Why Do We Watch Scary Movies?

Kelly Maida

© Copyright 2020 by Kelly Maida

Photo of horrow movie ad.

Why do we try to scare ourselves? As a small child, I am not sure of how old I was was when I watched scary movies. My first memory of scary shows was chiller theatre. I remember a big hand coming out of the ground. My grandma asked me when I was little why do you like to frighten yourself? I had no response when she asked me. I would not only frighten myself I would use a heavy blanket to make sure I was completely covered while sleeping. Not leaving any toes or feet out. I always felt better with a thicker blanket even in the summer. As if a blanket would stop a monster or a person. But as a child that is what I thought. Funny now how they came out with weighted blankets to help with anxiety. The idea is nice but I tried one it was a little too heavy for me. Not to mention when the glass beads came out there was little pieces all over. I no longer watch scary movies, Iím tired of that anxious feeling and being scared. I get that enough from my life, I donít need to add to it. When we watch movies we can tell ourselves all day long itís not real. Our minds do not know the difference of what is real or what is not. That is why you jump, scream or yell during scary movies. Your mind thinks itís happening to you. I read a psychoanalytic theory by Aristotle - the notion of catharsis- purging our negative emotions? I donít agree, I feel it adds to it. Maybe a temporary feeling but just like with drugs there is always a ramification or an after affect in a sense. An altercation within us. Blurred vision in a way of thinking or reacting. I talked to a counselor awhile back that told me it takes a whole year of not drinking just to clear your mind. It doesnít matter how much you drink on a daily basis etc but it takes a whole year to clear your mind. Would we still drink if we knew the actual affects and control and power it can have over us? Not to mention the damage it causes. Donít go there with the grape theory of how they are good for you in wine then drink grape juice. Would we look under the bed? Check the backseat, or jump when we hear a noise when we were home alone if we didnít see it in a movie? Or check our closets? Running fast down stairs when itís dark and your home alone. Is it thrill seeking in a sense? I watched it as a child because my dad did. I just got used to watching it. From what I think, maybe itís was a way to escape. Maybe it was a way to be scared but then see everything worked out ok in the end. Normally it was a happy ending and then you think wow everything worked out good and I got through this movie. But what about when it didnít work out ok in the end of the movie? Your left with a sinking feeling. What if the movie triggered you and brought up a frightening memory. Or watching people get abused or hurt. Now that Iím more consciously aware, I donít want to watch people or animals etc get hurt. We see enough of it on the news or in our own lives. Everything in our lives that we do from the people we associate with, the environments that we live in, the food we eat, what we watch and what we listen to all have a profound effect on us. We can rewire our brains to live the life that we want. In the past my life was on auto pilot just like most peopleís. We all program to society. We see what our parents and people around us do and we all just conform to the ideas that life has presented. Because that is what everyone else is doing or what we are used to or what we saw when growing up. It was not all that I watched I loved fairy tales as well. Even though when u think about it they are just as twisted in a sense. A curse being put on sleeping beauty or Cinderella and her wicked stepmother and step sisters. Television and movies used to rule my life. Anything in excess is not healthy. The past two years Iíve taken a break with movies and tv. Donít get me wrong I still do watch movies or some tv shows but definitely not like I used to. I can go for a while now without watching one or even longer if I need it. Instead I try to meditate, and write or to really live life instead of sitting in front of a tv just distracting myself. Same thing with social media, that can be a big distraction as well. How can we know what we really feel or want if we distract ourselves constantly. We rush to go to work, take care of our family and the people in our lives, watch the news, social media, gossip with friends. When do we take time out to be alone and to relax and hear our own voices? Does our lives have to have all these distractions in them ? The past two years since I started limiting myself on distractions I found more creative outlets. I write so much more now. Iím not held down by distractions. Iím finding other talents and passions in life. When we start deciding what is good for us and what we need to limit or rid our lives of, our lives become happier . Iím not trying to discourage anyone from doing anything. Iím just saying what works for me. And to ask ourselves why we do things. I remember the time I was asked why I drank. It took me awhile arguing back and forth about it, but when it honestly came down to it I had no good reason. It was a learned habit. One that I stopped years ago. I wonder how many things if we really stopped and thought about were just learned behaviors from others and not even our own habits or ideas. How many times have we done something because someone else did? I feel I watched scary movies because it was around me. Others watched it. I picked up the habit. Now that I think about it, itís not enjoying feeling sick or anxious during a movie. And being scared and having nightmares afterwards. Currently I donít enjoy sitting on the edge of my seat anymore with my hands over my eyes. Some movies gave me panic attacks. I donít find that enjoyable anymore. I canít remember when exactly I watched a documentary on Ted bundy but what stuck out to me the most is how he said he watched horror movies since he was a child. In some sense it makes me wonder if that gave him some kind of sick fascination with murder. Iím not saying that would of been the only factor but how much of what we see and what we watch really effects and shapes our worlds ? I feel it is something to really think about. Iíve done experiments a lot lately and tried to watch and document my feelings after listening to positive affirmations and sound healing. I definitely felt good after each time. Did you ever notice your state of mind after a horror movie or listening or watching something negative? Or fighting or arguing with someone ? Itís not a good feeling. It is just something else to consider in your life. Like the quote states if you want change you canít keep doing what you always do! This is so true. I slowly had to change my life and weed out what didnít work. It started with not reading the newspaper or watching the news. Not joining in on gossip and walking away from people that gossip. Getting rid of toxic people, changing what I eat and drink. Eliminating alcohol. Getting rid of cable. Watching Netflix every now and then. Think about where Iím headed with this. What if we eventually became so entertained just by our own company we didnít need anything but ourselves. We didnít neeed any distraction what so ever. That is how some yogis live a minimalistic lifestyle but they are happy. Because happiness comes from within. Itís not external. It is so much easier said than done because we have all been taught itís something outside of ourselves. We try to say we realize this. Maybe on a conscious level we do. But on a subconscious level maybe we do not see the whole picture yet.

I wrote this at 1am. I started reflecting on things in life. Really asking myself the reasoning behind my actions. And this idea about how I used to watch scary movies and what it actually did to me and how it actually worsened my anxiety.

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