(For this post I will be using images randomly generated from InspiroBot, the inspirational quote generator)
I cannot tell you how many times I have heard this phrase in regard to horror movies:
“That was so stupid. It wasn’t even scary!”
Wasn’t it? Perhaps not. Especially if the viewer has been around Elm Street a few times. But this bothers me for a couple reasons.
First, the viewer is saying that since they didn’t get scared, the movie was bad. In my experience, those statements are coming from the mouths of people who adamantly try NOT to get scared (Often these people are insecure bozos). So, if they succeed in anticipating every jump scare, and scoff at all of the psychological horror, this is the movies fault? Well, as you might have already guessed, I wholeheartedly disagree.
Many people, especially many film fanatics and academic types, have a hurdle in the form of their own intellect. They are thinking men and women who like to anticipate every turn and solve the ending. They cannot help it. It’s in their nurture. But learning how to allow the brain to relax, in order to get absorbed into a movie, and allow oneself to be scared, and feel that adrenaline…that is a skill. A skill that these folks do not exhibit.
I used to be a rampant perpetrator. I was a film snob, and horror, unless cerebral, was dumb. It bled into many other aspects of life as well, and I found that I wasn’t enjoying most things in life. Everything had a downside. I was overthinking.
It was then that I made a conscious effort to just enjoy things. Part of that came from setting the stage.
What do I mean by setting the stage? Well, it can mean a lot of things. One thing it definitely isn’t is watching a horror movie on your little cellphone screen in a populated area on your lunchbreak during the daytime. How can you truly let your guard down and be absorbed into a movie if you have to continually check the time, fight off other distractions, and are not viewing the movie as the filmmakers intended?
Do it right. Wait until evening. The later, the better. Turn off all the lights. Watch the movie ON A LARGE SCREEN! Anything larger than a tablet or standard computer monitor should do. I suggest a TV. Do it alone or with one other person that won’t take you out of the movie, talk over it, or continually ask you to pause it. Make sure the kids are in bed or nonexistent. Snacks are okay if they aren’t too crunchy. Blankets are good. Crank up the volume. Voila! You have set the stage for a prime viewing experience.
And that’s how you should think of it! As an EXPERIENCE, not as a dissertation. Not as an essay and deconstruction of a blah-de-blah or an examination of a whatever-the-fuck. If you want to view film that way, be my guest, but at the very least try to get into it, and for the love of god, don’t say “That was so stupid. It wasn’t even scary!”
Stay slime, and be rad at all times,