Horror movies have a charm of their own. They are one of the most watched genres within the realm of cinema and are definitely ahead of the now redundant romantic comedies and the overcrowded mindless potboiler action flicks. Horror films have undergone drastic changes since its inception right at the start of motion pictures movement. There are many sub genres under the much beloved genre of horror such as action horror, body horror, comedy horror, gothic horror, psychological horror, sci-fi horror and the immensely popular Slasher and Zombie flicks. All these sub genres are only adding to the appeal and timelessness of horror movies and making sure the ever changing taste of the viewers don’t shun them anytime soon.
Earlier horror film-makers were considered as B grade entertainers who sold tickets by resorting to cheap thrills but with the entry of award winning film makers into the field of horror even film festivals have begun to them seriously. Sofia Coppola recently won the best director award at the Cannes Film Festival for her ‘feminist’ horror cum thriller extravaganza ‘The Beguiled’. It has already been predicted by critics as an Oscar contender for next year. The list below is an attempt to guide you to how to best enjoy a horror movie at your home or at a movie theatre.
10. Start with the Basic One
If you are fascinated by the horror genre but haven’t watched many horror films except the few odd ones regularly shown on TV then it is advisable to always start watching with the less complicated ones (like ‘The Ring’ or ‘The Others’). It will help you to get going at a steady pace and will enable you to understand the basic premise of a horror set up. Slowly and steadily you can graduate to the more complex ones having multiple layers and shades in their story-line to add to your list of watching and also evolving as a person who knows how to read a movie. In this way you will even get an idea of your own likes and dislikes as to which sub genres of horror are you more inclined to.
9. Watch at Night for Maximum Effect
It’s a no brainer. Fear works its magic, best at night. I recommend you to switch off the lights, close the doors and keep a bottle of water ready to so that you don’t get up mid way to quench your thirst. The silence of the night will amplify your imagination and double up your fear, which are why you watch a horror movie to begin with; to cater to your inner fears and beliefs which you don’t get a chance to be in touch with on a daily basis. Oh and by the way keep a hand torch or your phone nearby because if the electricity is suddenly cut off you don’t want to have a minor heart attack in the middle of the night and that too for a silly reason like watching a horror movie.
8. Watch it at a Theatre Near You
Just like movies of any other genre, horror movies too are best enjoyed inside the ambience of multiplex theatres which are generally equipped with state of the art high definition sound systems. Also watching with a lot of people increases the fun and decreases your chances of being overwhelmed or over affected by a particularly scary scene as you will share your fear with everyone inside the theatre. Let’s just say that the fear becomes bearable and less traumatizing when watched with a room full of people.
7. Watch it with Company
If you are planning a horror movie marathon or to catch up on the one you have been meaning to do for the longest time, it’s always more fun to watch it with your group of friends or your sibling. Not all but a few horror movies are enjoyed best in the presence of company. For instance the inimitable combination of comedy and horror (Evil Dead 2) is always a winner and perfect for group viewing.
6. Get Comfortable Before Watching at Home
By comfortable I mean find yourself a relaxing sitting or lay down position. If you like watching from your bed wrapped in sheets then it’s even better. There is nothing like watching a horror movie amidst the luxury of comfort of your home.
5. Avoid Spoilers
In order to fully enjoy the process of watching a horror movie you need to avoid any kind of spoilers in the form of reviews or via your motor mouth friend who has watched a particular movie before you and now can’t keep his mouth shut. Horror movies are not much different from thrillers or whodunit flicks. Once the mystery is out, the magic fades away. Only a handful of movies are worth sitting through or have repeat value even after knowing the outcome. But your regular horror flicks loses the novelty once the secret is out. Most of us have this unavoidable habit of checking the Wikipedia or IMDB page before watching an old horror flick but it is not recommended. It might work for some as they insist on knowing how the story unfolds before even watching it but I personally steer clear of spoilers. The only thing I need to know before watching a film is the basic premise and sometimes the star cast. It’s always better to be surprised during the movie then already knowing before hand as to what will happen next.
4. Choose and Pick Properly
Whether you are planning to watch a movie at home or at a theatre it will be helpful to know a little bit about the movie you are going to watch. Horror as a genre of cinema has many sub genres within it like psychological horror, reality based horror, horror docu-drama to name a few. And some of them might not appeal to all kind of viewers. So instead of regretting your decision after you have already booked your tickets, it’s better to play safe by doing a background check on the movie you are about to see.
3. Horror Doesn’t Necessarily Means Ghost
Traditionally horror is associated with the fear of the unknown and the super natural which in lay man’s language is called ghosts or evil spirits of the dead. The concept of making horror films initially began with that philosophy in mind but with changing times the definition of horror has also changed. So the next time when you browse for horror movies don’t limit yourself to ghosts and witches of yore. Take help of the internet and your movie buff friend to recommend you some appropriate titles. For example, ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ is a horror movie but it’s not about ghosts.
2. Use Headphones
Headphones are not just a tool avoid being caught by your parents when you are watching a late night movie while pretending to be sleeping or studying. Using them will enrich your movie watching experience and they are particularly more beneficial while watching a horror movie as you get a loud and clear access to the various sounds and eerie background scores used in the film to maximize the effect of fear. At some point if it gets too much then just remove your pair of headphones for a while and put them on back on when things get a bit slow in the movie.
1. Watch it After a Hard Days’ Work
This might sound a bit insane but you don’t have to necessarily waste your precious time while watching a horror movie when you can do it at odd hours of the day like just before going to bed or coming back from your daily job. Believe me it works because horror movies are inherently very engaging and subconsciously forces you to be fully engaged in the narrative. So there is no question of dozing off while watching the movie. And most horror movies don’t require you to invest emotionally in the story and characters so it is easy on your mind and eyes.
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