Friday, April 9, 2010

Scary books scare me

I recognize that the title of this post is a tautology, but it's true. Even if that isn't the point of a book, even if it's a book about something else entirely that contains a scary event, it scares me. It makes me feel tense and worried.

I don't do well with scary movies, either. Or scary TV shows. I watch 24 with Torsten, and I enjoy most of it, but at parts I have to look away, and afterward sometimes I feel stressed and nervous.

I think the parts that bother me are the moments of suspense. I don't like it when Jack Bauer is creeping around a room looking for something and the music is suspenseful and I know he's going to get jumped at any second. I don't like it when the innocent main character is hanging out with someone we think she trusts, and she thinks we trust, and then we find out we can't trust anybody.

I don't mind explosions and gunfights and special effects. I just don't like scary silent parts when you know something's coming and you don't know what.

I guess this fits in with the fact that I generally do not like surprises, and you can psychoanalyze it all you want and tell me I'm a control freak or whatever you want. But really I just don't like being shocked. And I don't like anticipation. That's what really gets to me.

And I've always been that way. I've described before my long-standing hate of the game Perfection. I just don't do well with partial information. I'd rather something come completely out of the blue all of a sudden without me having had any inkling of it, or I want to know far in advance and have plenty of time to prepare.

My point is, I stupidly read a book, a book that I LIKED, really I did, that had a kidnapping in it and a main character who suddenly found herself surrounded by people who could be dangerous to her, and even though it was just a silly novel and I finished the whole thing in one day and of course it had a lovely ending and so on, I was tense. Tense from the moment the event happened in the book, through the end of it and on through the rest of the evening and even once I got into bed. It took much cuddling with Torsten before I relaxed enough to fall asleep.

My point is, I am a mess. A big wimpy mess. Please tell me I'm not alone.


  1. Maybe that's just a sign of a good writer if they can inflict real-life emotions from you.

    I am a big crying baby when it comes to movies, but I rarely cry when reading similarly sad books. So, I know an author is doing something right when they move me to tears. And yes, it's happened before.

  2. So, first, which book? Because I'm all set to read Girl With a Dragon Tatoo, and I'm a little nervous now that I've read a summary of the plot.

    I don't like scary-anything either.

    Even Law & Order can freak me out. You see, every scary image that I see, I file neatly away in my brain, for easy access the next time I'm home alone in the dark. Then, one by one, my brain replays them back to me. And I freak myself out. I've even called David before and begged him to come home.

    Like you, gun fights/explosions/chasing doesn't bother me. But violent crimes? On innocent people? Especially if they are random? NO. NO LIKE IT.

    (However, hearing that someone's creepy ex is after her is easier for me: it's not random and I don't have a creepy ex. ;)

  3. For me, it all depends on the scary situation. I can handle suspense and some scary movies, but especially now that I've had kids, I CANNOT handle any kind of stories/movies/whatevs with horrible things being done to children in them. Even if it's just a little minor point in the plot, I get all freaked out. THIS is why I hardly ever watch/read the news, anymore. My husband recorded the last episode of M*A*S*H recently as he had never seen it, and it was on TV. I could NOT bring myself to watch it with him--even though it was such a great episode. It freaked me out as a kid, and it most certainly would freak me out now as a mother. GAH! *shiver*

  4. I really don't mind scary-ish books IF I can finish them BEFORE I go to bed. I have enough nightmares, tyvm.
    Scary movies are on my sh*t list. I hate them.

  5. Not alone! I don't do scary movies because I hate the moment of suspense right before something happens also. If I watch a suspenseful TV show before bed, I have to watch something mindless before I can go to sleep. Having children has only increased my over-active imagination, so there's that to look forward to.

  6. Ha! I;m wimpy too. I can't watch scary movies or tv. I can do a little drama/suspense, but the scary stuff is off the list for me. I get anxious, like you mentioned, and freaked out and I have all SORTS of craziness in my head whenever I watch that stuff.

    I'm a bit that way with books, and I've become more sensitive since having a daughter. I LOVED the book 'The Lovely Bones' enough to buy it, but I haven't been able to re-read it since Madeline was born because OH she's little, and the girl in the book was a little girl... you get the idea.

    Even previews for scary movies - oh, Paranormal Activity, a movie I never watched, haunted me for weeks. ::shudder::

  7. Right in this post you mention not liking to have only partial information, and yet you fail to mention the TITLE of the book. :) I am going to need that information.

    I'm also not big on scary, though I do enjoy suspense... go figure. I guess it's more a horror-scary than a suspenseful-scary that I don't like.

