x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

A horrifiying taste for being terrified

Watching horror films is something best done with eyes half shut from behind the sofa.

I love watching horror films. Love them. Of course, by watch I mean keep my eyes half shut and my hands hovering nearby should I need to completely block out a gruesome murder, but my appetite for them has never dulled. Granted, I am not alone in my morbid fascination with even the cheesiest horror - why else have so many Final Destination films been given the green light? - but I've always found it odd that I've never fully, even at the age of 26, been able to watch one, just one, horror film without tearing my eyes away from the screen.

I'll always remember the first time I watched Aliens - or rather, I should say, the first 10 minutes of Aliens - when I was a child, my mother and younger brother on either side of me on the couch. I remember looking at the screen with a mixture of terror and fascination; I also remember how swiftly my mother leapt off the couch, turned the TV off, and ushered us off to bed - all because a beastly alien burst forth from the stomach of some scraggly looking woman. (I'm not sure in hindsight why my otherwise far-too sensible mother had allowed us even to watch it in the first place.)

Skip forward a few years, and my inability to watch a horror film in full had only intensified. Scream? Oh, I got the gist of it all right, but it would take me a long, long, time before I could bring myself to watch the scene, in the bathroom at Sydney's high school, when the killer tries to end things there and then, without shutting my eyes tightly. And don't even get me started on the bloodbath at Stu's house party that followed. Same goes for the Hollywood remake of The Ring, about a cursed videotape that, when watched, would result in the seriously warped death of whoever had seen its content. I may have looked stupid in the cinema, with my fingers in my ears, and my eyes screwed shut, but I can live with that. Sure, my friends might have mocked me afterwards, and, hypothetically, may have called me a few days after only to whisper "seven days" down the phone before hanging up, but I survived.

Which brings me to the latest scary movie I can't wait to see, by the horror master Wes Craven. Unable to retire his iconic "ghostface" killer from the Scream movies, the fourth instalment is due for release, in the US at least, next month, and I'm counting down the days until it arrives here. No need to mention that, more than 10 years after the first movie came out, I'm still going to cry like a baby when the killer rears his head for the first time.

So, who's with me? Anyone?

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