I avoid things that scare me. I don’t go into small spaces for extended periods of time. I don’t go places where I know there will be clowns or spiders. I watch carefully when I walk in the grass to keep clear of snakes. I shake my shoes out before putting them on, because I don’t like to share with spiders or scorpions. If you walk into a room and see me standing on a chair, you can bet I saw a mouse. I’m old-fashioned that way.
So why is it that every year around this time I look for ways to scare myself? I have a theory that a little measure of fear is good for people—especially if it’s absolutely safe.
Now, I’m not brave by any stretch of the imagination. My sons are working a haunted house this month, and I took a quick walk through. All the lights were on, and I got to see all the technical, behind-the-scenes works. Was I scared? YEP! Am I going through it at night, with all the black lights and bloodied characters? NOPE!
I like my frights on the silver screen. I grew up watching Jaws, The Amityville Horror, Halloween, Carrie, and The Omen. I watched the black and white classics like The Wolfman, The Mummy, and Frankenstein. Most of these films have been remade, speaking to their timeless appeal.
One of the first movies ever made was a silent Frankenstein. The motion picture industry was new, but the story of a man’s creation becoming the incarnation of his darkest fear is part of human nature. Watch Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It’s still as frightening as any slasher film out there.
We all enjoy—to one extent or another—the thrill of fear, when we know the consequences of the experience are minimal. Maybe a nightmare follows, but usually an elevated heart rate is the only result of a fright.
This is the time of year when a scary movie is only a click of the remote control away. Enjoy the good ones. Just to be safe, invite your friends to share some popcorn and screams at your side.