Friday, August 6, 2010
The Quest For Terror
The horror genre of movies became my favorite as a child. My parents would let me stay up late on week-ends so I could watch monster movies and other such fare that psychologists would probably heartily encourage parents to let their children watch (not!). There were few things more fun than being up alone late at night and being creeped out by some old black and white horror film, while experiencing the paranoia that something equally terrible might be lurking in the kitchen or in my own back yard.
As a teenager and a young adult I continued to be an avid fan of horror films and literature. Many were the times of sitting around a campfire or parked in a car overlooking the Tennessee town where I lived and exchanging scary stories with my friends. We looked for haunted houses, sought out graveyard mysteries, and visited scenes where horrible crimes were said to have occurred. We were hoping to find something that would terrify us.
Many people look for that thing that will thrill and chill them. Whether it be the scariest roller coaster, the auto race where some horrible accident could occur, or exploring a mysterious or dangerous site, some of us want to experience the edge of peril or even death. The exciting adrenaline rush of having challenged danger and survived is the spark of life for some.
Once while riding on the Tennessee back roads late at night, I told the friends I was with that I wished I would see something so absolutely frightening that my hair would turn white. I never saw it and it's probably better that I didn't. My hair eventually did turn white, although not in one terrifying moment. I no longer have the quest for terror that I used to have. There is certainly enough terror in the real world to frighten us all.
Did you exchange scary stories with your friends when you were young? Do you enjoy horror films and literature? What are some of your favorites? Or are you a weenie and hide your eyes if something scary comes on the screen? Do you think the desire to be scared or thrilled is unhealthy? Or is it a natural instinct? Why would anyone want to be scared on purpose?