Kitty: Hi Ippy! Whatcha doing for Halloween this year?
Ippy: Hey Kitty! Basically avoiding it.
Kitty: Really? How come?
Ippy: Halloween parties are really awkward for me! There’s a story behind this, but it’s kind of embarrassing.
Kitty: Well this is the internet, so your secret is totally safe! Do tell!
Ippy: Haha yep, the safest place on earth, as Snowden would say :D
Ok, so here’s thing. I can’t watch horror movies. I was hijacked into watching a Japanese horror film at a friend’s birthday party when I was 15. I “braved” the first ten minutes of it, peeking between my fingers and trying to puncture my own eardrums to silence the creepy music. About 10 minutes into the movie there was a scene where someone’s fingers were slowly cracked, one by one by an unseen evil force. At that point I excused myself and left the party pretty much in tears. (mind you, it was like noon when we started watching the movie.) Anyway… I CANNOT watch horror films!
So at Halloween parties, everyone is always dressed up as some iconic character from a horror movie, and I never have a clue about who they’re supposed to be.
I end up avoiding small talk, stay near the breadsticks made to look like maggot-infested fingers, and make up excuses for why I’m not in costume.
Kitty: I’m sorry to say I laughed a little at your story, but in all honesty, I have a confession to make.
Ippy: Oh please share! I honestly feel like a freak of nature. All the cool kids are into horror…
Boo! © Kaisa Leino
Kitty: Well, for me, I love costume parties, but I’m terrified of Halloween costumes and yes, horror movies. My fear of scary movies actually started when I was pretty young. I had a crazy teacher in the elementary school who let my whole class watch popular horror movies while she was in the teachers’ lounge… So, in short, I’ve watched all three Screams, Congo, Urban legends etc. before I was 12.
Ippy: Oh, you poor unfortunate child!!
Kitty: Yep! What makes Halloween particularly difficult and embarrassing for me is that I’m afraid of masks. If anyone would show up in my party with a Scream mask on, I wouldn’t let them in…
Ippy: Hahahaha! Finally, a kindred soul!!!
Kitty: I know right! I honestly thought I was the only one!
Ippy: Although, now I’m starting to think there might be more closet Halloween pussies just waiting to come out.
Kitty: That might be true. Maybe it’s a cultural thing. We’re adults, so we’re not supposed to be scared of something we see in a movie?
Ippy: I think you’re right. Being able to handle horror is the epitome of coolness from middle school onward.
Kitty: Yes, I think that these franchises like Scream made it so that being a teenager meant to watch horror. Somehow it seems that people have forgotten that horror is just another movie genre. I don’t think that people would have any sort of “snort, what a pussy”- reaction if I told them that I hate American romantic comedies and don’t watch them.
Ippy: Yep! Horror seems to sit on this weird pedestal. Like if you’re REALLY a movie buff, you need to know how to appreciate gruesome violent deaths and demonic forces.
Kitty: And what I hate is that people might say they cannot handle scary movies, but they still watch them!
Ippy: I know! It’s such a lie though, I mean if you can’t handle them, you physically have to leave the room or be willing to do serious damage to your eyeballs and eardrums while attempting to watch one.
Kitty: Yup or be behind a pillow screaming ” OH GAWD WHAT IS HAPPENING?!” to your spouse.
Ippy: The maximum level of horror I can take, is the scene in LOTR when Bilbo momentarily turns into a monster!
Kitty: Wow, dude, that sh*it was scary! Like, hey, a warning might be nice?
Ippy: Yeah! Frodo COULD have winked, just a teeny bit at the audience or something to say “something horrifying is about to happen, so please don’t take another sip of that coke!
Kitty: Disclaimer: “This movie contains Aragorn and Legolas who look nothing like the really good pictures in your head, but they are ok, and Frodo is really cute in his own wide-eyed way. But there’s this one scene where this sweet old hobbit gets really scary looking for a second with no warning and you are in danger of peeing your pants”
Ippy: Would have saved me a few pairs of underwear…
Ippy: Which is a pretty big deal for a student. So thanks Peter Jackson, thanks a lot!!
Kitty: BTW, have you ever thought about WHY you’re scared of horror movies?
