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Girls Are Really Scared of Horror Movies

Boyfriend and girlfriend are in the cinema, watching a highly gory movie, which we don't see. The girlfriend is really scared, hiding behind the popcorn and holding her boyfriend for comfort. He thinks he's in with a chance.

Sometimes overlaps with the old "yawn and put your arm around her" trick.

This is often inverted for humorous purposes; the guy might think the girl will be scared, but he's the one who freaks out. There's also the possibility that she's putting on an act just to get closer to the guy (Similarly, when it's played straight, the guy might deliberately take his squeamish girlfriend to a scary movie so she'll freak out and want him to hold her). But for maximum heartwarming points, combine the two; the girl can tell that her boyfriends is terrified but too macho to admit it, and plays the Damsel in Distress to make him feel better.

This trope isn't usually true in real life, but is sometimes played with strangely. Given that, according to a well known psychological study, fear triggers romantic attraction (presumably when the fear is caused by something present in the environment and not the second person's actions, although some tropes might say otherwise), attending a horror movie might be a particularly good decision for a first date. Also, a second study found that girls and women would often act more scared (either unconsciously or through deliberation) if they watched a movie with a date than they would act if they were watching the same movie alone. It also found that guys would act less scared when watching a movie with a girl than if they were watching it alone.

Compare Kids Shouldn't Watch Horror Films.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Subverted in Toradora!: Minori Kushieda pretends to be scared senseless by all things horror when, in fact, she loves horror movies and thus, encourages others to try scaring her.
  • Played straight in an episode of Kanon with Ayu and Yuuichi, during which Ayu displays an immense variety in her trademark "Uguu~!" catch phrase.
  • Ranma ½: Akane gets scared stiff watching horror movies or other fake scary stuff—but produce a real monster, and she switches to fearless Action Girl mode. (Yes, Ranma usually winds up having to rescue her anyway, but it's his name in the title.)
  • Kozue does it to Godai in Maison Ikkoku as part of her cunning yet innocent plot to ensnare him.
  • Inverted in Urusei Yatsura chapter 36: when Ataru and Lum go for a ride on a "horror coaster", Lum actually frightens the "monsters" instead of being frightened by them. Whenever Ataru's paying attention, though, she pretends to be frightened, just to have a reason to cling to him.
  • Ayase in Midori no Hibi fakes this to have an excuse to grab Seiji. She even pre-watches the film to know when the best times to be "scared". Unfortunately for her, her four attempts at this were mistimed and she misses.
  • Gets extremely inverted in Franken Fran. The title female character is utterly unfazed by the horror movie she's watching while everyone else runs away screaming and weeping tears of fright. The extreme inversion? The guys running away in fright were monsters themselves.
    Fran: What's the matter, guys? It's just a movie. People are more scared of you than you are of them.
  • Kanu and Chouhi in Koihime†Musou: Sure, they're brave warriors, but present them something scary and they'll run with their tails or cling to Chouun. Which in turn gives Chouun an Immodest Orgasm.
  • In an episode of Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch where the characters explore a supposedly haunted house, a female character who only appears in that episode pretends to be scared in order to hook up with main man Kaito. Of course, when real ghosts show up courtesy of a member of the Quirky Miniboss Squad, she freaks out for real.
  • Inverted in D.N.Angel during the carnival date arc, where Wiz (disguised as Dark and Daisuke) is hauled to a horror movie and then a haunted house by Risa and Riku. The twins thoroughly enjoy themselves. Wiz... doesn't.
  • Invoked by Matsuri in Sola where she drags Yorito into an empty movie theatre and states, that couples should always go to a horror movie.
  • In Kimi ni Todoke it's both averted and played straight Chizuru and Ayane and Sawako. The former hates them and latter two like them.
  • Tsukasa of Lucky Star hates horror movies, but when her sister Kagami and friend Konata want to see one (in the Saw series, if you're curious), she can't bring herself to decline to go watch it with them.
  • Subverted in Yankee-kun To Megane-chan: Shinagawa takes a date to a zombie movie with this in mind. Not only is the girl unaffected by the movie, two male friends they run into at the theater spend the entire movie clinging to Shinagawa in terror.
  • THE iDOLM@STER - Yukiho and Makoto get really scared of Iori's ghost stories.
  • Among her circle of friends from Card Captor Sakura, only Sakura herself is afraid of spooky things due to her brother constantly telling her stories of ghosts haunting her family when she was young.
  • Inverted with Futari Ecchi, where leading lady Yura is a real gore hound, while her husband is the one afraid of horror movies (and theme park attractions). This is her only really "unladylike" trait.
  • Downplayed in Kotoura-san; Haruka during the first part of episode 6 when the ESP club is going through an abandoned hospital that her grandfather deliberately left them at. Interestingly, neither Yuriko nor Moritani, the other girls seem scared of it, despite Kotoura clinging onto them.
  • After Chiya's story in episode 3 of Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka?, Cocoa and Sharo are shown to be pretty traumatized, Rize is later shown to have been just as affected. Chiya on the other hand subverts the trope by not only loving scary stories, but reacts to them like some would a love story.

