My husband and I have noticed that, since becoming atheists, many scary movies just aren't as scary any more. We now have a lot more trouble suspending our disbelief. Anything involving ghosts, demons, etc., just doesn't do the trick for us like it used to.
I guess when you believe in a god and an afterlife, there's all sorts of "unknowns" that you have to be open to. And scary movies can really take advantage of this. But once you've decided that what you see is what you get in life, suddenly horror movies have to work a little harder to be effective.
Any else notice this? Do scary movies just not work as well on atheists?
(As an aside, the movie The Descent is really scary and based on a scenario that jives with evolution. I recommend it if you feel like really freaking out the cats with your sudden screaming.)
Speaking for myself as a movie fag, I don't think most horror movies are all that scary anyway. This is more a storytelling and tension-building issue. But horror movies have often been low budget pieces of crap, so it's no wonder that they aren't very scary after you grow up.
That said, horror movies do lean on the idea of an afterlife or a soul or the supernatural in general. These concepts can be difficult to take seriously and since we, as atheists, generally don't take these concepts seriously, we can't help but notice when they bungle their own concepts.
I'll put you an example: Star Trek the Motion Picture. Okay, so it's not a horror movie. more like a potent sleep aid. But the premise of the story, and what was treated like a big mystery the entire movie until the very end
Commander Spock: V'Ger must evolve. Its knowledge has reached the limits of this universe and it must evolve. What it requires of its god, doctor, is the answer to its question, "Is there nothing more"? Commander Leonard 'Bones' McCoy, M.D.: What more is there than the universe, Spock? Commander Willard Decker: Other dimensions. Higher levels of being. Commander Spock: The existence of which cannot be proven logically. Therefore, V'Ger is incapable of believing in them. Captain James T. Kirk: What it needs in order to evolve... is a human quality. Our capacity to leap beyond logic.
What does that even mean?
Such bumbling or simply throwing out such concepts half-baked does not mean it's impossible to enjoy horror or sci-fi movies. We can suspend belief on such things. H.P. Lovecraft was an atheist and he created a pantheon of gods much worse than YHWH although slightly more worthy of worship. We're just more knowledgable on such matters so we can tell when the filmmakers are pulling bullshit out of a horse's ass.
I think horror movies do a pretty good job of ruining themselves these days. I used to love horror movies, but most of the ones in theatres now are crap. I can't remember many instances when I was actually sacared during a horror movie, much less after. I liked The Descent, the creepiness factor was pretty good in that movie. And the remake of Dawn of the Dead scared me in the beginning, because I hadn't seen the trailers and I was expecting the zombies to be slow, lol. I think the problem with modern horror movies is that they have all these stupid cg effects now. I think the freakiest movies are the ones where the creature or whatever is always just barely out of sight and you don't see it until the end, if at all. But crappy computer generated monsters make it difficult to suspend disbelief.
"Somewhat" is my answer, though. Since instead of getting scared of it, I found it funny.
Not a long ago, all horror films are turns into comedy for me. It started when I was not yet an atheist, I used to laugh out loud when the victims (main characters) are getting killed by the story hero (killer). You know — that pure stupidity of tripping on purpose, looking back and screaming their lungs out instead of running, and sometimes the funny way a fake shark swims — laugh, laugh, laugh "Hahaha serves you right 'cause you're an idiot".
When I became an atheist, the humor dissipated... only disappointment on watching them settled in.
Here's a tip for you: If you and your husband can't enjoy the taboo horror movie anymore, do what I do. Look for something really scary.