Tuesday, 23 January 2018
The Restless Native The Restless Native

Why are we so frightened of Halloween?

By  Nov 03, 2016

When it comes to movies, I am a big fan of horror. I love being scared and respect the science behind frightening people. This is why I enjoy Halloween. Not necessarily the part about the costumes and house decoration, that I really don't care for, but the celebration of the horror culture is something I revel in.

Horror is such a rich genre, and might as well be the oldest one in human culture. Since the dawn of time we have fantasized about what is unknown to us and it's in our nature to assume all sorts of scary things about what exactly lurks in the hidden corners of our surroundings. There is something profoundly creative about it. Next time you are walking to your house at night, take a look at one of the dark hallways or streets along the way and think about what could possibly be there, hidden in waiting. You will be amazed at how creative you can be.

There is also one very important thing that those who dislike horror and scary movies need to know. It's all for fun. Horror is an immensely fun genre and the rush you get from it is exhilarating. Those who believe horror fans in general have a tendency for violence in real life are sadly mistaken. There is nothing interesting or fun about real life violence and gore seen daily on the news. That's the beauty of horror; you get to imagine all sorts of fantastic things about the world around us. It's much nicer than actually seeing what the world around is really like. There is no make-believe horror more disturbing than the reality of what people are capable of. In fact, some of the most famous cult horror movies very serious in criticism of human nature or human society, like Dawn of the Dead (original one), Godzilla, Hellraiser, and many others. This is where horror and comedy genres are very much alike. They are both rich, they are both focused on entertainment, but they can also be anything from very silly to a very serious works of art.

This year we've seen Halloween getting more popular in Croatia, along with the rise of anti-Halloween sentiment, mostly from the Catholic Church. Now, I am trying to be respectful about everyone's religious beliefs, but I fail to see the big controversy. What Halloween boils down to in practise is eating sugary treats, watching horror movies, and sometimes, dressing up as a killer clown or Catwoman and attending a standard Saturday night party at your local bar. Hardly the stuff of satanic conspiracies! However, there are still people that are very vocal against this practise, saying it offends the religious, and this saddens me. Not because I really think it’s a controversial matter, but rather because this is just one of the recent indicators Croatians are losing their sense of humour and thirst for entertainment. We don't know how to have fun anymore and those that try, we judge, saying they offend the rest. That is both sad and scary, as nothing is more prone to acts of aggression than dissatisfied, humourless people with no emotional outlet. Those protesting Halloween are saying these practices are imported, they clash with our local culture, and cater to consumerism. They are right about the last part, although I seriously doubt anybody's Halloween budget is going to outweigh their Christmas shopping budget anytime soon. As for the local culture statement, saying Croatia doesn't have a rich and beautiful horror folk tale legacy is truly insulting. If you think we've imported dressing up in monster costumes from American suburbanites, just write „zvoncari“ in your favourite search engine and enjoy discovering a beautiful local tradition universally loved and cherished by all Croatians.

What I’m trying to say it that next time you want to be truly scared, watch the news. On the other hand, if you just want to have some fun, get a few friends together, make some finger food, buy a nice bottle of wine and treat yourself to a horror movie marathon. I promise, the Devil will not take your soul because of it.

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Bozidar Jukic, AKA The Restless Native, is a Dubrovnik local with too many interests to name them all, with writing being at the very top of the list. He is a lover of good food, music and film, and a firm believer in the healing power of laughter. His professional orientation is towards tourism and travel so it comes as no surprise he spends most of his time alongside Mrs. Jukic running their own local tour company. Their goal is helping travellers from all over the world get a more intimate experience of Dubrovnik and what it has to offer. To find out more about their work, visit their website or Facebook page.
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