The Truth is Scarier than Fiction

Horror is my favorite movie style by far. There are endless sub-genres, including supernatural, inbred/cannibalistic families on the prowl, suspense/thriller, cult related brainwashing activities, etc., etc. (they breed like mutants—fact-check this on Netflix). Unlike some people I know who enjoy only one or two of these specific categories—you dilettantes know who you are—I, a true aficionada, love all of them. Hunkering down for a scary film in the theater is especially enjoyable, with the heightened effects of sound, lighting and communal terror, but I am perfectly happy watching with my dog on the couch.

Eye peeking through hands covering face
scream by Miguel Torres. CC license.

But lately I haven’t been as scared by these masterpieces and I couldn’t figure out why. While there have been quite a few that have been released recently that I’ve enjoyed, like Split, The Girl with All the Gifts and Get Out, they haven’t gotten the adrenalin pumping like the ones I’ve watched in the past. At first I worried that my husband’s (weak-kneed) aversion to horror had finally started to rub off on me. But there was an underlying suspicion that something else was going on entirely.

It was when I opened a renewal notice for some prescriptions that it came to me: real life is no longer the post-scary-movie release it was just six months ago. One of the great things about a horror film is when it’s over, there is a sense of levity walking out into the real world. You’re not being chased by a weird looking monster or hiding from the incestuous mountain dwellers trying to eat your face and you definitely don’t have to worry about your baby secretly being the child of Satan.

I am a transplant patient who relies on Medicare for medicine, doctor appointments and hospital stays—and without these things I would die. For the last six months I have watched the government turn on its people, introducing bill after bill that could result in a death sentence for millions. I don’t know how I could possibly afford to pay for any of the things that keep me alive without Medicare, and these elected officials (with their guaranteed health insurance) are more than happy to pull the rug from under the rest of us—their own constituents— leaving us destitute and eventually dead.

The real world is a much more frightening place these days, and the horror movies I’ve seen lately are tame in comparison. Watching the government desert its citizens is one of the scariest things I can think of. Which leads to an even scarier thought: we still have three more years. Maybe I’ll start watching comedies.


Picture of author Emily LittlewoodEmily Littlewood lives with her dog, Animal, and husband Jason in Raphine, Va. After getting a degree to teach English, Speech and Theatre, she began working in banks. She is currently working back toward her passion, copy editing for Streetlight.

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