Photo: Genessa Gutzait · The Sentry

Photo: Genessa Gutzait · The Sentry
The Truth about Horror

Horror movies are scary. That’s a given fact. The first horror movie I think I ever saw was Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow, starring Johnny Deep and Christina Ricci.

I found a VHS of it at my grandparents’ house and asked if they could put  it on for me. I was probably seven or eight years old.

I don’t remember if I thought the movie was scary or not, but I do remember that when my mom showed up to take me home and saw what I was watching, she was furious.

Sleepy Hollow has since become an old favorite that I return to every couple of years. There’s some nostalgia wrapped up in watching the film now.

All these years later, when I think about Sleepy Hollow, I imagine how fun it must’ve been to make it. Riding horses, wearing Victorian-era clothing, having fake blood squirted on your face. To me, that sounds like a blast.

About a month ago, I had the opportunity to be a production assistant on my friend’s husband’s set. They were filming a short film about a witch called Tabitha. More than anything, the set was incredible fun.  True, I didn’t know most of the people there, but I knew Amanda and Jeremiah. I saw Jeremiah’s commitment to his work, and I learned something: Filming horror movies is not scary.

There’s a lot of waiting involved in the process of movie making, especially as a production assistant.

A select few people do most of the heavy lifting related to filming, and the rest of us just sort of stand there. Granted, I wasn’t there for all three days of shooting or the one day of reshoots, but there was nothing scary about being on a horror film set.

I talked to people, ate food, and got to watch Jeremiah boss others around as the writer/director. It was great.

This is why it surprises me when a horror film scares me. I feel a sense of wonder and like to think about how fun it must be to get to play the demon or killer who terrorizes the other characters and how hard it must be to act terrified when, really, it’s not an empty hallway; there are 40 other people there with you.

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