My name is Andy and I have a wife. She’s a wonderful wife. Funny, smart, empathetic, and much more. My wife puts up with a lot. For example, take a moment to go to Instagram and type in #MargaretSleeping. I’ll wait. Yeah, see all of those pictures? That’s my wife sleeping. There is also a website, www.margaretsleeping.com. Now you are telling yourself “This guy has the most graceful wife I could ever imagine. How has she not killed him by now?” Those are all valid thoughts and I, also, would like to know the answer to this question, but I don’t have it either.
But we didn’t come here to talk about why my wife hasn’t killed me. We are here to talk about why she doesn’t like horror movies. She hates them. My wife would rather watch Beautiful Creatures than sit through a viewing of The Conjuring 2 and I have had to learn to be ok with that. While we don’t have the same taste in movies we are in this thing called marriage together so we have to learn to give and take. I have to learn to watch Home Again in exchange for a viewing of It. Okay, I was just kidding about It. That movie was too much for her to even consider. Her words not mine.
I don’t think my wife likes horror movies because she sees horror every day. She is a nurse for the PICU Stepdown Unit at a local hospital—and had worked in the cardiac unit in a prior hospital—and sees things I could never imagine. I don’t have to worry about bagging a patient when they are unresponsive or putting tubes down another person’s throat in order for them to breath or even sitting with a family who has to hear some bad news. These horrors are not a part of my everyday life. I’m lucky and get to attend school and be a youth minister. I’m not saying my job isn’t hard but I don’t have to worry about someone’s life being on the line if I mess up a medication they are supposed to take. (Except for, you know, my students’ eternal souls, but whatever…). She doesn’t need the reminder about the hard and scary things in this world from horror movies.
Now this doesn’t mean I still don’t try to make her watch horror movies. I love them and they are a big part of my life. I find so many illustrations for the teachings I do with the youth through them and, in a way, feel like I’m closer to God when I watch them. Something about facing the evils in the world and there being some good that takes it down. It’s the gospel story for me. So how do we get people like my wife to watch these movies? Well, I have a few suggestions. These tips are guaranteed to work 40% of the time.
This may seem like a no brainer. Say you’ve picked up Devil’s Spawn 5 from the RedBox and you are on your way home to watch it with your loved one. Oh wait! You find yourself with a movie that gives away the type of movie it is right away. Well friends, all you have to do is change the name! Instead of Devil’s Spawn 5 change the name to Lucifer’s Children Part 5. Not only does this throw the viewer for a loop, but it will give you enough time to come up with an excuse for them to grab your favorite beverage while the title crawls to life.
- Change the Description of the Movie to Fit the Viewer.
I’ve made the mistake before of telling my wife exactly what the movie was about. Rookie mistake on my part. I find that giving a vague description about the plot is helpful. Say you were going to watch The Conjuring. Instead of saying:
“The movie is about a family that is haunted by a spirit which ultimately possesses the mother leading to her exorcism for things to return to normal”
I would say:
“This movie is about a hardworking family that moves into a new house. They come up against a few problems but a friendly couple comes into the picture to help them work through some house hijinks!”
You can also do this with action movies and comedies that may be a bit taboo.
- Offer to Let Them Get Whatever They Want at The Concession Stand.
This works like magic! My wife loves to drink red Icees at the movies. I don’t see the point of spending $7 for a drink when you can buy it at the local Target for 99 cents. This has to be something you are willing to take a hit in the wallet. The promise of something sweet before 2 hours of horror goodness is worth the price of a red Icee for me.
- Be Willing to Let Them Look Up the Ending on Wikipedia
Now this is something that you can do if you are brave enough to risk having the film spoiled. The best bet in this situation is to avoid any fights with your loved one before or during the movie. This gives them a chance to know what’s coming and the ability to brace themselves for the entire movie, but, if you make them angry, they can use this knowledge for evil. Movies have been ruined for me ten times in the course of seven years. Four of those were by accident, but the other six were when I, gracefully, told my wife to put her phone down before we get kicked out of the theater. Okay, so it wasn’t graceful at all but I was embarrassed and I hate the idea of getting kicked out of the movie before it even ends because of a stupid phone. ALRIGHT?!?! I thought it would be an easy fix, but I missed the importance of the phone as a distraction from the horror we were about to see.
- Watch the Movie While They Sleep.
Okay, so this one really doesn’t help get your loved one to watch with you, but you still have to see them after all. Not to brag, but this is something I have fully mastered. My wife works nights so during the day when she is sleeping I get in my viewings. I find that the only problem with this is if you are scared you can’t wake the other person up to cuddle. You have to face the fear by yourself. And no one likes to do that. No. One. I’m looking at you, tough guy.
- Be Willing to Watch Something You Won’t Like
It’s a tradeoff. You get to pick the movie this time, but, in the future, you may have to see Home Again with your loved one in the theaters after Reese Witherspoon has hit her prime and is only taking movies for the money they provide. COME ON REESE! YOU’RE BETTER THAN THIS!!
- And Finally…. I Have to Do This for My Job!
I am lucky that I am a youth pastor and the most popular host of the critically acclaimed podcast, The Body | The Blood. I have to watch horror movies in order to talk about them for my job and I take this very seriously. How can you argue with that? It’s a job and nobody wants to take that away from you.
Now all of these tactics may not work. Sometimes, even if you do all 7, you will not get anywhere and end up having to watch the movie when your loved one is out of the house or on your computer with the headphones on. Be prepared to have to do this 60% of the time. It’s the tradeoff you have to make for being a horror fan. There seems to be a lot of people who do not like them and you have to go at it alone. Take courage, dear reader!
At the end of the day I have a great wife. She takes on so much and deals with all of my faults AND she will still (occasionally) watch horror movies with me. You just have to find someone who is willing to do the same or ditch your loved one for the evening and go see them with the mother of one of your youth who enjoys them as much as you do!