Thursday, February 25, 2010

NIGHTMARES: THE SCARIEST THING WE NEVER DISCUSS.


Hello Womanizers, it has been a while since I've actually "written" anything and I thought it would be necessary to let you all know what's going on. As you know, I've had a little bit of a problem with the whole "sleeping" thing. It's gotten to the point where I have unfortunately been forced to withdraw from university in order to get this thing under control and fixed. It's a very scary and strange process but I'd like to thank all of you for your get well emails and your everlasting support. It means the world to me. I promise :). So I don't sleep, and it is one of the most horrifying things in the world...but what about when I do sleep? Well, one of two things happens. Either, my body puts me into a small coma...or I am awakened from a seriously deranged and most likely 19 years of horror film induced nightmare. Which got me thinking...why don't we disuss nightmares all that often? Well, other than Freddy and his adventures on Elm Street I mean....Regardless, I'm doing it. :}Nightmares are dreams that cause strong emotional responses from the sleeper, typically fear or horror. The dream may contain situation(s) of danger, discomfort, or psychological or physical distress. Sometimes dreams include paranormal, fantastic, or imaginary situations like ghosts or monsters. Sufferers are usually woken in a state of distress, and might be unable to go back to sleep for a prolonged period. Nightmares can have physical affect such as sleeping in an uncomfortable or awkward position, moving erratically, or having a fever. Nightmares can also have emotional and psychological causes, such as stress or anxiety. Sometimes eating before bed, which triggers an increase in the body's metabolism and brain activity, is a potential stimulus for nightmares. Occasional nightmares are commonplace, but recurrent nightmares can interfere with sleeping patterns and cause insomnia, and may require medical help. In other words, nightmares can be very serious and much more than just a scary dream

Sadly, there are people that suffer from night terrors. Nightmares occur during the dream phase of sleep known as REM sleep. Most people enter the REM stage of sleep sometime after 90 minutes of sleep. The circumstances of the nightmare will frighten the sleeper, who usually will wake up with a vivid memory of a long movie-like dream. Night terrors, on the other hand, occur during a phase of deep non-REM sleep usually within an hour after the subject goes to bed. This is also known as stage 4. During a night terror, which may last anywhere from five to twenty minutes, the person is still asleep, although the sleepers eyes may be open. When the subject does wake up, they usually have no recollection of the episode other than a sense of fear. This, however, is not always the case. Quite a few people interviewed can remember portions of the night terror, and some remember the whole thing. People who suffer from night terrors often experience sudden awakening from sleep, persistent fear or terror that occurs at night, screaming, sweating, confusion, rapid heart rate, inability to explain what happened, usually no recall of "bad dreams" or nightmares, may have a vague sense of frightening images. Many people see spiders, snakes, animals or people in the room, are unable to fully awake, difficult to comfort, with no memory of the event on awakening the next day.

For simplicity, when it comes to films exploiting nightmares...Wes Craven did it most notably. It may not be the best, but it is the one we all know and love. How freaking scary is it that you can't sleep? I for one know firsthand that lack of sleep causes major problems. Other than the fact you walk around the earth like a zombie, you also will eventually start to hallucinate. There was a straight up zombie outbreak in my dorm hallway...I saw it. I swear. I also saw excessive amounts of spiders crawling out of the creek by my dorm and my roommate had 4 heads at one point. It's scary. So you can't sleep which causes all these problems but when you DO sleep you're attacked by a burned up/child killing/razor hand man...what the fuck are you supposed to do? It's a proven fact that you'll die from sleep deprivation before starvation so in reality...you're sort of screwed. Why we haven't marketed more off of this shocks me. Not to say there aren't other films that include nightmares (chances are I've seen that weird obscure film from Switzerland but I'm not mentioning it for simplicity, so please don't say "but what about this film" because the regular non-horror obsessed population hasn't seen it...) but you have to be realistic that we haven't had them all that often. When we DO have them, they're only a small bit of the film. Perfect example: Orphan. When the reviews started spewing out whether positive or negative, it seemed to be the general consensus that the opening nightmare scene was horrifying. I have to agree. It was seriously terrifying and was a fantastic way to start the film. The same could be said for H2. As much as I detest that piece of trash, the opening nightmare is phenomenal.No matter what we're afraid of, where we live, how nice our bed is, or who we are...everyone is vulnerable to the tortures of our unconscious. Do yourself a favor, and get some sleep...if you dare.

oh, and here's the new nightmare on elm street trailer. just because :)

11 comment(s):

Planet of Terror said...