  8. I'm right with ya. I don't really like bad things happening to people I like, even if those people are fictional. And if I don't like them, and am watching/ reading about bad things happening to them, I start wondering why the hell I'm watching at all (see: "Burn After Reading." GAH.) This is right before my brain helpfully transfers all those bad things into bad things happening to people I know and love. Thanks, Brain.

    This is one reason my favorite movies are those "42 Up" etc. documentaries. No plot, no scary tension, just life as it goes along.

  9. Oh my gosh, I think I'm probably even worse than you. No, I never ever read scary books, and I never ever watch scary movies (though I did get coerced into a couple times as a teenager by friends and boyfriends, and was too embarassed to chicken out, so I just sat there rigid with misery the entire time.) Even worse than gore is, like, psychological horror stuff. And of course anything involving kids getting hurt or kidnapped or killed, OMG. I will not sleep for days after hearing a story like that on the news or something. I kind of have to live in a bubble!
    I think I'm just kind of fragile. The world is too hard and mean a place for me! :)

  10. i sort of love scary/suspenseful movies and books... although i think it's almost weirder that i do like them than that you don't!

    i recently read world war z, which is an EXCELLENT book about the zombie apocalypse, but the problem was that it was SO convincing that every time i read it, i had incredibly vivid nightmares of various apocalypic scenarios (although oddly, hardly ever involving zombies). it took me ages to finish the darn thing, because i couldn't ever read it in the evenings :-)

  11. Not at all alone! I am the biggest wuss! I made it through Twin Peaks awhile ago and wasn't too freaked out, so I figured I'd take on the Xfiles. BIG MISTAKE! I was totally terrified. I thought the dated effects, etc. would keep me from being scared. Not true.

  12. I can watch scary or suspenseful movies but only if I am not sleeping alone that night and hopefully I do not watch them right before bed!

  13. Yeah, I don't do well with scary. I can handle intense and suspenseful in small doses, but not downright scary at all. My brother used to try to scare me by climbing up the tree outside my window and knocking on it at night - and I never slept well again until I convinced my sister to switch rooms with me!

  14. I love scary stuff. Scary movies, thrillers, suspense and surprise, all of it. But what I don't like is the scared feeling I have after watching a scary movie and then incorporating those fictional scary events into my real life.


    I slept with a baseball bat under my bed and was scared of going outside in the dark for WEEKS after watching the movie Scream.

  15. Dude, you are not alone. Do you watch Criminal Minds? Did you see this week's episode? I don't want to ruin it for you just in case you do watch the show and missed this week's episode, but let me just say that at a certain point near the end of the show I literally screamed and dived under the covers. It was not my proudest moment.

  16. Oh, no, me too. Before it went paid-subscription, I used to consult a movie site that listed "jump scenes" among other viewing-preparedness things such as number of scenes containing blood.

  17. I can handle books - for the most part...but I also don't try to read gory, murder-mysteries. VC Andrews scared me good as a kid so I stay away.

    Movies though? i am a wreck. And so I can't really watch anything besides dopey comedies.

  18. Oh I have a suggestion for you! This is something I discovered and now I do it ALL THE TIME in scary movies/tv because it works really well!

    When scary scenes are coming up, rather than look away, I squint. My eyelashes create a sort of haze where I can see what is going to happen but I dont get scared! Even better, when the whole audience leaps out of their seat, I dont get the fright when squinting! I probably look so stupid, but it really works! Let me know if you try it.

  19. I am reportedly entertaining to watch scary movies with, because I am easily startled and scream a lot. Most books I'm not nearly so freaked by, although I have to say I don't read a ton of thrillers. Pat Conroy's latest was unexpectedly gory, and that did mess with me. And secretly I'm still mad at my mom for lending me The Road. Yeeesh.

  20. My sister is exactly like you. She hates scary movies/books and refuses to participate. I'm the opposite - I love the scary adrenaline rush I get, and fantasize about how much ass-kicking I would do (HA!) if I were the person creeping around in suspenseful music.

  21. Suspense has me curled up in a tight ball around a pillow - which is supposed to protect me?

    Certain medical scenes horrify me - so I bolt from the room full speed. Then it becomes D.'s turn to watch ahead, see if the horrifying event passes (which means I can return to the room) or if it continues in the plot - which means that episode is NOT Mel-friendly.

    Grey's Anatomy is notorious for making me flee the room... and I was the only one who screamed during The Village when I saw it in the theatre. I made D. check out every creak and weird shadow after we saw Paranormal Activity. That lasted weeks. Seriously - NEVER see that movie!

    I'm a wuss. :) but I sleep MUCH better that way!

  22. I have always thought that scary movies were scarier because of the music. And then if I can break them down that way, understand them, I can get through them. I don't enjoy them, but I can deal. On the other hand, I LOVED silly, "scary" books as a tween. Odd that I make that distinction, but I guess I do.