When I was a kid, I wasn't allowed to watch TV. Most of the time this seemed fine enough because I'd been fooled that TV was not unlike a hot stove. But, like a kid, I wanted to touch the stove and I wanted to see what was on the TV. So one day when I was supposed to be napping, I snuck down to the TV and turned it on.
What I saw must have been a made-for-TV movie based in some sort of rapey plot, Lifetime-style. Because there was a woman's body, in the woods, and her earring had been ripped through her ear. The scary music playing swelled; she must have just been murdered. I immediately turned the TV off.
But I always remembered with total recall the dozen seconds I had seen. It was seared into my brain and it became the scariest thing in the world. The fear wasn't rooted in story--I didn't worry I would be in the woods--it was fear itself. If I was feeling sad, or angry, or vulnerable in any way I would see that earring and feel terrified. It hovered the edges of my conscious waiting to cripple me. Eventually as I grew older I started to fight back. When the image would appear, I would talk myself down from the fear. I would pretend it was just a regular image in my mind, no big deal. I would think about something else as hard as I could. So it started coming into my dreams and I would dream that I knew her or I would dream it was me.
As an adult I feel like I can stare it down and be smarter than it. But it's still there. I can still see it. It just doesn't own me anymore. Only now, 20 years later, can I rub my ear without instantly shuddering.
So, no, I don't like scary movies.