My longstanding friend Phlegmmy posted an article on her blog today about a horror movie. She said, at one point:
I think if you are a horror film fan and/or 70s cinema in general, you should definitely watch Suspiria at least once. As for the gore-level, there were a few truly grisly scenes, but I also saw the film described as having one of the most gruesome murder scenes in all of film and I have to say that whoever said that had clearly not seen Hostel. I think this film is a bit of a missing link between the churning, burning suspense and angst of the (beloved!) Hammer Films era to that of the modern horror fest.
There's more at the link.
That started me thinking . . . rather sadly, at that. You see, I can't watch a horror movie. Any horror movie. I literally have to get up and walk out, rather than sit there and endure it. Oh, I can enjoy 'spoof' horror movies like Young Frankenstein, Love At First Bite or The Rocky Horror Picture Show; but there one knows the 'horror' is intended for humorous rather than hideous effect.
I think it stems from my many years of exposure to civil strife in South Africa, from the Soweto uprisings of 1976 to the advent of democracy and the end of apartheid in 1994, plus similar horrors in a few other African nations. To give you just one example, there's a Pulitzer-prize-winning photograph by Greg Marinovich titled 'Lindsaye Tshabalala’s Fiery Death'. I'm not going to reproduce it here - it's far too gruesome for that! - but if you have the stomach for it, click on that link to see the picture. Be warned; you're looking at a man dying one of the most agonizing deaths I can imagine! It's not for the faint-hearted.
I was there that day. I saw Lindsaye Tshabalala's body. Worse than the sight, I smelt his body. Imagine a combination of gasoline, badly burnt pork, voided bowels, and burning car tires. Those were the odors there, that day. I smelt them many times during the years of violence, and I've never forgotten them. In fact, right now, sitting in front of my computer and typing these words, I can't get the stench out of my nostrils.
That was one of Heaven knows how many incidents like that over eighteen years. I lost count of them . . . the number of dead bodies, the hideous ways they died, the shattering effects of their deaths on their survivors. On more than a few occasions, I came close to dying like that myself, and I bear the scars of some of those encounters to this day.
That's why I can't watch horror movies. I've experienced horror too often. In fact, I don't understand how long-serving EMS personnel, or police, or military veterans, can watch it either. Surely they've seen the same things I have? Am I just weird, that such sights have affected me in this way? Are others more psychologically balanced, that they're able to put aside what they've seen and experienced, and watch a horror movie as simple entertainment, rather than a reminder of the reality of what horror really is?
I'd like to hear from readers in this regard, particularly those of you who've 'been there and done that'. How do you manage to deal with this sort of thing?