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.
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 boyfriend 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.
- Cardcaptor Sakura: While she can easily handle the Clow Cards, Sakura is terrified of ghosts, in part due to Touya telling her stories about the various ghosts he saw (some of which were missing limbs or stuff like that). Whenever Naoko tells ghost stories around her, she's usually on the verge of fainting from terror.
- 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 Days 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 KoihimeMusou: 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 (Saw III, if you're curious), she can't bring herself to decline to go watch it with them.
- Subverted in Flunk Punk Rumble: 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 Idolmaster - Yukiho and Makoto get really scared of Iori's ghost stories.
- Among her circle of friends from Cardcaptor 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 Is the Order a Rabbit?, 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.
- Two examples from The Kawai Complex Guide To Manors And Hostel Behavior, both with a straight example along with an aversion:
- Played straight with Ritsu, who isn't a big fan of them, and always tries to make up some kind of excuse to not watch them, such as claiming to be sleepy while burying her face inside a pillow to avoid watching it.
- Averted with Mayumi, who enjoys them quite a bit, largely because of the fact that the happy couples in them usually get killed off. She usually watches them to cheer her up after hearing a younger coworker announce they're getting married or are dating someone, while she has terrible luck with men.
- Inverted in Tokyo Ghoul. Hinami loves to watch horror movies, but worries about them being scary and asks the others to watch them with her. But it's Banjou that ends up screaming and hiding under a blanket in terror. Made even more ironic by the fact all involved are Ghouls being scared watching a Slasher film.
- Inverted in Horimiya. Hori actually loves horror movies, while her father and Miyamura can't handle them at all. She does attempt to invoke this in chapter 37 at the suggestion of her friends in order to appear cuter to Miyamura, but everything she does just ends up scaring him instead. This would end up leading to Their First Time.
- Averted in Pokémon. According to the first volume of Pocket Monsters The Animation, Misty happens to be such a huge fan of the Horror Queen novels, she'll do anything to get her hands on them, even "borrow" them from her sisters.
- Zigzagged in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War. While there are plenty of girls terrified of the horror genre (Kaguya, Fujiwara, Maki, Erika), there are also several who either enjoy getting scared (Tsubame) or can happily watch a slasher film without batting an eye (Karen, Toyomi).
- Zigzagged in The Demon Girl Next Door. Mikan drags Yuko out to a horror movie; she wants to practice subjecting herself to something scary as training to keep her feelings in check, and doesn't want to go by herself. Mikan is a nervous wreck for half the movie...and unconscious for the other half. Yuko enjoys the movie, roots for the zombies, and cries at the end when the heroes win.
Mikan: Wait, why are you crying? What's wrong? Did you hurt yourself? I don't think it's possible for my curse to attack your stomach or anything!Yuko: That's not it... I'm just so touched... All of the zombies and ghosts, even though their guts were hanging out, they really tried their hardest to overcome the ridiculous strength of the heroes...Mikan: That was the side you were sympathizing with?!
- Sword Art Online: Asuna has repeatedly been shown to be terrified of ghosts:
- Kirito telling her a ghost story visibly unsettles her, and when she sees Yui, she mistakes the little girl for a ghost and starts freaking.
- In Hollow Realization during a sleepover event, she utterly freaks out as Lisbeth is telling a ghost story. She practically has a heart attack when she thinks a real ghost (actually Leafa who logged back in after accidentally logging out from falling asleep) pops up in the room, and later refuses to let Kirito fall asleep until she does.
- Archie Comics:
- There's a comic 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 cover had Archie insisting that horror films don't scare him, and Betty asking why, then, he is 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.
- Norwegian comic strip Nemi has one comic where this is inverted. The scene is pretty much as described above, except gender-flipped, and the title 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.
- In Kyon: Big Damn Hero, Kyon's sister's friend Miyoko loves horror movies and invites him to see Saw I 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 stride— exactly 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.
- Inverted in I Even Funnier by James Patterson. Gilda takes Jamie, Joey, and Jimmy to watch a horror movie at a theater. She was the only one who wasn't scared.
- 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.
- Subverted with Casey and Sidney in the first film. The former is getting ready to watch one when Ghostface calls, and while the latter doesn't like horror movies, that's mainly because she thinks they're cliched and misogynistic rather than scary.
- Thoroughly subverted in Scream 4, where Kirby is a huge fan of horror movies.
- One of the special features on the DVD for Cabin Fever is "Chick-Vision", which puts up the silhouettes of hands over the screen whenever a scary or gory scene is about to come up.
- 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, who goes on a date to a scary movie and loses all of his composure and popcorn while the girl screams only once. Then again, he's The Ditz.
