I grew up watching horror movies from a young age. Always favouring to watch them home alone with the curtains open and the doors unlocked. Sure, it was the early nineties and parents didn't give a shit so this isn't a big revelation but it's big to me because they helped me escape.
They made me feel less tortured. Less alone. Happier that I wasn't alone in my pain. I wasn't the only one being abused.
It was also an escapist fantasy - something I could zone out with. They still are. When I have had a horrible day. When work is shit. When my child is in a bad mood or, more often than not, I have done something to piss her off. When my Husband can't educate himself on what needs to be done in the house he lives in.
Horror movies make me feel better.
Do I like to watch people in pain?
I like to think the traumatised horror movie lovers like me find comfort in movies like these because they are, in fact, comforting. They make us feel safe. I didn't have any control over the scary parts of my life. My childhood. My workplace. But I do have control over the movies I watch. There's safety there.
We also get to feel scared in a safe space. For me, that's in bed, often, and most preferably, in a deserted and dark air conditioned house. Even though the movie is scary - or has gory themes - there's safety there and the more I rewatch my favourites the safer I feel.
There's a physical thrill there, a way to work through my stress in a way I know won't harm me. I get to release all of those feelings - that heart thumping if it's actually truly scary (so rare) and that pure adrenaline rush - in a way that may seem a tad unorthodox but is one that has become one of my favourite coping strategies.