Read Spoilers First So You Can Watch a Horror Movie Without Feeling Terrible
3 min read
fairly easy
I find watching horror movies to be a deeply unpleasant experience. That doesn't mean I shouldn't do it.
The general consensus is that everybody hates spoilers, and if you spoil a movie or TV show online, you are a bad person. I tend to agree. It's a small thing to not be careless about dropping a big plot reveal, on social media or elsewhere (a movie blogger I've followed for 20 years decided to ruin the new James Bond movie in a headline before it even came out; more accurately he's now a movie blogger I used to follow). Spoiling something thoughtlessly is, as they say, a real asshole move.

But there's one instance in which I am pro-spoiler nearly every time, and that's when I'm watching a horror movie. It's not that I don't like horror; it's just that watching it makes me feel bad (a condition only exacerbated by the pandemic, during which time my entertainment diet consisted primarily of comfort foods) . But if I read the spoilers first, I feel less bad, and I can actually concentrate on the plot, and the pacing, and the cinematography, and the music—you know, the "movie" parts of a movie—instead of the gaping chasm of anxiety opening within me.

This jibes with the results of an oft-cited study that showed people tend to report enjoying a narrative more if they experience it already knowing what's going to happen. The results held true for participants who were asked to read one of three types of stories—a mystery, an O. Henry-type ironic twist tale, and "literary fiction with a neat resolution"; as the…
Joel Cunningham
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