07

the distance between a book and a movie
sometimes it's pretty big
by reem al-omari
topic: film
published: 11.27.07


daniel castro
5.15.07 @ 10:46p

Quite interesting.

Horror is my favorite genre along with comedy.

Also, I've been present at autopsies and they don't bother me at all.

reem al-omari
5.15.07 @ 10:52p

Autopsies, eh? Well... we're obviously very different people, and that's fine. I guess the world needs people who aren't bothered by autopsies... after all, someone needs to perform the thing, right?

robert melos
5.16.07 @ 1:11a

I'll admit at 43 I still don't like horror films. I never got the idea behind creating something fictional to scare you when we have more than enough in reality to scare you.

There are only two horror films I can watch. The Zombies of Mora Tau and Poltergeist. As far as horror films go, I avoid them like the plague. I like good Scifi and comedies. Some romance films like Until September and May Wine, also make my list of films I enjoy. I'm also big on musicals.

reem al-omari
5.16.07 @ 1:30a

I never understood the need or enjoyment in scaring or creeping one's self out, either. Horror lovers argue that it gives them a rush, but I imagine those are the same people who might skydive, or bungee jump to feel a rush... these are things that go against every shred of natural instinct I have in me.

I don't get these kinds of 'rushes', but to each his own.

daniel castro
5.16.07 @ 11:12a

In my case, you're right. I did bungee jump once and also have done the rides on the Stratosphere (1000 feet high) just because they're there and it was one of the best experiences ever.

But the main reason why I love horror is because of its own absurdity. In reality, 99% of the scenarios in horror movies would never happen. It's just shock.

sloan bayles
5.30.07 @ 3:01p

My son and I both love horror movies, and constantly complain that there are no good ones to be seen. Our rating system is broken down to either "Wow" or "Meh", and most fall in the latter. My husband on the other hand refuses to watch horrors, and I think he would actually be willing to sit through back to back musicals vs. watching The Ring, et al.

It's all a matter of taste, and while we enjoy playful teasing of said husband/father for not wanting to partake in our scare fest, I'd never insist or "make" him watch something I knew he didn't want to.

Although, how much can he really see through the two slightly spread fingers of the hand across his face?!

mike julianelle
5.30.07 @ 3:30p

The two newest strains of horror movie are glossy lowbudget remakes of taut 70s thrillers, with extra gore, bullshit backstory, etc (new Chainsaw, new Hills have eyes, etc); and torture porn (hostel, saw, etc).

They both suck. Torture porn is one of the least entertaining subgenres imaginable. Just go watch Faces of Death.

reem al-omari
5.30.07 @ 6:13p

I'll watch psychological thrillers, and they'll scare me, but I know it's intelligent horror, and not gore horror. Anyway, I just don't like scaring myself, and prefer to get my adrenaline rush(es) through other, less heeby geeby inducing things.

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