So says Darius Coleman, longtime lover of horror, while a man with bleeding eyes jumps into frame to the sudden, high-pitched crash of an orchestral score. It’s not the first time Coleman has sat through such a ghastly scene unfazed, and it won’t be the last. As Coleman tells it, he’s been playing games and watching films involving spooks, ghouls, and frights since he was far too young to be exposed to such material, but these days, what used to make him scared of his own shadow now doesn’t even illicit a flinch.
The 22-year-old Darius was a YouTuber back in his teenage days, treating horror with all the pomp and reverence it deserved, and then some, under the alias XxShadowRaven420xX. “Jesus titty blowjob on a horse!” cried Darius, in his playthrough of Five Nights at Freddy’s as he loaded up the menu screen. “This game is scaryyyyy!”
We asked Darius about the “jump scare,” a horror tactic in which the audience is startled by an abrupt shift in visuals or audio. Commonly derided as a mediocre method of “cheating” out shallow thrills with minimal effort, the jump scare is nonetheless a staple of both modern and classic horror in visual and audible media.
Sadly, Darius’ YouTube days did not last forever. After losing his house to a sudden creeper explosion in Minecraft, Darius’ unbridled horror gave him what he explained to be a heart attack. After rushing to the hospital, Darius vowed from that day forth to quiet his damaged heart in the face of overwhelming terror. His medical records show that the event was simply heartburn, his doctor recommending that he cut down on the pizza bagels.
But in the long run, Coleman explains, perhaps it’s better this way. Aren’t cheap, mass-produced scares superior to a world in which producers take risks to innovate the genre with ambition, gusto, and a real love for the craft that consumers interpret intelligently and passionately? For all his disappointments, Darius seems to think so.
As the interview came to a close, a beautiful woman strutted onscreen, welcoming him, a dialogue menu prompting him to respond. After a moment, Darius shrieked in fear, a scream that struck terror into my very soul. Darius powered down the console, shuddering. “Nothing can scare me,” he muttered through tears.