Horror movies have captivated me for as long as I can remember.
Something about the adrenaline rush of being scared out of your mind while knowing you’re ultimately safe keeps me coming back for more. I’ve been obsessed with the horror genre in all its gory glory ever since I first watched A Nightmare on Elm Street as a kid (probably too young, in retrospect). The horror genre has evolved over the years, with different subgenres rising and falling in popularity, but my love of being spooked remains.
The earliest horror films that hooked me were the Gothic horror films from the silent era and Universal monster movies from the 1930s. Films like Nosferatu (1922) and Frankenstein (1931) featured spooky settings, supernatural creatures, and a mood of creeping dread. I love how films from that era make spines tingle without any need for over-the-top blood or jump scares. The suggestion of horror off-screen is more unsettling. These classic films established many tropes and conventions that still frighten me today.
In the 1970s, the slasher film exploded onto the scene with violent, gory films like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) and Halloween (1978). The slasher golden age of the 1980s featured unstoppable killer Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger, who still haunt my nightmares. Although slasher films are gruesome, they are weirdly cozy in their predictability and campiness. They continue a long tradition of socially conservative horror films that “punish” naughty teens for their rebellious behavior.
In recent decades, my taste in horror has expanded to appreciate more mainstream thrillers and psychological horror like The Wailing (2016), Get Out (2017), The Ritual (2017), Satan’s Slaves (2017), A Quiet Place (2018), Hereditary (2018), Mad God (2022) etc.
I love horror films that also provide social commentary or make you think. Some of the most effectively scary films are those grounded in real human fears and dynamics. At the same time, I still have a soft spot for over-the-top supernatural frightfests like the Insidious and Conjuring franchises. I’m riveted watching a well-crafted jump scare in a crowded theater.
No matter the subgenre, horror films detonate a thrill in me.
My heart races, and my palms sweat, yet I can’t look away. The feeling that anything might happen, that no character is safe, creates a morbid sense of anticipation. The unsettling scores and spooky atmospheres give me goosebumps. And the haunting visuals often come flooding back at the most inopportune, dark moments. I’m addicted to that rush of fear and how I face danger from the comfort of a cinema seat.
Horror films offer a sort of escapism that I find perversely comforting. No matter what terrors or anxieties are featured on screen, I know I’m in no real danger. The thrill is facing those fears from a place of safety and security. At their best, horror films are also masterful at creating a mood or experience that stays with you after the credits roll. The mark of a genuinely scary film keeps you checking under the bed or turning on the lights before bedtime. I’m always chasing that Perfect Scare.
From Gothic monsters to psychological trauma, body horror to supernatural fright fests, I’m obsessed with nearly every flavor of horror. My love of the genre is a mix of nostalgia for the classics I grew up with and an appetite for the latest scare. I’m certain that horror films will continue to spook me for decades. The terror and thrill of horror, like the chill you feel when something bumps in the night, is eternal. My addiction to that sensation is lifelong.