I was never really into Halloween growing up. Aside from the fact that it’s always overshadowed by the looming threat that is Christmas, I was a kid who hated getting scared.
As someone who is always afraid of everything, you’d assume that I wouldn’t like horror, and I don’t. I close my eyes during 85% of any scary flick anyways, so I guess I end up saving my money by not going to the cinema at all. Even then, I’ve always wondered why people willingly go out of their way just to feel fear. Is it the adrenaline rush they feel from being momentarily taken out of their comfort zones? The thrill of going through the motions without any real danger?
I find it necessary to start with all these disclaimers because these days, I’ve been listening to a lot of horror story compilations on YouTube. Yup, I’ve resorted to scaring myself awake instead of going for a cup of coffee. It’s strange; I consider myself to be the biggest scaredy-cat but I’ve quickly spiraled into a mess of fear-inducing media that safely stays in between the spectrum of all things terrifying. There’s a certain comfort in being in control of what scares me; I get to choose the medium, and I can somewhat know what’s coming next. Although my methods seem very tame, I’m actually content with the mild horror littered around the Internet.
This Halloween (or during any time of the year), try deviating from the usual means of horror that you’re used to. I mean, even for someone as Fear Intolerant as I am, I still can’t resist from getting my scare on. Here are some of my favorite ways to do just that, and if you’re anything like me, you might find just the right amount of thrills in them, too.
Asking YouTube to ask Reddit
There’s just something about the apathetic, disjointed tone of the text-to-speech man retelling Reddit horror stories that just gets me. It’s emotionless and detached, leaving you to take in what you’re hearing as they are and for your imagination to run wild. It also helps that most of these stories (mostly from r/AskReddit) are very well written, even though most of them are likely fabricated. Each story is short and sweet, which makes it easier for each video to host a lot of content. Because of this, I don’t need to fixate too long on one storyline or become too invested.
There are a handful of YouTube channels dedicated to Reddit and all its unhinged glory, namely Reddit Aliens, Redditors, and Lurker. With a myriad of stories on Reddit, and hence a myriad of stories per video, you’ll never run out of things to watch. They also have some lighthearted stories on other topics (e.g. celebrity encounters) if you need to calm down if ever you work yourself up too much.
To not see is to believe
Horror podcasts are great too because they are meant to be heard and not seen, which is perfect for those who don’t want to get too scared. There are more podcasts that focus on true crime stories though, which are terrifying in their own right. The really fun ones lie in those that make use of genre-breaking concepts or those podcasts that push the limits of audio storytelling.
The Other Stories podcast is similar to the Reddit retellings but has a much bigger production behind it, and is much more effective in my opinion. With elaborate plots, enthralling narration, and ambient music meant to give you the spooks, it’s great for tuning in and out of if you find things getting too intense. And That’s Why We Drink is a lot more casual since they focus more on comedy-horror (the two hosts have the best chemistry and are so easy to listen to), and gives off a vibe of people just sharing creepy stories with each other. They’re a little bit more traditional in the sense of what a podcast is, in that they also share a lot of side stories and creepy anecdotes. ATWWD strikes a good balance between true crime and paranormal content, so you can definitely choose your poison when it comes to what you want to listen to.
Horror, but not really
Sometimes, I prefer deconstructing horror over experiencing it for myself. The fear isn’t quite as strong, but still lingers as these channels talk about mysterious Internet phenomena. Analyzing the components that make up a good scary movie or how unconventional mediums go viral are great ways to understand how the public likes to consume their horror.
Horror ARGs, or Alternate Reality Games, are interactive videos, articles, and puzzles that can spill over onto the real world. They sometimes make use of real life locations and events, and are usually seen spanning through different social networks, creating a huge web for players and fans to sift through. Although I’m too scared and too lazy to actually participate in one myself, there are multiple YouTube channels that explain the backstories and the clues involved in these ARGs. ReignBot and Inside A Mind are just some personal favorites of mine.
Movie analyses are helpful because there are a lot of horror flicks that rely on overused tricks to scare their audience, and it’s sometimes difficult to identify these with all the cheap jumpscares they use. Ryan Hilliger does a great job of exploring and explaining the things we find scary in film.