    Comicbooks 
  • There's a comic in Archie Comics where Betty is a great fan of horror films... Veronica can't stand them, but on the advice of Jughead, she buys Betty a ticket to a marathon of 10 horror movies (to get it out of Betty's system). Betty at first asks Veronica to come with her; turns out the ticket's for two (too scary to watch on your own). Veronica says no way — can't Betty find someone else? Quick realization: The only person in town who really loves horror films the way Betty does is... Archie. And, of course, they use the shows as a great chance to cuddle in "terror". ("Think this'll be scarier than the last one?" "Oooh, Archie... I hope so!" kinda thing)
    • Another Archie cover had Archie insisting that horror films didn't scare him, and Betty asking why, then, he was biting her nails.
    • Another comic has a variation when Veronica's fear of them leads to Archie trying to cure it. Since it was a rented movie, he rewinds to the scary parts so Veronica can see it's not as bad as she thought it was. His plan backfires, since she now wants to watch horror films in the cinema... which costs a lot more than renting.
    • One of the early issues of Archie's Weird Mysteries, has Betty sitting down to watch a scary movie on TV (that all of her friends are too scared to watch with her/don't like horror movies), when she screams out loud — when it turns out that it's been interrupted by a "Young Frankstein" knockoff instead. then the killer from Scream takes over her TV.
    • In yet another comic, Archie decides to help Betty get over her fear of horror movies by renting the most terrifying ones at the store. By the time they get through all of them, Betty is in love with horror movies, but Archie can no longer enjoy them...
    • One comic has a boy renting a horror video to watch with Sabrina, for the reason in the trope's description. Turns out she thinks it's hilarious, and the events in her house freak the guy out, and he bails.
  • During a nine-part serial that reveal her to the world, the Silver Age Supergirl fakes this to please her boyfriend.

    Fan Fiction 
  • In Kyon Big Damn Hero, Kyon's sister's friend Miyoko loves horror movies and invites him to see Saw with her. On the other hand, Haruhi invites herself and Mikuru along, and to say the least, they don't take it in as much strideexactly as Haruhi planned.
  • Inverted in one Naruto/Hinata fan comic, in which Naruto watches a movie with Team 8. Hinata thinks to herself that the movie is too badly made to scare her enough to jump into Naruto's lap. Eventually, however, Naruto jumps into hers, and Shino thinks that it's an unexpected way of getting the desired outcome.
  • Averted in My Immortal; Satan and Ebony laugh at The Exercise (although the author has obviously never seen it, as it is described like a slasher film).
  • Somewhat inverted in ' 'A Fanciful Dream' ', Bella claims that her paranoia is due to a horror movie, when she's really just paranoid over hearing a conversation in the hospital bathroom.
  • This Power Rangers S.P.D. fic has a two-girl version between Z and Syd. Z feels pretty pleased with herself until something scares *her*; cue role reversal and Syd revealing she had the same idea in mind.
    It was the oldest trick in the book, tried and true: hot girl plus scary movie equaled lots of clinging in the dark.

    Literature 
  • Inverted: New Moon had Bella inviting one of the minor male characters to see a film, and it turned out to be a horror/action flick. She found it boring. The guy she was with was so terrified that he had to leave the cinema.
  • Ovid recommends taking your girlfriend to the gladiator games in his book the Art of Love -making this Older Than Feudalism.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Thoroughly subverted in Scream 4, where Kirby is a huge fan of horror movies.
    • Also subverted with Casey and Sidney in the first film. The former was getting ready to watch one when Ghostface called, and while the latter doesn't like horror movies, that's mainly because she thinks they're cliched and misogynistic rather than scary.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Sergeant Bilko:
    Major Thorn: If any of this is frightening, just hold onto me.
    Rita: They're dancing Raisinettes.
    Major Thorn: And you don't find that terrifying?
  • Inverted with Mr. Bean. Then again, he's The Ditz.
    • It's pretty funny and a huge Canon Discontinuity when you realize the episode where he goes on the roller coaster and everybody is scared shitless and he's so bored he falls asleep in the ride.
    • He fell asleep on a ride in the 1996 movie because it wasn't going fast enough for his liking. He tweaked the controls to make it go faster, and then he enjoyed the ride while everyone else was catapulted from their seats.
    • Also, it's not implausible that someone could hate scary movies, and love scary rides (or vice versa). Considering they're two completely different kinds of scares...
  • Parodied in That '70s Show in one of the Halloween episodes. The gang goes to see The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), but the only one scared is Kelso. The rest of the gang are either lampshading Death by Sex, pointing out Fridge Logic or simply commenting on the skill of one of the actors (in a bored monotone).
  • On Stargate Atlantis, Rodney McKay once tells the story of how he took a girl to see Alien, planning on using this trope to its full extent. However, while the girl he chose to take did get clingy when nervous, Rodney forgot that he eats when nervous...and ended up vomiting all over the poor girl.
  • Averted in Charmed; Phoebe's favorite movie is, in fact, a ridiculously named B-horror Show Within a Show.
  • In an episode of Saved by the Bell, Zach takes multiple dates to the same horror movie to look for the one with the best scream & cuddle combo. The first girl is too busy talking away to notice the scary parts, the second is more concerned with running out of popcorn, the third keeps chanting "kill him!" and the fourth one gets it right. Kelly was shown having the same reaction to the movie earlier in the episode.
  • In a variant, the young woman visiting Murderers' Row at a wax museum on The Twilight Zone gets scared by the realistic figures, and her date reassures her.
  • El Chavo del ocho: Dona Clotilde once invited Don Ramon to watch a movie about earthquakes. She commented about how couples usually hug each other during scary parts and he quickly... invited a beautiful woman who had recently moved into the Vencidad.
  • In Degrassi, Paige and her Pet Homosexual Marco both would scream their heads off at horror movies.
  • Played with in an episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun when Tommy rents a scary movie to watch with his love interest Alissa, hoping to invoke this trope. However, Sally and Harry show up and decide to help by making things even scarier in real life, dressing Harry up as an actual Serial Killer outside the window. Tommy proves to be a Dirty Coward and Alissa is unimpressed.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Norwegian comic strip Nemi has one comic where this is inverted. The scene is pretty much as described above, except gender-flipped, and the titular character herself is thinking, "Well, this isn't exactly what I had in mind when I suggested seeing a horror movie, but I suppose the results are the same..."
  • Jon hopes to comfort Liz in this manner in Garfield, but he ends up frightened instead.
  • According to Roger in an early FoxTrot strip, Andy invoked this trope on one of their first dates:
    Roger:...and if the movie got even a little bit scary, you would practically jump into my arms. Like you needed an excuse.

