Story by Opinion Editor Grace VanHaitsma
Growing up, I hated anything slightly scary. The beginning of Aladdin terrified me and I made my parents skip through Ursula’s parts in The Little Mermaid. I remember seeing the DVD cover of a horror movie once at Family Video and being scarred for months.
The first horror movie I remember watching was Get Out, which I watched solely for the social commentary, not the genre. But I remember being amazed and fascinated by that movie, which is still one of my favorites to this day. Still, it was several years until I gave horror another shot. My next horror outing was Midsommar, which I’m sure was incredible, but I had my eyes closed the entire time. A few months later, I watched Jennifer’s Body and absolutely loved it- the camp, over the top humor mixed with the female empowerment message had me hooked. This past summer I saw Nope in theaters, my first experience with a horror movie on the big screen, and wasn’t as traumatized as I thought I’d be. I saw Smile in theaters this fall and remember being terrified beforehand; supposedly it was meant to be really scary, but to me, the movie was bad for other reasons, not because I was scared.
I am still admittedly not a huge fan of gore; anytime a character gets stabbed I am bound to look away or cover my eyes. But I’ve found that I love horror movies, despite this. While I actually have found I love the thrill of a good jump scare, I think horror movies are great because they can do whatever they want without having to follow any logic whatsoever. They are also, in my opinion, one of the best vehicles for social commentary. Some of my favorite horror films have a message that stays with you long after the scares do.
Aside from the ones I’ve already mentioned, I would love to recommend some horror films for those who are unsure about stepping into the genre. I absolutely love last year’s X and its prequel Pearl, as horror movies but also character dramas. Both are artistically made and have moments of pure camp and also unease. I absolutely love the Scream franchise as well. The first film is an iconic classic and, in my opinion, the best horror movie ever made. I just saw Scream IV in theaters and it was the most tense I’ve ever been inside a movie theater. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I saw it on Tuesday- which is always the sign of a good movie for me.
It’s funny to think of the little girl who got scared of Sleeping Beauty now being able to sit through Texas Chainsaw Massacre. If you would have told six or even sixteen year old Grace her favorite movie genre would be horror, she wouldn’t believe you. But that’s part of why it’s my favorite; I love to defy people’s expectations, including my own.