Why Do We Like to Get Scared

Horror movies are more fun when you have other people to watch them with. I like seeing somebody else jump, scream, or squirm. So I’ll often have friends over and host movie nights. I am very good at “setting the stage” for people to be scared.

First, it helps to have a house already with a reputation as my place is haunted already. Mostly it does not affect me. Sometimes I hear voices or stuff is moved even when I am out of a room for just a few minutes but that’s mostly it. There are friends that the ‘spirits’ don’t like, though. Sometimes people get locked in my downstairs bathroom and people have said they smell weird things (mostly like the house is on fire).  I also have a black cat named Poe. He is very cool but he likes to hide on chairs in the dining room and jump on your back when you walk by. I think it is funny. Other people don’t.

If you can’t get your hands on a haunted house or a spooky cat like Poe, you can still host a great horror movie night. Here are a couple of tips:

  1. Have the viewing at night, obviously. Preferably when there is no moon, unless it is Friday the 13th or Halloween or something. Or if it is a werewolf flick. Make sure that any curtains or blinds are closed. You can have lighting on in your house, but try to leave the room that you’re showing the movie in is as dark as possible – movie theater style!
  2. You don’t need a big TV or anything, but a tv with a quality picture and a good internet connection (if you’re streaming) or a high-quality player is good to have. Take a minute to wipe down the screen and/or the disc before you start the showing. You also don’t need a good sound system, but it certainly helps. At the very least, you need a speaker or two behind the listeners as well as in front. It’s just better that way. It’s like the killer is inside the house with you.
  3. Give your guests good food. Serve BBQ snacks or meatball sandwiches if it is an especially gory movie. Ribs with the movie Aliens or something. Think outside pizza and popcorn.
  4. If you’ve seen it before, don’t talk about it during the movie. Don’t be that guy. You don’t need to introduce it and you don’t need to explain what is happening. If you were able to understand the movie through one sitting, expect your friends to be able to as well. If they aren’t smart enough, then a) pick a different movie and b) what does it say about you that you hang out with such idiots? A big exception to this is if it is not the first movie in a series and they haven’t seen the ones before or if it is based on a book, which you have read, and the film leaves something out that makes more sense in the book. As long as it doesn’t ruin the movie before the person has had a chance to see it, you’re good.

What are your favorite ideas to make a horror movie viewing more immersive?