Oct. 3—It's that time of year when horror movies flood the movie theaters, TV and streaming services to give us a warmup for Halloween.
Every movie genre has people who like them or don't really care for them. One person can watch an off-kilter, comedy/noir film like "The Big Lebowski" twice a year every year while someone else can't get through 10 minutes of them. But horror movies seem to have entrenched camps of those who can't get enough of them and those who don't even want to see a trailer for one.
There are countless subgenres of horror movies — psychological horror, slasher, monster, paranormal, comedy and more.
I was thrilled to find there is even a horror movie on Prime Video called "The Columnist." It's about a newspaper columnist who is increasingly trolled, ridiculed and harassed online for her columns. Pushed too far, she begins tracking them down in person and killing them — pushing them off roofs, bludgeoning them and cutting off fingers with a big trimming shears to keep a trophy.
Readers are generally pretty generous in commenting on my columns, but there are always the cranks who hate everything and take some joy in attacking. I guess there might be some satisfaction in imagining I'm sneaking up behind some unrestrained critic with my trimming shears, but I'm a pretty laid-back guy. Still, you might want to watch "The Columnist" before you get online and go overboard attacking someone's writing.
Psychologists say people who are sensation seeking may gravitate toward scary movies. A horror film kicks in a person's heart rate and makes their body feel as though it needs to expend energy. That makes them feel alive and grounded in their bodies.
Highly sensitive people, on the other hand, get easily overstimulated and are more empathetic than the average person, meaning they have a more intense physiological reaction to horror movies.
How we were introduced to scary stuff as a kid has a big impact as well.
If you watched an old "Frankenstein" movie as a young kid, you pretty much figured out monsters aren't real and that Dr. Frankenstein's monster was a victim. But if you were a 7-year-old who watched "The Blair Witch Project," you may have had some issues to work through in the coming years and still hate a scary movie.
While psychologists have various views on why people like or hate horror, they also say that many people with anxiety are helped by watching scary movies.
While horror movies don't leave you feeling relaxed, horror apparently provides relief from real life pent-up tension and allows you to be scared in a safe, fantasy world.
So with mountains of scary movies available, find a good horror genre you like and enjoy it and maybe relieve some anxiety. Or just enjoy the good scare it gives you, or the satisfaction of watching your partner, who isn't a horror movie fan, squirm while they watch. It's Halloween season after all.
If you have an opinion on my column, feel free to send me an email. And don't worry about looking over your shoulder if you want to be critical. After 39 years as a journalist, I have thick skin.
Tim Krohn can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 507-344-6383.