Monday, 18 August 2008

The Bottomless Pit..

Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo

Fear is normal.

Letting your fears be a crutch is mildly abnormal to those without such fears.

Unless you’re in their shoes, when what’s feared assume a dangerous proposition in needing to make a choice: should I, do I…

Ever since my uncle startled me out of my wits whilst watching a lizard man going berserk in a suburban neighborhood a long, long time ago, I have always skip horror movies as they would inevitably give me nightmares.

Even mild ones for that matter.

There are some exceptions, though. I managed to get through The Exorcist (1973) – great movie, brilliant book, Candy Man (1992), The Thing (1982), Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) and some silly ones which I often watched with friends as they are loaded with female actresses showing off their breasts and impromptu sex scenes before being rip to shred moments.

(Six Sense (1999) is not a horror movie, so that one doesn’t count.)

I am also proud to say that I managed to watch Candy Man alone – I was in London at the time - albeit at the price of three sleepless nights.

My wife says my phobia of horror movies is somewhat silly, but I am adamant about putting blissful sleeping hours over the minutes of being scarred silly as a priority of my life.

Her views also stem for my fondness in reading horror novels – I read The Exorcist before even seeing the movie, for that matter – and Stephen King is one of my favorite author of all time. Is there a difference in being frightened from reading something as opposed to watching it?

I don’t really know, but what I do know is that it’s a different kind of fear and the one I get from reading is tinge with a kind of (misplace? Perhaps..) pleasure that would always leave me wanting more unlike movies.

A really good author has this unique ability to fill you with dread of the approaching horrors while keeping you on track to meet it. There is no need for shock factor to (cliché alert!) scare you out of your wits where novels are concerned.

That said, I have not read a good horror novel for some while. Put it down to the 8am to 7pm lifestyle we are living these days when the hours needed to read through a good book is always wanting.

Back to my phobia of horror movies, a question I often ask myself is whether it would hold me back from anything? At 38, I am way passed the dating scene where horror movies give pubescent males the opportunity to be heroic and, who knows, a hug or two. :)

I don’t really miss not watching any of the movies anyway and, gauging from some trailers I managed to sneak peek, I am not really missing that much in terms of being scarred into having sleepless nights.

Last week, though, I felt the same kind of dread I get from a good horror novel as I watch an episode of Jennifer Love Hewitt’s Ghost Whisperer featuring the legend of Bloody Mary – a girl with mutilated, bleeding hands after being buried alive by her parents.

I knew somehow that I should stop watching as the burial scene came on. I knew I will be watching a most terrible tragedy unfold, but as morbidity is wont to do, I continued watching knowing full well that it would cost me at least a few hours of sleep.

It did that night, but different from when I watched Candy Man alone all those years ago. Instead my mind was buzzing with the tragic death of the young girl, and how the same was happening everywhere around the world where young children die needlessly; many victims of cruelty instead.

The young girl in the Bloody Mary legend had parents who thought she had died and wanted to give her a proper burial.

Some parents (I am using this word with a bitter taste in my mouth) in our community are burying their newborn babies alive so that the babies would die .

Now, that scares me more than anything else.

Where are we headed as a nation? A bottomless descent?

No comments: