Monday, May 31, 2010

The horror movie phenomenon - a MIghTy African fear

Which is scarier? Playing physical football risking injuries, facing an exam, or watching a scary/horror movie? If you are me, scary/horror movie is your answer. Last Saturday, I was criticizing a fellow Ghanaian because he was fearing the physical, big-looking Nigerian opponents he was about to face on the football field. I told him to man up and not be afraid, because soccer was a physical sport. I called him Fearoo! Little did I know, I would have my own 'fearoo' moments later that night. I am not a fan of horror movies and I stay away from them. In fact, I had sworn never to watch a horror movie after I left Presec. Like they say, never say never. Last Saturday, I saw Nightmare on Elm Street, marking the first time I'd watched a horror film since high school. It would also be the last.

Why do people even watch horror movies? Scientists say people watch it for the thrill, and for the excitement. I don't see how you could get excited by people sawing each other off, and "unexpected surprises" but I guess that's what it is. Another source said people are willing to endure the terror in order to enjoy a euphoric sense of relief at the end. I couldn't understand why people keep on making horror movies in Hollywood. Am like - who watches these films? Why are they popular? Turns out, it doesn't cost much to make the films and they are always sure bankers. Yes, because they can bank on these horror movie fans who just keep on coming for more. Are you one of them? God bless you.

I used to watch some horror movies when I was young. At Presec, where I went to boarding school, Saturday nights were entertainment nights. The most popular nights were those when we had film shows. Presec was a boys' school, so during film shows, you'd have a room of hundreds of young teenage boys watching a movie. It was a lot of fun! They added their own soundtrack to the movie with their shouts, taunts, applause, etc. Watching horror movies with these Presec boys was even more fun. If you got scared, your colleague got scared next to you and screamed along. It's almost as if the collective screaming made you feel safe. You didn't feel alone as if someone was going to grab you. It diluted the fear factor and horror movies became just like other movies we'd be watching.

Watching horror movies alone is a different ballgame. You could watch it with another person, but if they are 'fearoos' like you, it wouldn't do much to help. On the other hand, if that person is not a 'fearoo', or has watched so many horror movies and nothing (I mean nothing) scares him (or her), then you may be in luck. These are the horror movie fans. In fact, I had promised myself that if I watched a horror movie, I'd watch it in a theater and hope that others would be scared enough, and will scream like we did in Presec to reduce the fear factor.

I went to see Nightmare on Elm Street with one of these horror movie fans. My friend was in love with horror movies and insisted we watched this. I gave in. I'd do this just this one time and then forget about it. I dreaded it. My fears were realised during the movie. I couldn't handle 'it'. I am not a fan of surprises. I was twisting and turning in my seat, covering my eyes, moving my legs, etc, etc. At one point, I had a cramp in my right leg! I had to stand up for a minute (in the middle of the movie), and then switch seats with my friend so I could stretch my leg. My friend was having a good laugh. I thought I was cramping because of the soccer I had played earlier. I was like - a cramp? at this time? watching this movie? Agya wadwo! ɛdeɛbɛn asɛm ni? Wey kind matter be this? Later on, my left leg also cramped and that's when I realised, soccer had nothing to do with it. Something happened in the movie, I moved like left leg in fright and voila! Cramp! By this time, I was laughing along with my friend. Fearoo!

The funniest part about all of this was I seemed to be the only person in the whole theater who was so scared. I was the only one moving; I mean, the only one literally moved by the movie. Everyone was quiet, and acting like nothing was happening. WednesdayThursdayFriday? Horror movie fans like my friend don't play. They are not scared by nothing. They've watched so many horror movies, these new ones don't move them. My friend didn't even think Nightmare on Elm Street was scary. Whoa! What! I think my 'movements', 'shouts' and 'antics' added to the movie-going experience for the rest of the people in the theater. Best believe. I was entertaining them. It's not funny folks. It may be funny now, but it ain't. These horror movie fans are something else. They were not moved, at all. What kind of people are they? What are their character traits? Has someone studied them at all? Someone should.

Like I said, that was my first and last time watching a horror movie. I felt watching it in a theater would help, but because I watched the movie with 'horror movie fans', it didn't even help. Maybe if I could watch it with some Presecans, I would consider. Do you watch horror movies? Are you a fan? Better still, are you unmoved by horror movies? How many horror movies do you have to watch before you become immune to the fear and terror? My friend told me, it seems women like horror movies more. Is it true? Why? How? Aren't the women supposed to be ones who'd be afraid and will need to be comforted by men? And they apparently like this stuff. What does that make me? Heck, I even get scared by little gory scenes in movies that ain't horror ones. I just don't like surprises like that in movies. I'm not even sure I want to get over that fear. I just want to stay away from horror movies period.
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