- 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 in The Twilight Zone (1959) episode "The New Exhibit", the young woman visiting Murderers' Row at a wax museum 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.
- Played with on The Big Bang Theory where Raj's girlfriend Emily likes horror movies because she likes to be comforted during them. Raj is initially nervous about a girlfriend who likes horror movies, until the why was explained.
- 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
- 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.
- Persona 3:
- Yukari Takeba has extreme phasmophobia and is not a fan of Junpei's rather silly "Believe or Not" ghost stories.
- In Portable's female protagonist route, the final rank of Mitsuru Kirijo's Social Link involves watching a horror movie in her room. Mitsuru asks if the female protagonist would mind holding her hand. The female protagonist herself seems quite eager to watch the movie.
- Persona 4: Tough tomboys Chie and Naoto both tend to freak out when confronted with "spooky" stuff like ghost stories. In contrast, elegant Yamato Nadeshiko Yukiko is something of a Nightmare Fetishist.
- Persona 5: Makoto may normally be a tough, no-nonsense gal, but she's absolutely terrified of ghosts; when the team visits Futaba's house at night, Makoto asks to hold onto the protagonist's arm after they hear screaming, and after Futaba accidentally frightens her, Makoto begins clinging on the protagonist's leg while calling out for her sister to save her. In sharp contrast, elegant and refined Haru is a big fan of horror films.
- Persona 3:
- Inverted and mixed with Kids Shouldn't Watch Horror Films in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2: A tough-looking biker punk talks about how horror movies are overrated. A little girl standing a few feet from him, however, comments that he was freaking out and crying watching one while she appears totally unfazed.
- Lampshaded in Da Capo during Junichi's date with Mako. His reaction to her terror at having to see the movie is basically an incredulous, "Seriously? What are you, one of the main heroines of some dating sim?"
- Grisaia no Kajitsu: Yumiko is rather easily scared, that is why she stays away from her classmates' gathering of telling each other horror stories, and proved when said class decides to set up an elaborate scare prank on her. This is also why Yuuji takes her to the haunted house when they go to an amusement park on her route.
- Defied in Demonbane: a horror movie is one possible date activity the player can choose for Ruri's and Kurou's date. Ruri's butler Winfield thinks the standard cliche will play out, but Kurou and Ruri are utterly bored by the film, due to having fought against much worse things in real life.
- While this trope pays off for Gary in Ménage à 3, the next movie Zii and DiDi watch is notorious Spanish horror flick [REC]. That goes rather less well, or alternately, even better.
- Inverted here in Fanboys.
- Nimona: The eponymous character is really scared of zombie movies. Considering that she's a shapeshifter of massive power, this is rather hilarious.
- Agents of the Realm plays with this trope in variety of ways:
- Mackenzie plays it straight, to benefit of Jordan.
- Kendall underplays it, admitting to not liking horrors very much.
- Jordan and Norah invert it, as they both love horror movies.
- Utterly averted by Lilith in For The Spirit Of Creation: She was Conditioned to Accept Horror as part of being raised by a Nihl-worshipping cult, and after her HeelFace Turn, loves horror movies - in particular, she regards the Nightmare on Elm Street series as light comedy compared to the things that are really in the Nightmare Realms.
- Zig-zagged on Girlfriend Reviews. Shelby is completely unafraid of horror films, but terrified of horror video games. According to the woman herself, watching a horror film where attractive teenagers in their late twenties do stupid things that get them horribly murdered fills her with the warm smugginess, but the warm smugginess evaporates quickly when she is the one doing stupid things and getting horribly murdered.
- Amusingly inverted by Dominic Noble when he had to watch The Thing (1982) for a Lost in Adaptation episode; he was so terrified when he tried watching it by himself that he had to phone That Movie Chick to watch it with him, which she calmly and nonchalantly did as he cowered behind a pillow.
- The Simpsons:
- The episode "Colonel Homer" has one scene in which Bart and Lisa go to see Space Mutants VI. Though factor in age and it stops falling into this trope.
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)
- There was also one of the shorts on the The Tracey Ullman Show, 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.
- The episode "Colonel Homer" has one scene in which Bart and Lisa go to see Space Mutants VI. Though factor in age and it stops falling into this trope.
- 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 technicalityone 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, 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.
- Deliberately inverted in Dan Vs., where Elise prefers horror movies and Chris is absolutely terrified of them, preferring romantic comedies.
- This gem from the Gravity Falls episode "Little Gift Shop of Horrors":
- Justified Trope in that if this didn't happen, (see the above mentioned studies) the Haunted Attraction industry would be out of business. These attractions give women an excuse to get close to their boyfriends by using them 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.
- 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 than you would a guy.
- Subverted, in that a number of horror franchises are 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.