Why #ImAHorror Fan
Time and time again, horror fans are uncharacteristically mislabeled, sneered at, and seen as dangerous. The truth is that you’re all some of the most generous, friendly, and beautiful people out there. So let’s show the world who we are and proudly say #ImAHorrorFan! pic.twitter.com/4FAx3oxX6O
— Jonathan Barkan (@JonathanBarkan) December 18, 2018
I love horror movies. I do not proclaim to always have a refined taste when it comes to genre, but what I love most about it is that it is a largely female-driven narrative that has evolved to a place where we could have Halloween, A Quiet Place, Truth or Dare, Hereditary and others come out the same year. Even if I don’t love each one, I love the different possibilities they represent and the different creative forms horror can take.
During a discussion I had about the horror genre, I brought up gaslighting and the movie Scream. For me, Scream is the perfect movie to explain how gaslighting works because gaslighting is at the core of the horror. A woman tells people something terrible is happening and everyone all around her is saying “no, no, you are just confused” despite seeming deeply distressed. In Scream Sidney Prescott is deeply traumatized by the rape and murder of her mother which happened one year ago before the start of the movie, yet her boyfriend Billy Loomis, is pressuring her into sex and comments on her being “frigid.” At the same time, while she is dealing with that a man in a mask, Ghostface, is stalking her.
When Sidney thinks that Billy is the killer (which spoiler alert he is as well as the person who raped/killed her mother with the help of Stu Mache) and is eventually released, Billy shames her and downplays all of her feels for the sake of his own.
Watching this scene once you’ve seen the movie before makes it extra disturbing because what Billy is doing, even if you take away the murder, is something you see rape culture and toxic masculinity doing all the time, ignoring women’s pain or discomfort for their own pleasure and satisfaction. Sidney is made to feel blameworthy for literally nothing and Billy plays the victim all the while plotting to further use that guilt for his own means. That’s why Billy makes sure to have sex with Sidney before revealing himself to be one-half of Ghostface.
Jughead’s dad was a jerk.
Horror at it’s best can take a slasher movie and turn into a conversation about something deeper because it’s based on holding a mirror our own society and using the fear of the “Other” against us. That is why people from all backgrounds love horror. We often aren’t just being scared we are having our own failures and anxieties played back at us in an extreme way. Movies like Black Christmas can play with the erotic terror of hunting women in a sorority, while also having a female lead character who is determined to have an abortion in 1974. Candyman can talk about race and the history of it that haunts black areas.
Like all genres, horror has its problems, its filler and it’s “high-art” but in the end watching horror can sometimes be a cathartic way of dealing with things inside of us that we would never address. And sometimes it’s just about awesome kill scenes and that’s good too. I mean how many of us would never drive behind a semi with logs on it because of Final Destination 2?
What makes you a horror fan? Let us know below.
(via Twitter, image: Warner Bros.)
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