My Three-Week Horror Film Binge: Obsession, Distraction, or Pathology?

(AP Photo/Warner Bros. Entertainment)

All of the above?

At the end of July, I wrote about having recently discovered the streaming service Screambox, which specializes in horror and slasher fare. At that point, I had been binge-watching horror flicks for three or four days. I like to have something on when I’m working, so I can go through a lot of movies or television shows in a short time.

One astute and helpful reader suggested that I also give Shudder a try, which is available through the AMC+ service. I did, and now I have been watching nothing but horror and slasher movies and series for over three weeks. Yes, I have been having a lot of fun, but I wondered what the joy I’ve been receiving from the horror genre says about me.


Like most people, I would watch the occasional horror flick. I am not an afficionado, and, prior to now I don’t think I’d ever watched more than a few horror movies in any given year. I’ve learned a lot in the last few weeks.

I’ve been watching mostly movies and shows from the 21st century. The first thing I learned was that modern scary movie scriptwriters love teenagers as the main characters. That was a problem at first because I get bored with shows or movies about high school kids. I had to dig a little deeper to find movies that centered around grownups, but I figured it out.

The second thing I learned was that misogyny is alive and well in modern horror. Women are mostly either pathetic and helpless, or the embodiment of all evil.

Not unlike what I encounter as a single American male. I’m either opening jars or checking around for hidden icepicks. (As I write this, I’m watching “The Witch in the Window,” so the women are icepick-y.)

The third thing I learned was that no modern horror scriptwriter or director is unwilling to admit he or she has ever seen any of the “Scream” movies. If there’s a poor choice to be made — especially involving a dark basement — the protagonist will leave his or her brain cells at the door and make it. By the way, the basement thing in horror movies has validated my lifelong preference for ranch-style houses.

I mentioned in the Screambox column that I greatly enjoyed the fact that horror movies tend to avoid beating me over the head with 21st-century woke leftist messaging. Yeah, there have been a few irritating things along the way, but it’s nothing compared to the commie talking points minefield one encounters in other genres. This reason, more than anything else, is why I’ve been reluctant to end the streak.

Well, there is also the fact that I’m a little dark. I think feelings are awful. One of the most glorious things about horror flicks is that there isn’t a lot of heartstring-tugging going on. If any characters do get gooey or lovey-dovey in a scary movie, it usually means that they are about to be disemboweled by a cranky underworld demon.

An underworld demon who has no thoughts whatsoever about Pride Month.

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