I loved horror movies back in my youth. I saw them in 3D. I wasn't afraid of Freddie or Jason or Michael Myers. I was jaded, I was invincible and immortal. I was young.
My empathy levels increased when I became a mom, and I have to admit they've grown worse/better/stronger every year. I have trouble suspending my disbelief. It's not just a girl gutted and strung up in a tree, it's someones child. That is without fail the way my mind works now, every time.
"That's someones child."
I lost the ability to look at death as entertainment somewhere along the way, at least horror death. I can still weep over Steel Magnolias as I did with two friends last night. (Well two of use cried and the third wondered why). But Shelby wasn't gutted and draped over a carport. Her death was tragic but it wasn't horror.
I tried to start watching The Walking Dead recently, on my lunch hour. I should've known, in the first few minutes *SPOILERS STOP READING RIGHT NOW* when they shoot the little blonde zombie girl in the head, that this was NOT for me. Tears running down my face at lunch wasn't how I want to spend my lunch time.
I tried a few more episodes, urged on, "It gets better", "Don't worry you won't mind the zombies after a while" and various other things.
But I did mind them. I minded the really over the top gore, which was too graphic for my taste and didn't really speak to any one's great skill at special effects so I didn't see the point. HEY LOOK GUTS. YAY. Not really "lunch time" fare, however. Also, it made me sad. It made me nervous and not in an endorphin rush way. It made me feel unsafe. Conceptually, Walking Dead was proposing a world where being alive meant you now existed on a giant hunting ground called Earth - and you were the game.
After I got to the 4th episode, I found that I couldn't sleep that night. My tension was so bad, I couldn't relax. When I did nod off it was into the world of Atlanta over run by Walkers and no where was safe. My children weren't safe. Nothing was safe. I couldn't relax I couldn't sleep.
I know it's lame, I should know fantasy from reality but I don't know if I want to feel comfortable with that kind of fear and terror. Do I want to be ok with looking horror right in the face and not flinching? To be numb to it? Is it really ok to desensitize myself to that much violence and gore? I'm not sure. I just know it impacted me a lot. I love Tarantino - so what's the difference? I guess because I didn't get a 30 second close up of Marvin's brains all over the back seat. Maybe that's the difference.
My other thought is, and it's just a thought, but as they say in Game of Thrones "The Night Is Dark and Full of Terrors" is true. It's actually really true, in real life.
I don't need made up horror. If I want to dive into horror, I'll just watch the damn evening news.