When I was a kid, my parents didn’t let me watch R-rated movies.
So, of course, that meant I really wanted to watch R-rated movies.
I remember going to a friend’s house for a sleepover, maybe in middle school. All us girls sat in the living room and watched the recently released horror movie Pet Semetary. I was excited to see my first R movie.
And I was terrified. I don’t think any of the other girls were bothered by it like I was. I probably hardly slept that night.
From that time on, I stayed away from horror movies. They scared me way too much. I’m too jumpy and I get too “into” movies when I watch them. When I go to bed, I can’t stop thinking about all the scary things I saw. And my mind spirals out of control until I’ve convinced myself that I heard a noise and someone has broken into my house to kill me.
This doesn’t sound like the confession of a grown adult, does it? You’d think that once you hit 30 you’d stop being scared like a little kid!
This has gone ever further. I remember watching a fight scene in one of the Jason Bourne movies–movies that I enjoyed–and the sound of crunching bones, the blood, the violence–I felt overwhelmed and really wanted it to be over. I still remember the exact moment in the movie theatre when I realized I hated violence. I think I even leaned over to my husband and said, “God, this is so violent!” When did I turn into a grandma?!
And violent, upsetting scenes stay with me. Today, I heard someone mention the movie Full Metal Jacket. The first thing that immediately popped into my mind was the scene where a guy is beaten with a pillowcase of soap. It is burned into my memory. The most upsetting movie scene I’ve ever seen is the horrid, gleeful rape scene in A Clockwork Orange. It scarred my brain…like, traumatized me. Seriously. I will never watch that movie again. Even hearing the title instantly makes me feel unsettled.
When I was younger, this was more of an issue because friends would always want to go see scary movies. They would pressure me to see them and I felt really lame and uncool for saying no. It’s much easier now that I’m older and I can just say, “Sorry, I hate scary movies” or, “I don’t watch horror movies” and I care less what other people think.
You know what drives me nuts? When people say about a movie, “Oh, it’s not that scary!” How does someone know what another person finds traumatizing?? That’s like telling someone that something isn’t spicy. People have drastically different feelings on spiciness! I’m better off avoiding the movie instead of potentially going through the awful feelings I experience from a gory or scary show that will stay with me for a long time.
Like so many other aspects of being highly sensitive, I’ve had to learn to acknowledge, accept, and adjust. Violent/scary movies take me out of the stasis of comfort and peace that I’m always trying to maintain. I know I’m not going to change, and if I hate scary movies, or horror or violent movies, then I just avoid them. It’s not that difficult, it’s just another part of my life that’s a little different than most other people.
Do you hate scary movies, violence and horror? Which movies or TV shows strongly affected you?