Ippy: That’s a good question. The supernatural aspect of it really creeps me out. Anything hovering through the air on its own is just beyond my capacity. I can’t deal with it. What about you?
Kitty: Well, I’ve been thinking about this quite a lot. There was this one Finnish horror movie called Sauna (spoiler alert!) that I really wanted to watch because I had seen the trailer and I thought the visuals looked amazing and the story was interesting. Parts of it were really hard to watch, but then when the monster appeared, I wasn’t scared anymore. The thing is that there was a little girl the main characters took advantage of and killed, who came back from the dead. Somehow, the violence and horror the main characters went through after that all made sense.
In comparison, I tried to watch the movie called Hills Have Eyes and I just couldn’t. I felt nauseated and just plain scared and I think the main reason for that was because the violence didn’t make any sense.
So I think it’s the randomness of the violence in most horror movies which scares me the most. Well, that and the fact that I really get sucked into movies. The sound effects really work on me and I get spooked really easily…
Ippy: So you can actually watch one if the violence in it follows some (twisted) logic? Interesting!
Kitty: Well, I don’t really have that much evidence to support that theory.
Ippy: And I’m definitely not going to encourage you to formulate one!
Kitty: Thank you, please don’t.
Ippy: But yeah, I agree that the sound effects have an important role. I’m that person in the movie theatre who has to close both eyes and ears and burrow into the side of whoever is sitting next to me when a horror trailer comes on.
Kitty: I have been thinking about why is it so that we tend to be so critical about other genres using the “cheap tricks” but not horror movies?
Ippy: I really don’t know! Again, haven’t seen any, but from what I’ve been told about the plots, horror seems to have a pretty fixed repertoire of storylines and tropes. People watch horror to be spooked, and not so much for the deep insights the movies offer, which could justify the use of “cheap tricks”. By the way, I’m pretty much waiting for a group of angry horror fans to come tar and feather me for my ignorance ;)
Kitty: Haha, same here. Sorry angry horror fans, our aliases are bullet proof! But it might also be that the “cheap tricks” make the horror controlled. You get something out of willingly putting yourself into a position to be scared?
Ippy: But WHY the hell does anyone want to be scared??
Kitty: the adrenaline?
Ippy: Then get a nipple piercing, go skydiving, eat dubious meat, jaywalk! There are so many other ways to get an adrenalin rush!
Kitty: Jump into a pool from 5 meters, go to Space Shot in Linnanmäki…
Ippy: drink one of those flame shots, hang out at the railway station around 2.00 am on a Saturday night.
Kitty: Eat wasabi. Or mystery sushi.
Ippy: Yes, a spoonful of wasabi is where it’s at! I mean, the list of adrenaline fixes that don’t involve watching people get beheaded by a chainsaw are endless!
Kitty: Although we have to admit that in many of our examples the possibility of actual death, injuries or pierced nipples is pretty high.
Ippy: True, but I think I’d take a spoonful of wasabi over another traumatic film experience any day!
Kitty: Same here, although I’m starting to understand something. With horror movies some people get that same rush from the safe distance.
Ippy: Each to their own, I guess!
Ippy: So I never got around to asking about your Halloween plans this year. What are you up to?
Kitty: Well, staying as far away from masks as I can to start of with! And no Halloween candy or food that looks like something it’s not, like fingers or maggots, because that’s just gross. But I AM actually throwing an annual Halloween party. Guests usually dress up as something not that scary but otherwise awesome and we watch a non-horror Halloweenish movie.
Ippy: That sounds like a perfect Halloween party! Non-horror Halloweenish movies? Do tell me more!
Kitty: Well, my list of Halloween For Pussies- movies are Beetlejuice, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Interview with the Vampire, Nightmare Before Christmas, Corpse Bride and The Crow.
Ippy: Liking the list! And also, this conversation has given me enough courage to be more open about my horror disability. From now on, I’m just going to be like: ” Hey, I can’t watch scary movies, so don’t bother trying to make me guess your character, ‘cause I won’t know. I’ll be by the snack table if you wish to discuss non-Halloween related topics.”
Kitty: Haha, that’s awesome! Thanks for this soul-cleansing Halloween chat. Stay scared!
Ippy: Will do! Happy mask-free Hallows Eve!
By Kaisa Leino and Inka Vappula