Behind the scream

MVHS students’ views on horror movies

Claire Yang and Zara Iqbal

Whether it’s Christmas, Halloween or a different holiday, about once a month, junior Rohit Kumar’s extended family joins each other to watch horror movies together. This family tradition has been happening ever since he could remember, and he believes his family has been following it even since before he was born. Kumar believes that the mystery and thrill of the genre attracts his family members.

“I think it’s the same reason people like riding roller coasters, it’s that rush of adrenaline you get when you’re scared,” Kumar said. “Another thing my sister talked about a lot when I would get scared is, ‘It’s not a real thing, it’s just TV, nothing threatening. It’s just that rush of adrenaline.’”

While Kumar doesn’t particularly enjoy the sensation of being scared, he continues to participate in his family’s tradition. His favorite horror movies are directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock. As a kid, Kumar only watched the movies so that he wouldn’t have to go to bed early. But now, even though he can choose not to watch them, he still does simply because he doesn’t want to miss out.

“If I don’t wanna watch it, I don’t need to watch it, [but] I still watch them,” Kumar said. “Part of it is still fear of missing out, [and] I like the movies, [but I’m] not in love with them or anything.”

On the other hand, junior Shreya Guha occasionally watches horror movies, sometimes by herself, because she does enjoy them to some extent. While she might cover her eyes for some scenes, she can still make it through an entire movie.

“I like the thriller and plot aspect of many of them, especially when they combine reality and fantasy, but sometimes they can blur those lines and it gets super scary,” Guha said. “I like the sensation of adrenaline and thrill and sometimes the jump scare moments, and being constantly on edge but only for certain periods of time. ”

Contrary to Guha and Kumar’s affinity for the horror genre, junior Alicia John refrains from watching horror movies because she has such a low scare tolerance. John has always remembered being scared even while watching animated movies, so she tries to avoid horror movies, which are specifically made to scare the audience.

“I just can’t deal with horror movies,” John said. “[But] it’s not that I don’t like horror movies, because … there are a lot of horror movies which are really good and I wanted to see … The only problem is, I just wouldn’t be able to sit and watch it because I get way too scared. I just don’t like being scared.”

Similar to John, Kumar prefers other genres over horror, like action and comedy. To him, the time of day and his mood depends on what genre he’d watch. For example, he’d rather watch a comedy late at night than a horror movie.

“I like comedy movies a lot more because they’re a lot more carefree, they’re not as stressful,” Kumar said. “When you’re watching a horror movie, you’re kind of nervous, and your heart is beating a lot, but if you want [to] relax, I like watching comedies [and] romcoms, they’re just funny.”

Guha also enjoys comedy movies, which she would prefer to watch on a regular basis, but horror movies are still her go-to genre. Her favorite horror movie is Get Out, which tackles racial stereotypes and prejudice using horror themes. However, John would rather watch live-action movies due to her fear of animated movies.

“For a weird reason, realistic movies … aren’t as scary,” John said. “Because I feel like animated movies, you connect them to kids’ movies, and you think they’re all going to be like happy endings, happy storyline … Whereas real movies, real life acting … I can expect all these bad things to happen.”

John notes that non-animated movies, such as action movies, are usually more reassuring to watch since they don’t incorporate fantasy elements. Since real life is “more limited,” John can tolerate movies like The Godfather — a mob drama built around the Mafia — but not ones like Finding Nemo.

Similar to John, Guha also enjoys other genres and understands that horror movies can cause “paranoia” for her, but but she still appreciates how the horror genre creates a plot that surrounds fear. She believes that some horror movies display a sense of authenticity and are “really well-crafted” if they reflect what normal people would do in the same situation.

“I think the plots of horror movies really play around on an individual’s fight or flight sense, but the plot involves the realistic and human aspect [and] therefore [justifies] such fear,” Guha said. “Horror movie plots continue to amaze me in the ways that they build on an individual’s fear and doubt in reality to build up such suspense and drama.”

Kumar believes a downside to watching horror movies is when a movie is “too scary,” reaching pass the extent of how much you can bear to watch. In his case, watching movies with eerie and fearsome characters late at night may occasionally give him nightmares. Nevertheless, even though horror movies can be too much handle, Guha enjoys the experience of watching them with other people, preferably in large groups of friends.

“I love seeing my friends scared, especially when we are in big groups as it’s such a fun bonding experience,” Guha said. “We all take our blankets, cuddle real close and scream our heads off. [It’s] pretty fun. Also it’s nice to cuddle with certain people. Horror movies are a great segway for romantic relationships.”