I am easily spooked, so it makes absolutely no sense that I love scary books and movies as much as I do. With a book like The Ruins or Heart-Shaped Box, I’ll be curled up in bed (feet covered, because the monsters like toes, don’t you know) until the wee hours, too terrified to turn the page, too terrified not to.
With a scary movie, a really good one like The Others or White Noise 2 (how creepy is EVP? Yikes!), we’ll turn off the lights and curl up together on the sofa, where I’ll spend half the time shrieking at every surprise and the other half covering my eyes.
Here’s the real problem with letting myself get scared – when I get nervous or scared, I have to pee frequently. But because there may potentially be monsters hiding in the bathroom, I can’t go in alone. So when I’m good and terrified, despite the fact that I am thirty-something years old, J.C. has to go into the bathroom first, turn on all the lights, check behind the shower curtain, and then stay in the bathroom while I pee.
And, God love him, he does it.
Why do I do this to myself? Why do we love spooky books and movies – even people like me, who fall apart at the first strains of ominous music?
What is it, exactly, about a good scare?