I have a love/hate relationship with anything vaguely scary. If there is anything remotely scary on the television then I will watch it with one eye shut whilst peeping from behind my fingers screaming, “is it over yet?”. Take last Saturday for example; with the curtains tightly drawn and my doors locked (I should know I kept checking), I spent a good part of the evening screaching in sheer terror as I hid behind cushions. Why? I had agreed to watch The Walking Dead with Mr C. The promise of Andrew Lincoln as the lead had been enough to lure me into watching it and he did not disappoint. But it was the scariest thing I had watched in a long time but I continued to watch it. But why was I watching it? Why do I put myself through it?
I actually have a very real fear of zombies. I had to play a zombie in our literature festival last year and I found that experience really petrifying. I couldn’t even bring myself to look at the other zombies despite me knowing it was all pretend. As soon as that performace was over I ran home through the empty streets convinced that there was a zombie lurking at every corner and behind every car so why do I continue to scare myself? I think that it must be because I actually enjoy feeling scared because for a very brief moment of time I can allow myself to feel scared whilst knowing deep down that it really is all pretend. It gives us the same buzz that you get from riding a rollercoaster, I can feel my heart racing and my palms getting clammy knowing that if it gets all too much I can press pause on the remote or hide behind the settee.
Apparently this is why the majority of us actually like watching something scary because it gives us an adrenalin rush and apparently as humans we are hard-wired to like that state of feeling. I guess that is why some people are real adrenalin junkies and will throw themselves off buildings doing base jumps whilst other people will happily sky dive.
Apparently this form of self-scaring has been a way of uniting people and giving them a sense of power. For me I think I will just stick to watching The Walking Dead smug in the knowledge that I am being very brave by facing up to my fear of zombies. Although I am little less smug when I wake up in the middle of the night convinced that a zombie is trying to get into my house.
Have you seen The Walking Dead? If not are you DYING (sorry, poor pun) to watch it and do you like to be scared?