Jonas Doerr – Opinions Columnist
The truck stops running. The teens pile out, wondering what’s wrong. They’re out of gas and have to walk to a dark, candlelit farmhouse. Suddenly, a chainsaw revs up. The teens scream and scatter into the woods!
Sometimes I wonder why people watch horror movies. The plots are sometimes predictable, they can be gross, and we all get enough horror already when we check Moodle for assignments. But whether we realize it or not, there’s one strong reason to see the scary stuff. It makes us better students.
For some, horror movies might seem mild. That’s because many students could get more frightened by checking their calendars, filled with nothing but meetings after practice after class. It would seem that people have enough stress already without subjecting themselves to an adrenaline-boosting movie.
And yet it’s not just in movies that students willingly stress themselves out. While sometimes there is no other choice, many students wait until the last minute to do assignments. Yes. They procrastinate.
After your heart stops racing from thinking about the paper that’s due this weekend, consider this: students choose to stress themselves out. Some say, “I work better under pressure,” and enjoy the thrill of squeezing out words at 11:58 p.m. How does this make any sense? Isn’t school stressful enough already?
But students get the same adrenaline rush from watching horror movies. One of the best parts of a horror movie, other than seeing your faint-hearted friend shake in terror, is the boost of excitement it forces a person into. When that silly dude decides to go take a leak in the woods by himself and gets shanked by a masked monster, the hormones spike.
Of course, no one would want to be there in the woods watching their bud get stabbed. The fact that you have chosen to watch the movie gives you control over the situation and makes it enjoyable instead of traumatizing. When your pulse finally slows down, you look back and think, that was great!
Or you hallucinate clowns in every dark corner, but that’s life.
While this might seem to have nothing in common with school, it’s actually training for some of the most intense rigors of academia. First off, watching horror movies helps students procrastinate.
For some people, the hardest part of watching a scary movie is not peeing their pants in terror. This requires a heroic act of willpower and clenching during the most frightening moments. When trying to bust out a physics assignment the Chapel Break before it’s due, it can be almost as intense as the climactic jump scare. The willpower practiced in not peeing one’s pants is now employed to keep a calm mindset when calculating the force of gravity.
Tests are an even better application of one’s horror movie skills. Is that No. 2 pencil shaking in your hand that different from your twitching when the monster slowly creeps up on the heroine? If you can avoid screaming like a child after a jump scare then you can stay relaxed during an exam. Trying to stay cool during horror movies will help you stay chill during tests.
Another key feature of watching a horror movie is moaning inwardly about how stupid the main characters are. Everyone knows not to split up, but they always do it anyway! This analytical judging comes in very handy as a student.
Every student has at least one friend that needs some advice to straighten out their lives. In most cases, they don’t know what’s best for them, but you do. And thanks to all your horror movie consumption, you’ve been practicing on how to deliver this obvious wisdom for a long time.
Of course, they probably won’t take your expert advice. They’ll keep on going as they always have. But yet again, horror movies have prepared you for this. The doofuses on the big screen never heed your genius, so you have become calloused to being ignored. When your friend is chainsawed in the shower as the ceiling falls on them or worse, you can say, “I knew it!”
Perhaps you have up until now considered horror movies a no-go. Perhaps you have thought, “Why does my life need any more excitement?” Perhaps you have wondered, “Why hasn’t anyone made a feature film about Gus going rabid while the chicken strips run out and the Bjorling wasps unionize?”
The answer to the last concern is that it would be too freaky, but since that movie does not exist, don’t be afraid. You can handle horror movies. You’ll become calmer throughout all the stresses of student life. Madness is a kind of peace, after all.