I am a big horror movie fan. In fact, when time allows, my wife and I watch probably 2-3 horror films a week on average. This is because, while not all horror movies are exactly the same, I pretty much know what I’m going to get before I watch one. I can’t say that about other movie genres.
A few days ago, I was thinking about this movie obsession and realized that, in addition to entertaining me over the years, horror movies have had a significant influence on me in other aspects of my life. Even though I understand the movies are just fiction, I was able to count five ways they have impacted my real-life decisions.
The first is I avoid taking alternate routes. Whenever I travel, everything is mapped out well in advance and, with very few exceptions, I avoid looking for alternate routes that might save me some time, be more scenic or bypass a toll booth or two. This, in no small part, is influenced by the number of films I’ve seen that start out with people taking some back road short cut only to wind up stranded and chased by cannibals or something worse. At minimum, the thought of breaking down somewhere with no cell phone signal is a deterrent.
Second, I’m nice to just about everyone. Yes, there are plenty of people out there that really don’t deserve it. But, not knowing who has “Carrie”-like telekinetic powers or is just unstable enough to snap into a murderous rage, I choose, instead, to play it safe.
Another thing I do is avoid stepping on graves. My wife actually teases me over this one. But, whenever I’m around graves, whether they are family members or total strangers, the first thought I have is a hand popping out of the ground and grabbing me. As a result, I keep my distance whenever possible.
In addition, I listen to my kids closely whenever they talk about an imaginary friend. I’ve seen plenty of movie “imaginary” friends who turned out to be real and, more often than not, evil. Yeah, I know it’s unlikely to happen in real life. But, why take chances? Besides, my daughters like it when I pay attention to them.
Last, I have a zombie apocalypse plan. Well, technically, I haven’t planned out the whole zombie apocalypse yet. But, I have thought out what I would do if I saw a group of zombies walking toward me, both at home and at work. And, the nice part of it is, the plan actually would work in other, more likely, situations (like someone walking down our street with a gun).
I’m still able to tell fact from fiction and have not let my movie watching habit keep me from being functional. But, the influence is definitely there and, hopefully, being extra cautious will help keep me (and my family) a bit safer.