plural noun: reactions
1. something done, felt, or thought in response to a situation or event.
“his immediate reaction was one of fear”
synonyms: response; answer, reply, rejoinder, retort;feedback
As horror fans we have all faced that moment, many times, when we have to tell someone about our love of the genre when we know we will be met with some form of criticism or judgement about our mental health.
People think we’re weirdos, that we have terrible taste and are clueless about the intricacies of cinema, that we are unstable and living out our torturous fantasies through film; even that we we believe what is happening on screen is real. We’re right up there, above the people who love foreign film, for being judged (and if like me you love horror and foreign, I know how you feel).
So horror fans, here are ten of the worst reactions I and others I know have received after we have told non-horror fans about our dark little interest.
10. “How did you get in to that…?” (nose turning up ever so slightly)
One of the snootier responses, and don’t be fooled – they WANT an answer.
People sometimes think we owe them an explanation for our taste in film, and I am yet to understand why. I don’t demand they tell me why they enjoy 90s comedies and spaghetti westerns.
9. “You shouldn’t glorify killing.”
This one was once said to me in all seriousness by a librarian before I became a teenager, and even today I just can’t think of anything that I would have said to her in response. Horror isn’t even on the same level as to glorify killing. I guess if you don’t get it you don’t get it…
8. “But you look normal.”
Oh, I am sorry! Would you like me to go home and dress goth to fit your stereotype of a horror fan?
I personally am not a person that likes to wear clothes that express my taste in film, music or love of rasslin’; and there are a lot of people like me. If I look normal that’s fine, because my wardrobe does not exist as a beacon for you to spot and define me as “not normal”.
You can just feel the judgement flow over you when you hear this one, can’t you? Their face says it all; to them you are a weirdo who they must never be left alone with.
6. “Why would you enjoy scaring yourself?”
Who said we scare ourselves? I think us horror fans are tough as old boots. You’ll find us in the theaters, in bed with a book, sprawled across the couch taking in a scary story at any given time; appreciating the humor, sadness and love between characters in the tale.
What about you, tearjerker fan, why do you like to make yourself cry?
5. “I wept inside.”
Though this was not technically said at the time, this is what the husband told me his reaction was when I told him I was a horror fan all those years ago, and I felt it was somewhat fitting. There are some people that just flat out hate horror and cannot understand its appeal, not because they find it gross or unsettling, but because they just find it stupid. That’s my Steven.
4. “I wouldn’t like to know what goes on in your head then!”
This is usually followed by a little, uncertain laugh while they gauge your reaction to see if you’re about to whip an axe out from under your trench coat.
You and I both know that some people think we are completely unhinged for liking this stuff; but fiction is not reality, and no one ever completely appreciates the exact same things as works of art or entertainment.
3. “You don’t let your kids watch that stuff, do you?”
Yes, I am raising a next generation serial killer.
First off, people seriously underestimate children’s ability to handle fiction. Secondly, why would showing your child horror movies make you a bad parent? It doesn’t. I know when I have a kid it will be watching scary films with me because for a horror fan remembering those first horror movies watched as a child are actually pretty magical – you never forget.
I want my child to, like me, rejoice when the Lawnmower Man makes the lawnmower mow over the man who keeps beating his wife. Sound like too heavy a topic? No. Your kid just learnt that domestic violence is wrong.
Who said horror can’t teach you a thing or two?
2. “All horror is shit nowadays.”
I just want to scream at people when they say this, “Hey! How do you know? You don’t watch horror! Get in the scene!”
For these people, their only experiences with modern horror are with whatever Paranormal Activity we’re on to now and Michael Bay remakes. We know better – you know better – because we are here on Popcorn Horror, basking in the Indie.
1. “A nice girl like you shouldn’t be watching stuff like that.”
I’m not 100% on what the male equivalent would be; though since the statement itself is pretty misogynistic I’m guessing there is no equivalent.
I’m automatically highly offended and confused when people say this to me – firstly I’m 24, and although this has led to a lot of debate in the weeks leading up to that 24th birthday about whether I am now in my mid 20s or the final year of my early 20s, there is no doubt that whatever the answer I am very far from being a girl. Secondly, am I somehow losing this “nice” status if I appreciate the good, the bad, and the ugliest of horror?
If that is the case I don’t think I want to be nice.