Beginning scene formula for almost any 80’s horror movie ~ A buxom young woman is spending the evening at home with her equally shapely, and questionably legal girlfriends…challenging her intellectually challenged peers to pillow fights, refusing to conform to society’s bra obsession, and contemplating the answer to life, the universe, and everything bobble-headed girl. Oblivious to her fatefully awaiting date with the grim reaper, she flaunts her barely there panties and peek-a-boo t-shirt. As she and her friends reenact every boy’s wet dream fantasy of a girls’ sleepover, a crazed murderer lurks in the night…watching her every move, breathing heavily, and waiting patiently for her sexiest moment to slash her into pieces. He watches as she departs from the herd, disrobes, and heads for the shower, where she dramatically arches her back, washes her hair, and cleans only her breasts with obsessive precision. Once she’s sure they can’t possibly get any cleaner and her back simply won’t arch any further, she deems her shower done. As she slips into as little as possible, an ominous sound outside her window beckons to her. Just when she’s convinced it was her imagination at play, she comes face to face with her serial killer Casanova. He stares blankly at her as she screams frantically into the night. As is the apparent norm for cinematic killers, he is locked in a psychotic trance. She seizes the moment to scream louder and, of course ~ while clumsily looking back over her shoulder ~ runs! Squeaky clean ta-tas bouncing to the delight of every teenage boy and envy of every teenage girl glued to, ironically, the “boob tube.” But the omnipresent slasher is two steps ahead of her, and no matter how fast she runs, how loud she screams, how much she begs…those impeccably clean knockers can’t help her now. She’s knocked her last knock.
Now for her friends. ~ End scene
1, 2…Freddy came for you. 3, 4…Let’s watch some more!
Horror movie mania is never more rampant than on Halloween. The need to scare and be scared always dwells within us. Hence, the overwhelming popularity of rollercoasters, skydiving, bungee jumping, haunted houses, and People of Walmart perusal. 😉
We crave fear. But why? What is it about horror movies that keeps us revved up and brushed up on the latest Zombie Survival Guide?
Theories on our fear flick fetish include our willingness to endure the terror in order to experience the euphoric relief when the credits roll. As one fear enthusiast and haunted house artist put it, “It’s a complete journey from anticipation to anxiety to experiencing the fear and having the adrenaline rush to coming down afterward.” In other words, it’s a drug…and we’re addicted.
Research on the root of our horror mania points to physiological and evolutionary causes. We love horror movies for the same reason we love any other death defying act. Adrenaline. The hormonal reaction we get from facing and surviving a physical threat is a physiological ganja hit. The ability to experience both negative (threat imposed by empathy for the victim) and positive (relief that we are physically detached from the threat) simultaneously is an emotional high for us. We get high on the fear. We come down on the relief. A hair- raising, nightmare-inducing horror movie is a roller coaster ride of emotion that delivers us safely back to reality.
Once it’s over and we’re still in one piece, we feel victorious and untouchable. We had the courage to come face to face with death, and we survived. Predator survival speaks to our primal roots. Our evolutionary predecessors faced physical threat on a daily basis. Competition for food, clothing, and shelter all required the occasional throwdown with nature’s superior food chain elite. The ability to outwit badass predators was the only way to keep the species thriving and jiving. So not only did we have to face it, we had to be good at it. Adrenaline junkies that we are, we’re biologically hardwired to be drawn to danger and to, hopefully, rock survival.
5, 6…Death’s ass gets kicked!
Of course, as we age, we lose our hunger for horror. It’s no secret that the horror film industry relies mostly on young adults as an audience base. Teenagers, in particular, love a good heaping of horror hangover. As adolescents reach adulthood, they are subconsciously preparing themselves for challenges that lie ahead. Defense is, and was, a coming of age skill. Some psychologists say we dream in order to rehearse self-defense behaviors in the safety of nighttime isolation. In other words, we practice our real life fight-or-flight what-if’s in our dreams…as a means of preparation. Perhaps our love for horror movies is cloaked in the same mental subconscious. Maybe we’re simply training ourselves just in case we ever end up staring down the hockey mask of a lunatic on an unfortunate Friday the 13th. On the off chance that we do, horror movies provide us a play-by-play of what may get us killed, and what may not. Once the movie is over, we feel more than just relief. We feel properly trained and prepared for our own possible brush with the likes of Freddy Krueger. And we know the dangers of falling asleep.
So, fear not. Our love affair with scary movies is here to stay. Due to evolutionary cravings beyond our control, we will continue to force ourselves through haunted houses, jump from horrifying heights to uncertain death, and gather around movie screens to go head to dead with the latest paranormal phenomenon or asylum escapee with a chainsaw and a chip on his shoulder. Fear is a timeless fad, a good time to be had.
Now to get some female writers for future horror flicks. Men take sexy showers too, right?
7,8…Fear is your fate.
9,10…It’s Fright Night again!
Happy Halloween 🙂
“I love horror movies because they’re really fun. They tap into those wonderful primal emotions.” ~ Margot Kidder