I do not like horror. I do not care for jump scares, gore, paranormal activity or zombie attacks.
On that basis, I, with the help of Brig, decided that I should watch a horror movie for the first time. The options came down to a small handful of movies and the vote landed on The Shining.
So, it is with great expertise, and only very little experience, that I can now present this comprehensive guide to watching horror for the first time.
Choose a horror movie you are comfortable with
It goes without saying that that leaves only very few, if any, movies to choose from when you don’t like horror. But if you are going to be put through the delightful experience of a horror movie, do yourself the favour and veto movies you know are too much. I put my foot down with The Exorcist.
There are different sub-genres of horror and knowing what will most definitely haunt you will steer you clear of stuff too scary to stomach. And possible trauma.
It might also be worth familiarising yourself with the tropes of the horror movie you’ve decided to watch. Don’t spoil the plot before watching it, but perhaps look into what people are saying about it online (or from friends), when the movie came out, or who directed it.
Watch horror with friends
Whatever you do, don’t watch a scary movie alone. Gather your horror-loving friends so that they make sure you get the whole horror-experience: watching it at night with the lights turned off.
The bonus is that they will also look up the timestamps for the jump scares and film you flinching at the sight of two creepy twins.
But in all seriousness, find someone to watch it together with. It makes the experience much less scary. And if you want to watch in daylight, do that too. There is no shame in setting yourself up for a successful movie experience.
Get the popcorn popping and your favourite sweets out. You might be compromising on your movie preferences, but that shouldn’t mean going down on movie snacks.
The good thing is it’ll last longer; there will be many moments where you are too caught up in either watching or hiding from the movie and you’ll forget all about anything else. A pack of popcorn will easily cover two and a half hours.
Pause and talk
If at any moment you need to pause the movie and talk about it, do it. It helps to make the whole experience more grounded. There are no psychopaths with axes or ghosts anywhere near you.
It feels good to heckle the characters too. You know, calling out how stupid they are for going into the room that is clearly unsafe.
I recommend discussing the movie after it’s over. It works as a great way to provide closure and talk through certain things that might have been unclear of left you with questions. Or maybe there was stuff you actually liked.
Much to my horror, I would actually recommend The Shining to anyone who’s not seen it or someone who’s ready to watch horror for the first time.
Featured Image credit: Columbia-EMI-Warner Distributors