Another sector of the American media that continually befuddles me is — you guessed it — horror flicks. I guess one part of it is that I’ve never really understood the point of them. To scare you? I don’t like to be scared — is that such a weird thing to admit aloud? It seems like a common sense thing to me. “That movie was so good, I had nightmares!” …Right.

But it’s a moot point. I don’t find anything to scare me in most American horror films anyways. The only horrifying thing about them is their storylines (or lack thereof). No, that’s not true; the acting may be worse.

But as a writer, I automatically have the worst possible perspective on horror films. Find me a horror film that isn’t riddled with poorly-woven plots and unrealistic characters, and I’ll find you one without a saggy romance stuffed full of cheesy dialogue. Horror films are by nature sensationalist; they play to your emotions first and answer questions later (or not at all); and I cannot condone such behavior in storytelling.

The horror genre also falls into extremely predictable ruts. I feel like a seer every time I watch a horror flick because I can tell five minutes in advance when a scary, jump-out-of-your-seat moment is coming. The eternal army of netherworldly characters — zombies, vampires, werewolves, ghosts and so on — has lost its fear factor, as far as I’m concerned. Originality is hard to come by with horror flicks, but that doesn’t stop producers from squeezing out contrived crowd-pleasers year after year.

Consider another genre: war movies. Some would say that war movies are all the same, stoic stereotypes leading their motley but brave troops into battles in which one or all of them will die. True, war movies may all have similar plot lines, but at least they have good messages (as long as that message is “war is hell”), and their subjects deserve some respect. Plus, war actually happened. Horror films, on the other hand, have no point other than immediate entertainment.

“Serial killer” horror movies have some redeeming value because at least their subjects really exist (and thus are more frightening but, wouldn’t you know it, that’s not a turn-on for me). True, not all horror films are equally awful, but I can’t lie when I say that I notice similar trends in every horror flick.

I won’t say I’ve never been afraid or jumped up during a scary movie — “The Sixth Sense” scared the living poop out of me when I was little, and yes, I will jump maybe once or twice sometimes if a horror film is any good whatsoever. But I think scary music is the one thing that really rattles me – and quick, high-pitched sounds can make anyone jump.

But as a rule, I’m done sitting there shaking helplessly during horror movies. Instead, I laugh at them. I admit, it can be pretty funny trying to predict what jump is around the next corner, or what uninspired character will die next. I just can’t take it seriously anymore.

– Tim Freer