Growing up I probably would have told you that horror movies were my least favorite genre and probably the only one I didn't watch consistently. That was probably partly because I once spent an evening listening to ghost stories and creepy urban legends at a friend's house when I was seven, and it freaked me out so badly that I refused to sleep in my own bedroom for weeks afterward, so my parents pretty much refused to let me watch horror movies for fear of starting the whole thing up again. But even as a kid I was still strangely fascinated by them. I used to walk down the scary movie aisle at Blockbuster (back when Blockbuster still existed) and wonder about these movies with the creepy covers that I wasn't allowed to watch. It wasn't until I was a teenager that I finally saw a legitimate scary movie.

Over the past several months I've been watching more and more of them, and realizing that horror movies get a very undeserved bad rap among a lot of movie fans. People think they're immature or pointless because of the subject matter, or that the people who like them are freaks. I'm here today to dispel some of those notions, and hopefully to get a few more people on board with the idea that horror movies, when done right, can actually be the best kind.

They're the ones everyone remembers.

If I asked you which movies won Oscars fourteen years ago, would you be able to tell me? Unless you have an crazy savant-level memory or are the biggest Oscars devotee in the universe, I doubt it. Scary movies might not win many awards, but they certainly do make an impression. Movies that came out decades ago are still the ones that kids rent at sleepovers and people watch with dates. (Incidentally, scary movies are also a great way to make a move on a date minus the awkwardness, because you're both going to be squeezing each other.)

They have to be original to stand out.

This is where scary movies have to potential, like all other movies, to be amazing or terrible. Plenty of horror movies have been made about more or less the same subject matter: home invasion, vampires, aliens, serial killers. That doesn't mean those aren't good things to make movies about, but it means that anyone who wants to has to come up with a really original way of handling the subject matter to make the film good. Contrary to popular belief, good scary movies are not actually the same things you've seen over and over. They wouldn't be made if they were. And if you're the kind of person who likes fiction to have a message, look no further. Good horror stories have all kinds of moral and political themes to dig into once you get past the initial shock. Too many people think scary movies are shallow; the depth is there if you're just willing to wade into the story a bit.

Watching them is the only socially acceptable time to scream.

Everyone should be able to let loose with a good scream now and then. But you can't go into a regular movie (or anywhere, really) and just scream your head off; someone will either call the police or think you're crazy. Watching a scary movies are the only setting in which you're actually allowed to be scared with no judgement. So take advantage! The genre has more to offer than you think.