Friday, October 28, 2011


Getting scared is good for you. A good horror movie offers catharsis, an experience of fear without risk, a way to confront ones innermost demons. Some people have nightmares, others quake in fear every waking moment, always imagining the worst, continually bracing for impact. Every creak of the old house is a monster coming to get them, every wrong number is a serial killer planning his moves, every black cat the embodiment of evil. You can't avoid fear, so why not face it head on and have some fun watching an old scary movie this Halloween?

Dr. Martin Grotjahn, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Southern California School of Medicine, suggests that a good horror flick--I Was a Teenage Werewolf, Blood of Dracula, etc.--can provide a means of "self-administered psychiatric therapy for America's adolescents." And not only adolescents. Dr. Grotjahn says horror films can provide a healthy catharsis for adults as well.

This Halloween, pick something scary from the video shelves or the Netflix queue. Go for an old classic or something cheesy like Kiss of the Vampire (the 1962 original, which scared the bejesus out of me one Saturday afternoon, eons ago) or watch a high quality, well made film like The Exorcist, Jaws, Alien, or The Shining. Make some popcorn and have a thrill. It's just what the doctor ordered.

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