What is Your Movie Scare Tolerance?
Halloween is almost upon us, and that means Netflix’s horror section is getting quite the workout. While nearly everyone gets into the holiday spirit on some level, I know my scare tolerance is relatively low, particularly when it comes to movies about possession. The most harrowing thing I’ve ever done in my life is sit through a screening of The Exorcist in college, and this is coming from someone who once accidentally touched a snake, so you know I’ve seen things. But we’re all different, some of us still find that one scene in The Witches where all the women in the coven show their true form the scariest of scary movie moments, while others watch Saw and shrug.
Below, I’ve concocted a Movie Scare-O-Meter, check out each category and let me know which one you fall into:
Examples: The Witches, The Last Unicorn, Fantasia, Coraline, The Corpse Bride, Hocus Pocus
There is no shame in having your scare tolerance fall in the kiddie level. Kid’s movies can be very disturbing, often more so for the adults than they are for the kids. Movies like Coraline which revolves around a child disappearing and being held captive by a deranged and deadly monster plays into adult fears while giving children nothing more than passing goosebumps.
Scary movies aimed at the tween set tend to be my Halloween treat of choice, they’re just spooky enough to give me the shivers without keeping me up for days on end.
Examples: Poltergeist, The Haunting, The Others, The Sixth Sense, Paranormal Activity (yes, it was rated R, but that was for language more than content)
Notice, PG-13 horror movies tend to revolve around ghosts. They can be downright terrifying (The Ring), but their scares come from establishing mood over the course of the movie before pouncing on you with that one blood curdling moment of horror. Personally, I have a 50/50 chance of watching PG-13 horror films– for instance, Poltergeist is on my all-time favorite movies list, but I won’t watch it alone.
For the most part, these are films that almost everyone can turn to for a reliable jolt of fear…as long as they use the buddy system.
Examples: Night of the Living Dead, The Exorcist, Rosemary’s Baby, The Bad Seed, Psycho, The Innocents
They’re called classics for a reason. Yes, some old school horror movies are cheesefests, but most of them are top tier, nightmare-inducing masterpieces. The ones I mentioned above are just for starters, check out The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Carnival of Souls or M and then try to fall asleep at night.
The classic horror films get under your skin like nothing else can. If you’ve only ever watched modern horror movies, try one out this Halloween, but don’t be surprised if the terror stays with you long after the movie ends.
Examples: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Saw, Child’s Play (look that doll was messed up, okay?), Hellraiser, Human Centipede…everything in the torture porn genre
I tip my hat to those of you who can handle the films in this category and then I’m going to back away slowly. Hardcore horror tends to involve dismemberment, depravity and the kind of images that can scar a person for life. Only the true thrill-chasers and horror junkies can handle these suckers. We mere humans tend to be shocked, appalled and unable to get past the opening credits.
I’ve seen exactly one movie on the list and I’m sure the parenthetical gave it away, but there are surely dozens I left off simply because I’m too much of a wuss to contemplate their existence. If this is your level, I imagine Halloween is like your Christmas. Enjoy the mayhem, friends, I’ll be back at the top watching Hocus Pocus if anyone needs me.
Share your scare tolerance in the comments and if you’re up for it, tell us how you discovered your fright limit.
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