As often is the case, there are good productive and growing ways to come out of an adventure, as well as dumb and pointless ways to come out of it.  Today’s Art of Manliness adventure was perhaps one of the dumbest ways I could have approached this task.

The assignment was to conquer a fear.  I thought hard about ways to tackle my fears that would still preserve my life and major organs.  I thought about running as far as I could and then having to run back, or going to some random place and getting myself lost.  I tried hard to stay away from ideas that involved me conquering my fear of physical pain (or loss of limbs, etc).  Then I randomly thought of this brilliantly bad idea:  to conquer my fear of horror movies!

So I rented some horror movies from a Red Box to watch at midnight.  I also made popcorn, and bought Swedish fish and Sour Patch Kids.  I also got this giant can of Monster (3 servings in a can!), in the hopes that I might get scared more if I’m jittered up.

The plan was to get sugared-up, energized and jumpy, overload on scary movies in the dark dark night, get myself scared out of my pants, struggle to fall asleep, and have a terrific nightmare.  I had it all figured out in my head as the most epic fear-conquering day ever.

…Needless to say, things didn’t turn out according to plan.

The first movie was called The Cabin in the Woods, featuring some girl and Chris Hemsworth.  It’s about college kids who go away to a cabin in the woods, and scary stuff happens, controlled by these omniscient people.  Initially I was in my bed, with all the lights turned off, getting scared from just watching the previews of other scary movies that play before the actual movie starts.  Then the movie starts playing and it was surprisingly…. funny.  It was still scary, gory and horrific, but… hilarious!  It was somewhat of a satire on typical horror movies, while actually being a horror movie itself, which was weird.  I mean, it was actually a good movie, but… just not the kind that I had planned for my epic fear-conquering night.

The second movie I saw was The Woman in Black, featuring Daniel Radcliffe.  This was a typical scary ghost movie, so I was scared enough.  But it was very quiet (Radcliffe barely had any lines, which probably helped the movie), and just had super slow suspenseful things, which was just a bit sub-par when you’re up past 3AM getting more and more tired.  As scared as I was throughout the movie, there was no heart-pounding-out-of-my-rib-cage moments, and no freaky little girl crawling out of the TV making me scream like this was Day -29 of Art of Manliness.  In the end, it was just a mediocre movie with a mediocre level of scariness.

Even more sadly, I didn’t eat any of the Swedish fish during the movie, the 1lb bag of Sour Patch Kids remained unopened; I had maybe two handfuls of popcorn, and drank only half the can of Monster.  I only had 2 hrs to sleep, and I didn’t even have any friggin’ nightmares!  For a good chunk of today I just felt really lethargic and drained from the junk food and lack of sleep.  Worst way to accomplish your penultimate Art of Manliness assignment.

Maybe I’m just too brave for my own good.

Simeon Koh