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Thursday, 25 April 2013

Staying up late to watch horror movies - a rite of passage for every idiot kid

I'll be honest here, I don't think anyone really enjoys being killed. I'll balance that by saying I've never been able to ask anyone who's been killed what they thought of the experience. I bet I'm right though. This is why I find it odd that we as a species should choose to watch entire movies full of people getting murdered to death.

Even if there isn't someone getting decapitated every four seconds, your average horror movie contains something like this -

Or like this -

Why do we do it to ourselves? Why do we love being scared, shocked, and ultimately sleep deprived? More to the point, why on Earth do we love to do it so much as children?

Everyone has a selection of movies that give them mental problems as adults, due to their eyeballs coming into contact with said movies, years before they should have done. My particular selection of evil is the Child's Play series (it would have been The Fly, but my parents flat out refused to get this out of the video shop for me. Instead, that night I had to rent a stupid film about a stupid bear falling down a stupid hill). Watching these films as a somewhat cowardly 9 year old was perhaps not the wisest move. I love the Chucky films now, but for years I couldn't even see a clip without acquiring mild diarrhoea.

We had a doll that happened to look just like this in our loft. My sister named him Joanne.

Despite the latent trauma it caused, I wouldn't erase the memory of watching these films even if I could. They were an essential part of my childhood, and I think I would feel incomplete without these memories. And my parents would have one less thing to laugh at me for. Mind you, if you take away a grain of sand from a mountain, it's still a mountain.

It usually takes weeks of begging your parents in order to be allowed to watch a scary movie. It's a victory for you when they say yes, but it's an even bigger victory for you when they allow you to stay up late to watch said movie. If, however, your parents are unrelenting because they are concerned for your mental health/unfair bastards who are trying to ruin your life, there are still a few ways to get what you want. These include -

        going to sleep over at your friend's house (make sure you pick a friend with laid back parents, rather than a friend who has to be in bed by 6pm and doesn't even have a TV)

        Getting someone to rent a video in secret, and watching said video when your parents are out (this only works if you have a video player, otherwise you'll just be staring at the video box for an hour)

        Getting up after your parents have gone to bed, and sneaking downstairs to watch a scary film on TV

Luckily, my parents relented in the end, so there was no need for any of these undercover operations. My dad went to the video shop and rented Child's Play, while I almost wet my pants with excitement.

The correct way to watch horror movies as a child is to stay up late. Even if you have ample opportunity to watch it during the day you should hold out until the p.m. for two reasons. Firstly, it will be dark, and everything is scarier in the dark. Secondly, being tired will infuse your thinking with that muddled, surreal logic that sleep deprivation brings, wherein everything is surreal and a bit weird.

Nibbles are optional. If the film is scary enough you probably won't be eating much anyway. All that's required is a nice comfy chair or a pile of pillows on the floor, and maybe a separate pillow to hide behind – now you're all set.

The credits roll and the movie begins. If there is a plot, that begins too. At this time you feel like this -

Approximately half an hour in (if you're me), you feel like this -

The next part will depend on whether or not you have friends round. Or whether, in fact, you have friends. Either you will wet your pants, cry and ask your parents to turn the movie off, having learned your lesson, or you will have to be brave. This is not fun. It's like a weird game of chicken that no one really wants to play. No one is allowed to crack and reveal that this movie is actually making them want to commit suicide. You are all convinced that whatever is in the movie is coming to get you any second, and you are also convinced that you're the only one who thinks this. Therefore, you don't want to look wet. So you all suffer through a film that none of you is enjoying, only to claim to have loved it when you, thankfully, make it to the end.

If you are having a sleepover, you can all forget about getting any sleep that night. In fact, just forget about sleeping altogether for the next few weeks. If you sleep, the movie will come and get you, and we can't have that.

Of course, as adults we are no wiser. We compete to eat the hottest curries, or show the least pain when getting a tattoo.  Essentially, we are stupid.

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