When people find out I run a horror news/review website, it is inevitable that the first question will be “Have you seen any truly scary movies?”. While there is nothing wrong with the question in and of itself, it does point to a large misconception of the genre. The same misconception that I too once had; that is of course before I had a year’s worth of constant horror movie watching.
Horror cannot simply be defined as fear. It also represents shock and disgust. What qualifies for each varies widely from person to person. This is why horror has so many sub-genres. It’s also why everyone’s number one question doesn’t really have an answer. Of course I’ve seen some scary shit, I just don’t know if that it’s true for you.
When we started this website a year ago, we knew everyone had their own particular taste in what makes a good horror film. The idea was that readers would learn to identify our individual taste, and adapt our review to their own preferences. Telling people what they should be thinking was never an option. The internet is already filled with enough folks trying to convince you that they have a monopoly on being correct, and we didn’t see the need to add to it.
Everything started off perfectly, and then something curious happened. I started finding myself appreciating sub-genres that I had never enjoyed. Extremely gory films suddenly didn’t seem pointless. I still don’t like torture-porn, but now it makes sense. Just because it crosses too far over my line for horror doesn’t mean that it does so for everyone. Personally, I’ll never watch Headless again, but I can understand why some of you sickos love it!
So next time someone ask you what the scariest movie you’ve seen is, keep in mind that they most likely have a very particular style in mind. There is no right or wrong answer here. A year ago I would have told you the scariest movie involved something supernatural. Today I’d ask you what you like. I love this genre and it’s willingness to push our boundaries. I’ve had a change in perspective, and perhaps you will too.