Thoughts About The Horror Genre

Omg, The Ring is on Netflix.

It came out when I was 12 & I remember feeling very uncomfortable watching it with all the girls in my grade who were laughing when something messed up happened. I didn’t wanna be “uncool” or made fun of so I tried to ignore the fact that I was disturbed by their reactions more than what was going on in the film.

I remember a couple of images got into my head & spooked me when I was alone in the night (I did have a fascination with creepy imagery though so while I was into it, I would have preferred my mind not try to play tricks on me) & just kept thinking that if I let anyone know about that, they’d never let me hear the end of it.
While I’m sure the film won’t affect me the way it did when I was younger since it was the first time I’d seen some of that kind of stuff, I’m going to rewatch it for nostalgic factor & hope that I can maybe lay some of that childhood tension that I still feel in my bones to bed. I am starting to think that a lot of why I developed so many psychological health issues is because I wasn’t allowed to process my reactions to things in a healthy way.

I remember everyone criticized the movie for being “so lame” & not as good as the original Japanese version, but there was just something that sat wrong with me that kids were not allowed to appreciate the horror of a disturbing situation for what it was & instead had to pretend to be amused or entertained by it lest they get labeled as weak & picked on. This just strikes me as a very unhealthy coping mechanism & it made it so that I internalized this toxic reaction to exhibiting emotional vulnerability. I started to bully & rip on others who would show sincere emotional reactions, too. I stopped being able to express how I was feeling about things for fear that people would reject me & ostracize me for being a “pussy.”

There is comedic horror, but there is also something to be said being able to appreciate the emotional horror of a situation even if the production value isn’t excellent. But regardless of all of that, I now don’t think it’s ever okay to make fun of someone for expressing emotional vulnerability even if you personally don’t feel the same way. ESPECIALLY if the person who is feeling disturbed or uncomfortable is a child. It’s very sad to me that kids get peer pressured into acting “tough” or more accurately, heartless, to be accepted. That’s pretty sick. Way sicker than anything that happens in these fictional horror movies, imho.

Nowadays, while I don’t really get “scared” by horror, it’s hard for me to even get spooked or creeped out because I’ve been so desensitized & oversaturated, I let myself cry if I feel the emotional horror of a story moves me to feel that way. It’s cathartic & it lets me know I’m still a human being with empathy & compassion. Horror is one of my favorite genres because it tells the story of the depths to which humans are capable of sinking. They’re cautionary tales to me. That’s what’s horrific, not necessarily the gore or violence or creepy imagery. It’s about the themes of emotional & psychological violence that’s what’s disturbing & I think I picked up on that when I was a kid since I lived in a real life horror story with my very own real life monsters terrorizing my dreams AND waking life. I didn’t find these films “funny” because I was a child & didn’t have any greater context other than knowing what it meant to feel unsafe constantly. I can laugh at things now, but I think being forced to hide the fact that I didn’t find these things funny at the time did some real psychological damage so I am speaking out against that now.

Things have ratings for a reason. We’re supposed to protect kids from watching things for a reason. They don’t have the emotional & intellectual maturity to understand what’s going on & while people can argue that they were exposed to all kinds of messed up stuff as a kid & they turned out fine, let’s really examine that stance. Did they REALLY turn out okay? Just take a look at our society, our world. Suicide, homicide, & mental illness rates are sky high. People are obsessed with all kinds of unhealthy & dangerous behaviors. Empathy & compassion are rare, undervalued traits. No one knows how to communicate with one another. We aren’t there for each other. No one feels safe or cared for. It feels like we’re alone in the world & everything is out to get us. Maybe if we could make some more room for emotional safe spaces for one another (AND ourselves), things wouldn’t be going the way they are. Just a thought.

And on that note, on to enjoy some silly old horror film with the hope that I can get some sort of closure/catharsis from this conscious, deliberate viewing as an adult. Maybe it won’t bring anything so profound & will just be a fun way to pass a few hours, but one can hope, right? ;P

Published by Jax Bayne

Autistic artist, writer, consultant, researcher, analyst, and systems engineer. Occasional axe thrower, model, cosplayer, gamer, & streamer. Latinx ace/demiflux masc enby. SpIns: #autism #bhaktiyoga #comics #fantasy #games #horror #linguistics #moths #neuropsychology #scifi

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