Between family gatherings and forcing myself to be social now my sister is home for two weeks I found myself watching a scary film. Now, by scary I am talking pretty low on the scary scale, because anything more than a few ‘boos’ and I am shaking in the corner with fear. Tip: should you be short-sighted, you can take your glasses off during a scary film and then all you have to contend with is the noise. (The film was The Haunting if you’re interested. It made me scream in the cinema when I was 13, so I thought, hey, why not revisit that embarrassing moment from my past.) Normally I would refuse to watch any scary film that isn’t viewed in the company of friends, but even then I tend to strongly object. To give you some context, I had to cover my eyes during The Woman in Black.
I don’t read horror, I read The Rats once and while disgusting it didn’t scare me as much as it made me nauseous. I’ve read The Woman in Black, which – thankfully – didn’t affect me in the same way as the film. Not just because attempting to read with a cardigan over your eyes is counter-intuitive.
I don’t have an interest in scary books, because none seem to frighten me.
I have wondered if my imagination stops me before I can picture the worst, which considering my anxiety issues would be ironic. Or perhaps I don’t have the power of rich imagination. Films give me my fears – and things I never thought about fearing – on a platter, gore and all. I don’t need to think or imagine, there they are in high definition Technicolor. Accompanied by fearsome tones composed to elicit negative emotions. I can curb these visuals in books, the zombie is slower, the evil painting less haggard – I can protect myself from being scared. I am in control of the fear.
I wish I could open the floodgates to this literal fear, face it and conquer it. Mayhaps with enough practise I can.
Can you recommend me a literary horror that will both scare me and impress me?
P.s. No Stephen King please, his prose and I do not get on.
Image by Sean O’Shaughnessy