As a person who likes to finish what he starts, it’s pretty unusual for me to walk out of a movie. When I say “walk out” I really mean “click away,” since streaming is how we watch movies these days. Since I’ve been writing and publishing on horror movies and religion, I try to watch what I can without breaking the bank (which is pretty fragile these days with inflation and whatnot). There have been, however, three movies, or television series converted to movies, that I have walked out in the last couple of months, all of them free. I want credit for watching them, but sometimes I just can’t claim it. The first one was for health reasons. Amish Witches: The True Story of Holmes County is not a true story, but a television movie cashing in on current interest in isolationist religious movements. I had to stop watching because the hand-held camera movement was making me extremely nauseous and time off work is too precious to waste being sick. It wasn’t that good anyway.
Then some weeks later I started to watch Legends of Sleepy Hollow. If you’re a regular reader you know that I’ve been on a Sleepy Hollow kick lately. This series, about which the internet is mostly silent, is an Amazon Prime original. It may be set in the upstate New York region around Tarrytown, but the vignettes I made it through had nothing to do with Sleepy Hollow and were thoroughly depressing rather than scary. I decided this series, formatted somewhat like a movie, was something I just couldn’t finish. I don’t have time for watching things that aren’t what they seem to be.
In addition to Sleepy Hollow, I’ve also been interested in holiday horror. This is the theme of my forthcoming Wicker Man book, and I’d toyed with the idea of writing a book on the topic in general. I knew there was a movie called Happy Horror Days, which I felt compelled to watch for any scrap of academic respectability. (If a title tells you it’s directly on your topic, well, you investigate.) I managed to make it to the Fourth of July before this truly execrable film just clearly became a waste of time. The stories feel incomplete and the racist undertones (which may have been an attempt at social commentary) or that final episode left such a bad taste in my mouth that I had to walk away. I’m not such a horror fan that I’ll watch just anything, but I don’t like to read spoilers before I watch movies. It’s a dilemma, but to make good use of limited time I may start walking out more often. Especially if it’s free.