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Can Horror Films Be Bad for You?

Too many horror films can have a bad affect on the ability to sleep. I describe some of the ones that have had the most impact on me recently here.

The case of too many horror films, too little sleep

Don’t get me wrong, I can be brave when I have to. But lately, well, I just haven’t been able to sleep. At every little creak, every little bump, I sit up in terror, fearing the worst (hordes of the undead perhaps, or maybe just a maniac wielding a chainsaw). Sometimes it can take me until 3am to drop off, clutching a baseball bat tightly and hiding under the covers.

I suppose, if I was a kid, this kind of behaviour would be perfectly normal. And I’m not a kid, but it is perfectly normal- for someone who watches far too many horror films. When I was little, my mother, knowing my somewhat jittery disposition, didn’t allow me to see any films remotely scary. So I didn’t even watch “Drop Dead Fred” until I was 15!. That was a film that my peers were all obsessed with at the time: it involved an irritating imaginary friend causing havoc for the girl who imagined him. Luckily, I never had a malignant ginger doll, like Chucky, in “Child”s Play.

Most evenings, I’ll be sitting in a darkened room, sometimes with friends, sometimes alone. There’ll be a horror movie in the DVD player, and even the odd shriek if there’s a shocking moment. A couple of days ago, I watched “Audition”, in which a lonely widower takes on more than he bargained for when picking up women via an audition system. The girl he succeeds in pulling is beautiful and cute, so it comes as a terrible shock when we realise she’s a deranged murderer, and what she keeps in that sack. That night, I dreamt of rolling sacks.

At the time, I enjoy the thrills and the scares, and climb up to bed contented that I’ve watched a good film. But not long after I’ve switched off the light and closed my eyes, I start to imagine I can hear the moaning of a ghost, the groaning of a zombie or the harsh scream of a chainsaw, (I really did hear a chainsaw the other night, and I’m not quite sure why someone was chopping up bodies- ahem, I mean trees, at 2am, but there you go).

Currently, one of the main horrific foes I fear is the zombie. This is because I have recently been rectifying a deficit in my life of zombie films, and have been watching all the classics, sometimes several a night. At first, I lay curled in bed at night, wondering how on earth I would be able to stave off the zombs, but soon, I started formulating plans, and weighing them up in my mind: should I hide in the house, but destroy the stairs so they couldn’t climb up to me? Or just find a shack in the woods? Shacks always seem to prove fatal, though (see “Evil Dead”, and “Night of the Living Dead”.) Or should I move in to the nearest supermarket or shopping centre? At least there would be plenty of food for me to eat, but it could all go horribly wrong when the looters arrived on their motorbikes (’Dawn of the Dead’). A better option might be to find a well-defended castle and hole up in there. I’d just have to hope the zombies would eventually fall to bits.

Of course, in the event of a virus that causes widespread anger-management problems, like in “28 Days Later”, the zombies wouldn’t be the only ones with serious issues. Fast moving monsters like these would surely be too quick for me. Similarly, the creatures in the remake of “Day of the Dead” are just too fast for their own good. At least with the traditional shambling undead, if I just walked at a fast pace, I could still leave them behind.


Even when sprinting, at least zombies aren’t too bright. Even a 2 year old could outwit most examples. Vampires are a far more dangerous form of the undead, with the intelligence to hunt their victims down.

It seems that whichever horrible monster attacks me, I won’t know what to do. There doesn’t really seem to be a solution, so here I wait, at the top of the stairs, clutching my broken chair leg. Waiting for them to come.

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