This is NOT going to be an article that relishes in the opportunity to put a demonic clown photo in between paragraphs. Below is a photo of an empty movie theater: a nostalgic and welcoming environment for the whole family. Continue to scroll freely. Mild spoilers for the movie “It” ahead.
My older brother, an emblematic Aquarius, introduced me to horror movies at a young age, albeit unintentionally. The first movie to keep me up at night was The Curse of the Black Pearl, from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. I see now that the most terrifying element of that movie was how it taught people to pronounce ‘Caribbean.’ But at the time, I pictured the molting remains of a pirate lurking under my bed at night. After recovering from that bone-chilling flick, I followed it up with Dawn of the Dead. Thereafter, I caught furtive glimpses of The Ring under the guise of retrieving a mid-night snack.
Here I faced a dilemma: I wanted to perform coolness and maturity by weathering the world’s terrors without flinching. However, these movies were undoubtedly fucking me up. At night, in the sleepy hours freed by my most recent scare, I brainstormed strategies for curbing my fears. From the library, I borrowed the Goosebumps series, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, and other tales. I thought repeated exposure would acclimate me to the structure of the genre, so I could predict the patterns of things that go bump in the night.
Over a decade later, and I’m still working on that strategy. My brother and I convene for the occasional horror flick that falls within the range of things scary enough for him and not too scary for me.