It All Started When…

By: Katelyn Colter

I never used to be scared by scary movies or stories. I enjoyed the cheap thrills, but I rationalized everything, thinking it would never actually happen. That was the case until I went to Wiard’s Night Terrors in Ypsilanti a few years ago. It’s rated one of the best in the country, and I went with my sister for her birthday. We had a huge group of people, thinking that would keep us safe and be more fun. At Wiard’s there are six attractions: four haunted houses, a tractor ride, and a haunted maze (now turned into haunted paintball). The tractor ride was alright; the best part about it was it ended with cider and donuts. The maze was also alright, nothing too spooky. As for each of the haunted houses, though, I don’t think I’ve ever screamed that much in my life. I didn’t even have a voice the next day, and I vaguely remember crying after the clown house. Don’t take this the wrong way, though, this was one of the most fun times I’ve had. Yet, again, I was never one to be that scared, but this changed everything.

After that experience, I started to be scared by everything. I couldn’t even watch cheap scary movies without screaming or jumping. One movie, I believe it was “The Grudge,” that I watched on my laptop got me so bad I flipped my laptop off my lap and broke my headphones. I also had my first nightmare in the few months following. I don’t remember much, just that there was a creepy man in my living room that I could only see from the headlights of cars that drove by. It was pretty rough.

I believe my terrifying reactions to scary movies and stories started because I was subjected to the “reality” of horror when I went to the haunted houses. When I watched movies, I was always an outsider, and I was not involved with the movie in any way. However, the haunted house put me in a role like I was in a scary movie. It was like I was in my own personal horror movie. Now when I watch scary movies, I relate much more to the characters, and I can feel their terror or dread. I watch through almost closed eyes or cover my face with a blanket. I’m afraid to watch them by myself, and when I do watch one, I have to occupy myself with “fluffy” stories for a while afterwards. Even though this haunted house slightly messed me up in terms of viewing horror, I highly recommend it. Check out their website by clicking here.

And now I ask you, has anything you’ve done or anything that’s happened to you changed how you perceive horror?

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8 thoughts on “It All Started When…

  1. This post really hits home for me because I too am very jumpy during horror movies or haunted houses. While I am eager to watch them and I’m always the first in line to go into a spooky place, without fail I end up screaming at anything that moves. I believe this happens as an involuntary defense mechanism because while we know there is no real danger, our bodies still jump into ‘fight or flight’ mode at the first sign of distress or at a disturbance in the environment. And I have to say, I would much rather be able to react quickly instead of slowly if a dangerous situation ever did arise!

  2. I first got hooked on horror when my best friend from middle school lost her mom to cancer and all she ever wanted to do was watch scary movies. Of course I was there for her, and would watch them with her whenever she wanted. We had so much fun together picking what movie to watch and we even went to a haunted house in the city that year. I think my friend really just wanted to feel momentary fear in place of feeling grief over the loss for her mother. During that time, I had a very profound reaction to these terrors similar to the ones you had at Wiard’s Night Terrors. However, as I get older I have noticed it takes more to get me really frightened. Now, versus just simply being scared I have come to appreciate the intellectual side of horror, which is why I thoroughly enjoy taking this class!

  3. Yes! okay so a few years ago I went to Mexico, like I did every year since i was a baby. This time was different, all my friends were older and so was I and so we wanted new thrills in our lives and boy were we in for a treat! We went to an abandoned house by the grave yard, because we heard we could see the spirits of the people who were buried there. We were young, so yeah we believed it, but didn’t think we’d actually see the spirits and ghosts like the stories people told. Anyway, there we were in the house, and while were laughing and playing the door slammed closed behind us and all the windows broke, followed by the flickering of lights and what seemed like objects (or spirits) flying around us. the scariest part was that we couldn’t scream, it’s as if the presence was taking away all the energy. It wasn’t until our friend who was trying to stop us open the door that it all stopped and we fell to the ground. Ever since that day, every time i visit mexico, i stay as far away from that house as possible…which is conveniently located around the corner from where I live in Mexico…yeah, I still love visiting though. But i guess that’s what showed me that I will never know what is fiction or non fiction in stories, i believe things other people don’t because of what I’ve experienced.

  4. I have only been to one haunted house in my entire life, and it was a haunted school house which was part of the Cedar Point Halloweekends attraction (not sure if considered a real haunted house by hardcore horror junkies). I found that it wasn’t too bad knowing that the actors were just actors and couldn’t really do anything but jump out and scream, which I admit was pretty startling at the time… but then I also admit that I was towards the middle of the group and most of the time I just watched the people in front of me get scared. It is interesting to hear about a haunted house that actually got to someone so much that they are affected by different types of horror after visiting the attraction. Of course I will probably never check Wiard’s out given that it’s had this kind of effect on you…

  5. I was already thoroughly invested in horror before experiencing the realism of it. Going to haunted houses like the one referenced in your video made me more relaxed when faced with the genre. After understanding the fun in horror and experiencing it first hand, I began viewing all horror as a ploy to scare me out of my logical mind. For that reason, I went to Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights every year beginning in 9th grade. I wanted to see in what twisted, strange ways these horror producers would attempt to scare me. And after the night was over, I was ready for next years new scares. I think it just depends on how you are introduced to the reality of it!

  6. Even though I love all things horror, I’ve never been able to handle haunted houses that well. I’m usually the one in the group who doesn’t want to turn the corner, and has to pause for a break now and then. Although afterwards it’s fun to laugh and joke about what went on inside, I’m usually just plain terrified as I go through the house, and hoping and praying that the next door leads me back outside. It’s interesting because although I love the thrill of watching and reading horror, experiencing it firsthand is a whole different experience.

  7. I can also find this relatable, as I really enjoy Psychological thrillers, that make me think, and question things, and it really takes a lot to make me squirm with things in that extent. However, when it comes to things jumping out at me, I scream at home when I run into my mom coming around the corning. I am super jumpy. I don’t know if it’s because I liked to pretend I was a “cool kid” when I was younger, since so many of my friends were older than me, so I went to haunted houses when I was young, maybe that lead me to be continually jumpy to this day.

  8. In my town, every October, our old armory turns into one of the worlds longest haunted house walkthroughs in the world! Which is very surprising for how small my town is. We even have to sign a waiver before going in! Every year there is a different theme and Dark Minds Production, which is who is in charge of the haunted house, goes all out. The first time I went through I was in the seventh grade and it was one of the most terrifying things I have ever gone through! My friend even peed her pants! This is where my interest in horror really began, just like you finally became afraid of horror through the haunted houses at Wiards. Haunted houses do a great job of putting you in an active role, but then hopefully by the end of it, you get out alive!

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