    Music Videos 
  • Michael Jackson's video for "Thriller".
    Now is the time for you and I to cuddle close together/All through the night I'll save you from the terror on the screen

    Radio 
  • An episode of Adventures in Odyssey bring a scary movie over for a sleepover. The girls started to get freaked, although they tried not to show it.

    Roleplay 

    Video Games 

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons: The episode "Colonel Homer" has one scene in which Bart and Lisa go to see Space Mutants VI:
    Bart: If you don't watch the violence, you'll never get desensitized to it.
    Lisa (covering her eyes): Just tell me when the scary part's over.
    Bart: It's over.
    Lisa: [uncovers her eyes]
    [the movie theater is bathed in red as we hear blood spurting]
    Lisa: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh!
    • Factor in age and it stops falling into this trope.
    • There was also one of the original Tracey Ullman Simpsons shorts, where Bart and Lisa went to a horror movie. Bart pesters Lisa to not act "like a girl" during the scary parts. Naturally, Bart is the one who freaks out.
    • Homer and Marge tried it in a scary carnival ride.
  • In an episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Irwin tries to woo Mandy during a scary campfire story. Mandy just punches him in the ribs.
  • An episode of 6teen had the guys make a bet against the girls that they [the girls] couldn't watch the latest gore movie without vomiting. As it turned out, they were all freaked out, though the guys still won on a technicality—one of the girls threw up first.
  • The Little Rascals second-season opener "Wash and Werewolf" begins at one of Greenpoint's movie theaters, where the boys took Darla to a 3D horror movie, despite her wanting to see a romantic film at a different theater. What scared Darla was not the film itself (she didn't stay to watch it), but Alfalfa's prank before the film began.
  • Averted in Total Drama Island, where the most scared character was Gentle Giant DJ. Gwen and Izzy both liked the film (along with Duncan), while Heather and Leshawna didn't seem any more bothered than the remaining guys.
  • Backfired when attempted in Generator Rex. Instead of one girl clinging to each of the boys, both latched onto Rex. Didn't work well when tried with a haunted house, either.

    Real Life 
  • Justified Trope in that if this didn't happen, (see the above mentioned studies) the Haunted Attraction industry would be out of business. Wandering around in the dark, using your boyfriend/dad/bigbrother as a meat shield against the various Serial Killer Clowns, Masked Psychos, Brain-Eating Zombies, and Little Girls with Hair in Front of Their Eyes? Getting to SCREAM your lungs out, potentially shattering the eardrums of people blocks away? Admit it, "It's FUN to be scared!"
  • Though this trope isn't Truth in Television most of the time, you are probably more likely to find a girl who'll admit that she's scared of horror movies, probably because many people think this trope exists in Real Life.
  • Subverted, in that a number of horror franchises marketed towards girls. It's a TV series, of course, but almost every episode in seasons one to three of Supernatural was structured like a horror movie (with a good number of scares), and this didn't stop it having a strong (and possibly rabid) female base. There might have been other reasons why this occurred, but it wouldn't have happened at all if all girls were really scared of horror movies. In terms of actual horror movie franchises that have been successfully aimed at girls, you have the Ginger Snaps and Whispering Corridors movies, among others.
  • South Korea and Hong Kong have pretty much made an industry out of horror movies aimed at girls and women, reflecting women's experiences and concerns with a massive dose of drama. Good (or at least decent) quality examples include A Tale of Two Sisters, Cello, The original The Eye movies, Koma, the Whispering Corridors series, D-Day and The Red Shoes 2005.
  • Vincent Price joked that he was truly a romantic lead, as he caused couples to get closer to each other in the theater.

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