Alex’s Un-Scary Movie Challenge

The last time I looked like this at a movie was never.

The last time I looked like this while watching a movie at a movie theater was… never.

Here at Spooky Colorado, we’re interested in more than just haunted houses. We like to get scared any way we can, and that includes the odd horror movie. But I realized something a few years ago – my relationship to horror movies is totally and completely dysfunctional.

The problem is, I’ve never found a movie that scared me, ever. OK, maybe that’s too broad of a statement, because of course I’m susceptible to the odd startle scare just like everyone else. But no movie has ever had me spooked, freaked out, “I’ll-just-sleep-with-the-lights-on-now-or-maybe-not-at-all-ever-again”, wandering around the house with a baseball bat sort of scared. So now, I’m on a quest to change that. And you can help! More details after the jump.

It all started back when I was in college. Well, that’s not true – I suppose it technically started 13.8 billion years ago when the big bang happened. Or in the late 1890s when Georges Méliès made Le Manoir du diable. But for me, it started in college. I was in my second year at DU and my roommates at the time had a wide variety of interests – interest that ranged all the way from partying at sunrise to partying at sunset, as well as occasionally partying at midnight or two AM. So when, in October 2006, they came to me asking if I wanted to go see a movie, I saw it as a rare opportunity. Finally, I thought, a chance to go do something with these people that didn’t end up with someone running to a convenience store for corn nuts.

So, now the question was, what should we see? Infamous? Nah, nobody had the interest. Employee of the Month? Seemed like a stupid movie. The Queen or Marie-Antoinette? I know this is going to come as a shock to a lot of you, but movies about ancient monarchs and the troubles they’d seen didn’t really do it for any of us young college-aged guys. Weird, I know. Well, that left Saw 3.

I hadn’t seen either of the first two Saw movies, but my roommates assured me it didn’t matter, because it’d be easy enough to pick up the main idea. “It’s about a dude who kidnaps people and makes them cut off their own arms,” he said, as his entire roundup of two major blockbuster successes. So we made our way to the theater, but ended up arriving a bit late – one of the guys had insisted on stopping for corn nuts. The previews were over, so we were coming in a few minutes after the movie started, and the theater was packed, leaving only a few seats available to us. So there I sat, front row center, neck craning up to see the picture as Dina Meyer’s ribcage was flayed open like a butterfly’s wings.

Now I want to be clear, this isn’t the first time I’d reacted like this to a horror movie. Like I said, I’ve never had the kind of reaction I’m hoping to achieve. But this was definitely the first time I realized I was abnormal, as I sat there, bunched in with football players and tough guys who squirted liquid machismo from their eye sockets who were all groaning in disgust and turning their faces away from the gore, while I sat there happily munching popcorn and waiting to see what happened next.

That’s not to say that it’s all bad, of course. It’s nice to be able to watch whatever I want to before bed and not have to worry about it, and because I’m not cringing away at all the gross out creepiness, I usually pick up on things that other people don’t in movies like this, which is also fun. But the reason to watch a movie like this is to get scared, and I haven’t had that feeling from something happening on a screen before. I guess it’s just that I always have my disconnect on – this is a movie, it was marketed, posters were drawn, trailers and heart-pounding soundtracks were composed. I just can’t suspend my disbelief enough to start worrying about the monsters under my bed when I get home from the theater.

This isn’t meant as either bragging or as an indictment of the modern horror movie; I’m not reveling in my un-scareableness, I’m just trying to find the movie that transcends it. I want to wet myself in terror, it just hasn’t happened yet. So join me as I take a sampling of scary movies, ranging from disaster flicks to psychological thrillers, from sci-fi stories to police procedurals, from gore-fests to quiet, understated nightmare fuel, I’ll be checking it all out – and hopefully having some fun along the way. But of course, it’ll be much more fun if you go on this journey with me. Feel free to e-mail me your comments, or leave remarks on the blog posts, Facebook, Twitter, or anywhere else you want to talk to us. And best of all, do you think you know a film that’s up to the challenge? Well then, you should visit our contact page and select “Alex’s Un-Scary Movie Challenge” from the dropdown. Send me the title and you just might see it pop up on the blog.

Best of luck!

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