Thursday 20 June 2019

Ian O'Doherty: 'Why this horror buff envies the real-life exorcists'

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Ian O'Doherty

Ian O'Doherty

In many ways, horror movies are a drug and we horror buffs are the junkies. As one's tolerance for scares increases, you have to dig deeper to get your fix. It also, like sustained drug abuse, leads to a certain deadening of the senses.

I can't remember the last time I was genuinely frightened by a movie.

In fact, perhaps the one which unsettled me more than any other wasn't even a horror film but was actually a little-known American TV movie from the 1990s called Alien Abduction: The McPherson Tape. It was about a family being abducted by aliens and was one of the first examples of the then emerging found-footage genre. It's actually really good, if you ever get the chance to watch it. So, despite devouring every new horror that comes out, I'm still forlornly chasing that dragon hoping, but failing, to get that delicious thrill of feeling every hair standing to attention.

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As someone who used to sneak down the stairs in the middle of the night when my parents had gone to bed just to watch the latest video nasty, I can say with genuine regret that it is years since I have been genuinely spooked.

Maybe I'm in the wrong religion? This week saw a gathering of exorcists in the Vatican who have arrived to swap the best tips on telling Beelzebub to feck off. I truly, deeply envy them. How cool must it be to think that you are actually living in a real horror movie?

Sadly, the only things that go bump in the night are creaking floorboards. Having said that, I once received a letter from a lady who had several exorcisms performed in her suburban Dublin home. She was freaked beyond belief and her tale was undeniably weird.

So in my futile efforts to become scared again, if any readers have an example of a place they think is haunted, I'd love to hear from them.

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