This post was actually written for Halloween, but it got lost along the way...
I love stories full of drama and tragedy; heroes defying all odds and saving their loved ones, or failing and dying gruesome deaths. I love the creepy, bloody, inventive ways to die and I can pretty much deal with anything on screen as long as it is not a bug. That I can't deal with.
Oh my god this looks exactly like a nightmare I had as a kid: running away from dinosaurs and big vehicles.
It's completely bizarre that I appreciate macabre and gore in fiction considering my intense dislike (okay okay, fear) of this stuff in person.
I do not go into hospitals if I can help it. I hate sickness and they terrify me. I feel like germs are everywhere and crawling all over me. I genuinely feel like I'm suffocating a little there.
If you get hurt, I am the last person you will want to seek for aid. When my little sister's tooth was extremely wobbly and bloody, she asked me to look at it and pull it out. I hid my face in my hands and refused to look, and eventually she pulled her own tooth out herself. This is astonishing to me because I would throw enormous tantrums and fits and refused to let anyone touch me teeth when I was losing them.
In movies, I laugh when the monster is gobbling someone else. In real life, I can't look at my mom getting a flu shot because I will freak out.
And when it comes to bugs I am hopeless. I will scream and rub away. I used to dream of livng in New York and then I learned there are cockroaches there and now I've decided my dream is to live on top of a mountain in BC.
Somehow though, these petty fears don't translate to fiction. I know what's happening on screen is fake and that's apparently all the difference. I can watch explosions and almost anything on TV, whereas my tolerance in RL is minimal.
Watching these gross things also helps put some things into perspective. I've already alluded to being terrified of needles and a very, uh, determined child. I would fight getting a shot with everything I had until I started trying to conquer my fears (or at least stop being hopelessly embarrassing). I did that thanks to things like Harry Potter.
Every time I had to (who am I kidding? I still do this) do something that scares me, I put it into perspective by comparing my upcoming horror to the obstacles heroes face. Like, what's a flu shot compared to a basilisk? What's a bug compared to a massive Leviathon? What's a lightning storm compared to the light slowly and surely being sucked away until nothing but darkness is left? It's nothing, so suck it up!
Horror helps me feel brave when I'm actually a wimp. It forces me to see some things I rather wouldn't. It makes me experience awful situations, and realize that there's a way to be brave and come out alive. That's why I love it, even if it is ridiculous and cheesy.