Franklin Norton | The Parthenon

Franklin and friends at the opening night of “IT,” in Pullman Plaza.

Franklin Norton

It was a couple of weeks ago, and a friend wanted to see the movie “It” for his birthday. Before this day, I vehemently opposed even the thought of going to see this film, but after peer pressure and a dash of FOMO, I reluctantly agreed to see the movie. A group of us met at the movie theater, and my stomach was in knots. We sat in the dark theater, and I experienced a very stressful two hours, in which I screamed, jumped and covered my eyes–all while providing entertainment to the rest of the movie theatre, as they laughed at my terror.

It’s now October, the spookiest of months, and as people plan for their October festivities, they search for haunts and spooks in the form of haunted houses, horror movies and theme parks. I much prefer the more lighthearted activities of this season: carving pumpkins, making candy apples and jumping in the leaves. However, these fun fall festivities are not everyone’s favorite. Friends invite me to horror movies and haunted festivals, which I happily decline. I have to wonder what it is about the genre of horror that is so appealing.

I started asking around, and the consensus is that nobody really knows. Maybe it’s just the adrenaline rush. Maybe it’s just the opportunity to laugh at your own fear. One friend said scary movies make her less afraid of nursing school. I don’t know if she was kidding.

In a way though, I think she had a point. Sure, adrenaline and good fun are probably the most logical factors, but there may just be something deeper. Is there something about scary movies that allows us to escape the horrors already found in reality? Are they an opportunity for us to laugh at our fears in the comfort of a movie theater seat with a cup holder? Horror allows us to handle fear, but with the ability to walk away from it. We can turn off the TV. We can exit the haunted house. There is, in essence, this ability to have control over our fears that we are not afforded in our lives.

Maybe that’s a stretch, but either way: please don’t invite me to a scary movie.

Franklin Norton can be contacted at [email protected]