Thursday, January 12, 2012

Are You Scared Yet?

I love horror movies. I love being scared. But unfortunately, this is what happens every time:

Credit for the image goes to Ali Brosh over at Hyperbole and a Half. Her blog is amazing, please check it out!

That is what my roommate walked into when I was about halfway through Insidious.

Roommate: Are you okay?
Me: The only reason I didn't scream at you when you came in was because I heard keys in the door, and ghosts don't use keys.
Roommate: Okay...
Me: Now hurry up and do whatever you gotta do because they're finally explaining what the hell is going on.

For the entirety of Insidious, I had that blanket right up to my face, as if that was the one thing that would protect my from the terrifying things on screen.

Hey, this blanket protection is working out pretty---OH JEEZ, OH GOD, OH NO, OH CRAP!,

I've always been easily startled, kind of like a deer. But there's a big difference between being startled and being really truly scared. I've been startled plenty of times during horror movies. I've rarely been truly scared.

The Amityville Horror remake starring Ryan Reynolds is an excellent example of things startling me, but not really scaring me. I saw the movie in the theater with my friends in college because, hey Ryan Reynolds is hot and we were bored. I think it was the opening weekend for the movie, because everybody was reacting really big, and there were lots of people in a giggly mood. Amityville isn't a truly terrible movie, but it is open to some Mystery Science Theater 3000 style mockery, something I was on a bit of a roll with that evening. Mind you, I'm not shouting it out loud at the screen because I don't want to get kicked out, but I'm whispering them to my friends and we're adding to the silly mood and overall energetic atmosphere of the theater.

Some highlights included:

I'm a crazy lumberjack and I'm okay....

And, in response to the slutty babysitter offering to make out with her teenage charge:

How about NO, you big ole' ho!

Admittedly, you may have had to be there to get the full effect, but you get the gist. The crowd is wacky, the movie is alternately silly and startling (not scary), but everybody is in the right mood. On the flip side of my snarky commenting, I was gasping like a startled Southern lady and flinching like a cat on a counter who just got caught when I saw stuff like this:

This movie is too silly by half--DON'T TURN AROUND KID, OH DEAR GOD!

And then the ending rolls around. The family has escaped. Ryan Reynolds is back to being hot and not crazy (but still crazy hot). All is well. They cut back to the spooky Amityville house, with spooky little ghost girl standing in the foyer. She primal screams and they flash cut between all the scary images from the movie, and then it all stops. She's just standing there. Just. Standing. There. For what feels like an eternity on screen. I mutter to my friends, "Oh man, I bet something grabs her, and I'm going to just flip the heck out."

Wait for it, waaaaaaaaaait for it.....

About two seconds after I say that, hands pop out of the floor and yank her by the ankles into the house, forever. You can join in the jump scares at this link (sorry, they wouldn't let me embed it).

I responded with a hearty startled scream, followed by a manly, "God Dammit!" and finally boisterous laughter from myself, my friends, and I think a few people around us. It was an expression of relief that the tension was over, surprise at my girly scream, and then good 'ole self mockery. And I left the theater laughing with my friends, rather than scared of the idea of a ghost girl and hands popping out of the floor to grab me in the night.

But Rosemary's Baby? That actually scared me. It's very creepy, very unsettling, and it sticks with you after you've turned it off and moved on to something else.

What gets me is that Rosemary is sure something is wrong, and she's somewhat vocal about it. But with everyone telling her, "You're fine, what are you worrying about, you're fine, listen to us, we know better," she doesn't trust her own instincts. And by the time she really starts asserting herself and fighting back, it's too late and the next thing you know she has the devil's son in her arms. That sense of being the one sane person trapped in a room full of crazy people (or devil worshipers as the case may be) and no one listening to you...yikes, no thank you.

Also, never, ever accept tannis root from your overbearing elderly neighbor. She probably worships the devil and wants to get you demon pregnant.

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