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So why would I, a confirmed wimp, persist in watching something that was so scary? If the area under my bed was not threatening before, it was now. By my participation in the movie, I had essentially put a rattle- snake under my bed. Since I hated snakes so much already, why did I not leave the room instead of staying to watch? I seem to recall that the reason why I had actually gone through so much trouble to watch the show in the first place was that one of the heroes also happened to be a girl. My dad had rented action movies before, but they had guys for the most part and I was not interested in stupid boy stuff. With True Grit I was interested in the girl character as she rode out into the wilderness to seek justice for her murdered dad. When she fell into the pit I was definitely transfixed by the horror of the situation, but I was also genuinely concerned for her wel- fare and relieved to see her survive. Some horror movie fans enjoy "the feeling of being frightened when they watch a scary film" or "the scarier the movie the better" (Sparks 69). Yet unlike the typical thrill-seeking fan, I want to see if a compelling character can win in a struggle against adversity and survive against incomprehensi- ble odds. But an unwelcome side effect of watching such exciting adventures is taking them home with you. After my first terrifying cinematic experience, I should have stayed away from monster-related cinema. I could not help myself, however, and I developed new frights with each new experience. It did not matter what sort of monster or ghoul I would see on the TV screen; it was somehow going to end up in my house. The movie Poltergeist made me believe that my toys were evil, giant trees would bust through my bed- room window to eat me, and that evil spirits were lurking behind every door and curtain. I mused on these aver- sions while in bed at night, with my head under the covers. Whenever I dared look out from my blankets or when I had to go to the bathroom, a ghost would immediately take up residency in my closet. On watching Jurassic Park, I should have come to the logical conclusion that dinosaurs are extinct and that they wouldn’t wait in random closets to devour children who had to make a midnight bathroom run. But that primal part of my subconscious decreed otherwise. Logic stated that a Tyrannosaurus Rex could not possibly fit in my closet. Then I would hear a noise and I would believe that the T-Rex was lurking outside of my window, waiting for me to make a move. If I were to so much as blink, it was going to smash through the wall and grab me. The velociraptors that could open doors and run like the wind were most likely waiting to ambush me in the living room. Even if I made it past all of those freakish obstacles I would still have to face the poisonous dinosaur, also known as the dilophosaurus, lying in wait in the dark bathroom, ready to shake its rattles and pounce. This sense of paranoia stemmed from the typical car crash of emotions that any monster movie can pro- vide. If I had watched a sweet romantic comedy before bedtime, my dreams would have been populated with fluffy clouds, puppies, and gumdrops, and the closet would have been no more sinister than usual. But having been scared nearly out of my wits, my adrenaline was pumping out of control and every sense was on alert, scouting for danger. With my brain still wired for fight or flight, or rather, shriek and cringe, sleep became im- possible. A creak in the house became amplified like a gunshot, and the flickering of shadows outside of my win- dow would make my heart pound deafeningly. Sometimes I would stay alert all night long and heave a sigh of relief to see the sun lighting up the sky. Over the years a parade of creepy characters from monster movies took up the night shift in my house or backyard. Even when my family moved to a new house the cinema monsters found out the new address and obtained the appropriate house keys. As I got older and a bit more reasonable, I was better able to control my fears. The monsters visited less frequently and soon came by quite rarely. I took to not watching freaky shows at night in order to prevent nightmares and learned to laugh at the illogical thought of a mummy hiding in a laun- dry room or of a vampire lurking in a minivan in the parking lot at Walmart. Scary movies can be fun to watch and mostly constitute pretty silly viewing. But still, every single night, I make sure my closet door is shut. Work Cited Sparks, Glenn G. "Developing a Scale to Assess Cognitive Responses to Frightening Films." Journal of Broadcasting & Elec- tronic Media 30.1 (1986): 65-73. Academic Search Complete. Web. 10 Oct. 2014. 50
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