October is a very divisive month: to scary movie, or not to scary movie. Some people just don’t tolerate horror very well, but it’s hard to avoid this time of year. So for those of you who would otherwise spend the whole time breathing noisily while staring at your shoes, may I suggest:
1.Stress eat. Forgo the popcorn, that’s too easy to eat mindlessly. You need something to really sink your teeth into. Try veggies and humus, that’s a little more difficult to navigate, and will give you something to focus on. Or a cheese ball with crackers, so long as the crackers are tough enough to withstand your anxious spreading maneuvers.
2. Pour yourself a generous rum & Diet Pepsi. The rum will slowly relax you, and the caffeine will make your bladder spastic – bathroom breaks are a great excuse to avoid a particularly gruesome scene. While on a fake bathroom break, use your phone to look up cute pictures of puppies getting into trouble.
3. Play a game for distraction. I find that Simpsons Tapped Out works best, and they’ve got a lovely Halloween event on now where you can tap zombies, snakes and skeletons for rewards. Plants VS Zombies has also worked for me. What’s key is picking a game that you can play quietly, and where you can afford quick, furtive glances up at the screen to see if they’re still getting murdered as fuck up there.
4. Sing a little song to yourself. Or sing a loud song to everyone. Why can’t the Saw franchise be a musical? Narrate what’s happening on screen in your best opereto.
5. Watch the movie as if you’re the editor and it’s your job to find all the mistakes. The more low-budget this horror is, the more you’ll find.
For instance, in the movie Halloween, when Michael attacks the nurse outside the sanitorium, he smashes through her car window. If you watch carefully, you can see a little wrench taped to his glove, which allowed the actor to easily break the glass.
In Dawn of the Dead, a zombie gets hit by a truck and goes flying, but astute viewers can pick out the mini trampoline that helped create the effect – boiiiiiiiiing! See? Not scary! He’s just a grown man in a silly costume jumping on a too-small trampoline, and failing to hide it from you.
6. Think about the makeup lady who’s just out of shot right now, waiting on set to touch up the blood or bits of brain. She’s got a little toolbox full of bloody cotton balls and bone fragments she made out of styrofoam last night while watching reruns of Seinfeld and smoking unfiltered cigarettes. She’s forgetful, this makeup lady, so if you pay close attention, you’ll often see that a slash to the right cheek becomes a slash to the left, and then flips back again. Now imagine the director yelling cut, and this poor fool trying to order a Whopper at Burger King with this hideous makeup. Do you think he wants fries with that? Or imagine, if you will, a small child visiting Mum on set between takes, and licking the blood right off her neck, because that shit’s almost pure corn syrup. Someone’s going to have to clean this mess up afterward, and be grateful it’s not you.
There are plenty of makeup mistakes to spot here as well. In The Exorcist, you may find that the little girl shakes her head back and forth a lot while she’s possessed, poor thing, but this causes her hair to move and expose her pretty pink ear lobes – oops! Guess the makeup team didn’t think we’d see them. They remain unpainted, and apparently, unpossessed.
7. Protect your face. Something feeling scary? Put your hands to your face, shield your eyes, then spread your fingers ever-so-slightly. Not too much. Just let in a little light. Feeling okay? Spread em a little wider. Can you see glimpses of the screen? It’s much more manageable this way. You can probably find at least one small section of a body that’s not currently getting ax-murdered. Fixate on that. Foreboding music starting to build? Slam those fingers shut again!
8. Do a project. Have a colouring book on the go, or do some ironing. I like to give Sean back massages, because it keeps my brain half-occupied and also, he’s much bigger than me, and blocks my view. If you’re actually at the theatre, see how many times you can fold a paper napkin from the concession stand, or count the seconds between screams. Anything for distraction!
9. Have a therapy dog on hand. A small dog who will cuddle works best. A small dog who can hold your hand on command is even better. Remember: nothing bad can happen if a puppy is kissing your ear.
10. If all else fails, remember that no matter how many bite-sized pieces she’s currently getting chopped into, this actress makes it. Eventually she left work for the day. She had to shampoo her hair twice to get all the sticky fake blood out. She went shopping for Monistat to treat her yeast infection. She stalked her ex-boyfriend on Facebook. And then she stood naked in front of a mirror wondering where she went wrong in life.
So that’s how you watch a movie like a wuss. It’s not pretty but it gets the job done. How about you – are you blood-lusty, or do you whimper your way through? What techniques work for you?