'to withdraw from university' Are you turning into a Brit? :)

Great post BJ-C. I hope you get to feeling better and some much needed, nightmare free sleep.

Kapprika said...

I'm sorry to hear you're still having such problems regarding sleep. I hope you will recover soon.
Great post, by the way.

forestofthedead said...

This is an awesome, thought provoking post. I too hope you get to sleeping more healthy soon.

John said...

Unfortunately for me I can never manage a decent dream it seems, or at least not one I can remember when morning rolls around. But the last one I had, probably 3 or 4 months ago was the first "nightmare" I've had in many years. I don't remember all the details, but I remember that it was sexual and that it involved the ancient politician Ross Perot. I woke suddenly and violently, sweating and terrified.

Good luck with your future unconsciousness attempts. I hope the Ross Perot incubus doesn't get you.

The Curious Cat said...

My mum suffers from night terrors - I often sleep in her room and have to talk her out of them. It is so strange...you've made me think I should perhaps go away and research them a bit more...

Nightmare on Elm Street?! A new one...gosh! I just watched the trailer at work and jumped scaring my co-worker! Oh dear! I do love it when I pop over to your site - I get all the horror news I need! :) xxx

MacReady said...

I used to have a dram as a kid that the Predator was in my bathroom waiting to kill me. Sounds silly now but it scared the shit out of me when I was 9.

Coop said...

Interesting article BJC! I wrote one late last year regarding "The Fourth Kind" and night terrors including "the old hag effect". Check it... http://www.smalltowncritic.com/2009/08/24/scary-trailer-for-the-fourth-kind-inspires-dark-side-to-teach-you-how-to-defend-against-alien-abductions-seriously/

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear you're having the tortures of insomnia.

Matt-suzaka said...

Great post, and yeah, nightmares are scary as all hell and I have had a few recurring nightmares since I was a kid. While they really scare me, they are still kinda cool in a way. Something about them is exhilarating and to wake up and realize you're "okay" is sort of a great feeling. But I do stress sort of.

I think the reason why people do not speak of their dreams all that much, is partially due to them being pretty fucking frightening. But I also think that it is so difficult to explain a nightmare sometimes. Nightmares are filled with an overwhelming sense of dread and it's hard to explain dread to someone else. Outside of death, it's difficult to even explain why we are afraid of anything at all...we just are. Why am I afraid of sharks? Because I think they're scary.

As for nightmares in cinema, there certainly are a lot of movies with nightmare in them, but only a handful focus on them for an entire runtime. However, there are a lot of films that are almost entirely of a dreamlike quality, and while not being about dreams/nightmares, they are like, or are dreams/nightmares. A few examples that spring to mind are Audition, or Suspiria, films that as they unfold, get stranger, and scarier, but also carry a sense of dread, like a dream. There was also this badass TV show back in the day about dreaming and it had this hot genie chick in it. Great show.

Cheesemeister said...

I've had nightmares and insomnia all my life. I also get sleep paralysis on occasion. If I ever had a week of normal sleep, I'd probably die of shock.

Kat K. said...

I've had nightmares before. While I'm dreaming they're scary. When you wake up from them they're still scary. But I think that part of the reason a lot of people don't generally talk about them could be that when you wake up in the morning the dream wasn't really as scary as we imagined it to be. Something about shadows in the night are scarier than any shadow in the day can ever be. If you catch my drift.

Hope you get your sleeping-ness all sorted!! xx

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