It’s 3 a.m. and I’m wide awake. Every light in my apartment is on and my hands are shaking. The only thing keeping me sane is a rerun of “Family Guy” playing on my television, which I have turned up to a truly alarming rate, and I can’t stop checking over my shoulder. You’d think I’d just been terrorized by a real-life situation. Perhaps I was just mugged on the street. Maybe I was just the victim of a home invasion. It is also very possible that I just watched the pilot of “American Horror Story” on FX. What else could make a perfectly sane individual this scared?
I went and saw “Paranormal Activity 3” tonight and it was the worst mistake I’ve made in recent months. I knew it would scare me. As I sat in the packed theater before it started I was already psyching myself out, just reminding myself how scared I was after the first one, but for some reason I stayed. I sat in that theater for all 86 minutes of the most realistic scare I’ve ever experienced and now I am sitting here, still too afraid to get up to do anything. I’m almost too afraid to breathe. That’s how scared I am.
As Halloween is here, I think about all the things we do this time of year just to scare ourselves. One year, I watched “Saw” in my friend’s garage with all the lights off. What part of that sounds like a good idea? “Hey guys, let’s sit in a really cold, totally creepy room that is poorly insulated and huddle around a small television and watch a scary movie!” Why did we all agree to it?
Of course, one of my friends slipped out unnoticed in the middle of the movie, went outside and threw a basketball against the garage door and completely scared all of us out of our minds, but at that point, by putting ourselves in that situation, we were totally asking for it.
Another year, I walked to a haunted house someone from my high school put together. We heard it was the scariest one in town and when we turned the corner onto his street, the line spanned the entire block. It had to be good to warrant a showing this big. Luckily, the friends I was with knew the guy who put it on and we skipped the line and walked through the horrifying maze with him. He led us through his house and made it so we missed everything that jumped out, but he couldn’t save us from the last part. Right when we thought we were home free, and the sidewalk full of people was right in front of us, the door of a refrigerator that I didn’t notice out of the corner of my eye opened slowly and a man dressed in all black with a fake knife started charging at us.
I am not a runner. But I channeled my inner Forrest Gump and booked it like it was my job, all the way to the sidewalk.
Obviously I scare easily. When I was little, my older brother used to hide behind objects and jump out, scaring me to tears. Constant fear of the unknown behind my bathroom door was instilled in me from a very young age, so you can’t really blame me for being such a chicken.
But that never stopped me from wanting to be scared. Any time a truly scary movie comes out, I always end up watching it. My best friend and I went and saw “The Strangers” when it was in theaters. He and I have been friends our entire lives and the only time he has ever been mad at me was while we were sitting in that theater and I was clutching his hand and whimpering like a baby because I was so terrified. Twenty-one years of friendship and that is the most annoyed he has ever been with me.
When I was 13, my dad took me to see a French horror movie called “High Tension.” That movie hatched the most brutal, relentless and never-ending chainsaw sequence I have ever witnessed in my entire life. I slept with the lights on for a week.
I must be some sort of masochist. Last year I even found a countdown on bloodydisgusting.com of the 25 best horror movies of the decade and watched them all, from 25 to one, just for fun. Clearly I am burdened beyond reasonable explanation by stupid made-up movies people such as Eli Roth and crazy French directors put together. But apparently I will never learn my lesson because here I am watching happy late-night programming to keep myself from going to sleep. What is it going to take for me to finally realize that seeing these movies causes me nothing but stress, sleepless nights and countless years taken off my life from pure and torturous anxiety?
Despite being too afraid to bend down over my sink and wash the makeup off my face before I go to sleep, (obviously for fear that when I come back up and look in the mirror, the girl from “The Ring” will be right next to me), I will always be ready and willing to get the pants scared off of me, or, more poignantly, the shoes scared off of me. That actually happened during “Paranormal Activity 3.” I got so scared at one part during the movie I lost my shoe into the aisle next to me.
Maybe I need a real-life horrifying situation to put this all into perspective and make me realize that real life (midterms, taxes, in-laws) is way scarier than some stupid movie about ghosts. But for now, “Family Guy” … lots and lots of “Family Guy.”
-Hayley Rafner is a journalism junior.