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Is watching horror movies enjoyable?

Is watching horror movies enjoyable?
Aiza Nasir Khan and Faisal Hashmi

UAE's influencers voice their opinions

Published: Thu 31 Oct 2019, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Fri 8 Nov 2019, 12:03 PM

Back in university, when I was living in the dorms, a new kind of horror movie called The Ring was released. You know, the one with the little girl, with long scraggly hair, coming out of the TV set. Since it was being hailed as the movie to watch, my friends and I had to go see it. Then began some of the most anxiety-ridden weeks of my life - I dreaded being alone at night. I was usually alright during the day but, come nightfall, when everyone was fast asleep in their rooms, going to the restroom became a fearful endeavour. I would imagine the girl coming out of a stall or seeing her in the mirror while I washed my face. That movie set the tone - I never wanted to watch horror movies ever again.
It's not just that I get scared out of my mind when I see them, it's the unnecessary anxiety they create, or the weird scenarios you start imagining in your head. In my opinion, why put yourself through all this angst by occupying your mind with horror, when you can use your time doing more productive things?
Shouldn't entertainment be about bringing joy and relaxation to oneself rather than further stress? Life is so fast-paced and filled with responsibilities that, at the end of the day, all I want to do is have a moment of laughter or watch a lighthearted movie.
My fear worsened when I became a mother. I  found that I  just could not tolerate anything bad happening to mothers or kids on screen - my unease peaks and I am left with a bad feeling.
For me, horror movies are a big no. I prefer my entertainment light and uplifting, so I can maintain my mental peace, unaffected by things that bring no value to me.
(Aiza Nasir Khan is a content creator, working mother and influencer. Keep up with her on Instagram @sushiandsandals)

What's not to love about horror movies? The number one argument I've heard from people who don't like them is that they're too scary. Well, congratulations. They're doing what they were created to do,  making them successful! For me, there are many reasons as to why horror has withstood the test of time as the most reliable genre.
For starters, while genres like comedy can get lost in translation due to cultural differences, fear is universal. We are all afraid of the same innate things. A good Japanese horror film will scare you but a Japanese comedy may not make you laugh.
Secondly, a horror film is like a rollercoaster. You can experience the thrill of being haunted or chased by a killer, all in the comfort of your own home or cinema, knowing you're safe. It's the perfect escape.
Finally, good horror films are a product of their time. Whether it's Get Out speaking about race in America or The Thing dealing with Cold War paranoia, great horror films comment on bold themes but within the lens of an accessible, entertaining film genre. Some portray more personal themes like grief (The Babadook), loss (Hereditary) and childbirth (Rosemary's Baby). As a horror filmmaker, it's exciting to work in a genre so freeing, that has the power to connect with audiences worldwide. There's no better feeling than watching the audience scream at the moments you want them to.  So, relax and let yourself enjoy the monsters on screen - whether they're internal, world commentary, or just plain old zombies!
(Faisal Hashmi is a director and content creator. Follow him at www.faisalhashmi.com or on Twitter @FaisalHashmi or Instagram @faisalhashmifilm)

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