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Alice and Bob are in the cinema, watching a highly gory movie, which we don't see. Alice is really scared, hiding behind the popcorn and holding Bob for comfort. Bob thinks he's in with a chance.
Sometimes overlaps with the old "yawn and put your arm around her" trick.
This is often inverted for humorous purposes; the guy might think the girl will be scared, but he's the one who freaks out. There's also the possibility that she's putting on an act just to get closer to Bob (Similarly, when it's played straight, the guy might deliberately take his squeamish girlfriend to a scary movie so she'll freak out and want him to hold her). But for maximum heartwarming points, combine the two; Alice can tell that Bob is terrified but too macho to admit it, and plays the Damsel in Distress to make him feel better.
This trope isn't usually true in real life, but is sometimes played with strangely. Given that, according to a well known psychological study, fear triggers romantic attraction (presumably when the fear is caused by something present in the environment and not the second person's actions, although some tropes might say otherwise), attending a horror movie might be a particularly good decision for a first date. Also, a second study found that girls and women would often act more scared (either unconsciously or through deliberation) if they watched a movie with a date than they would act if they were watching the same movie alone. It also found that guys would act less scared when watching a movie with a girl than if they were watching it alone.
Compare Kids Shouldn't Watch Horror Films.
Anime and Manga
- Subverted in Toradora!: Minori Kushieda pretends to be scared senseless by all things horror when, in fact, she loves horror movies and thus, encourages others to try scaring her.
- Played straight in an episode of Kanon with Ayu and Yuuichi, during which Ayu displays an immense variety in her trademark "Uguu~!" Catch Phrase.
- Ranma 1/2: Akane gets scared stiff watching horror movies or other fake scary stuff--but produce a real monster, and she switches to fearless Action Girl mode. (Yes, Ranma usually winds up having to rescue her anyway, but it's his name in the title.)
- Kozue does it to Godai in Maison Ikkoku as part of her cunning yet innocent plot to ensnare him.
- Inverted in Urusei Yatsura chapter 36: when Ataru and Lum go for a ride on a "horror coaster", Lum actually frightens the "monsters" instead of being frightened by them. Whenever Ataru's paying attention, though, she pretends to be frightened, just to have a reason to cling to him.
- Ayase in Midori no Hibi fakes this to have an excuse to grab Seiji. She even pre-watches the film to know when the best times to be "scared". Unfortunately for her, her four attempts at this were mistimed and she misses.
- Gets extremely inverted in Franken Fran. The title female character is utterly unfazed by the horror movie she's watching while everyone else runs away screaming and weeping tears of fright. The extreme inversion? The guys running away in fright were monsters themselves.
Fran: What's the matter, guys? It's just a movie. People are more scared of you than you are of them.
- Kanu and Chouhi in Koihime Musou: Sure, they're brave warriors, but present them something scary and they'll run with their tails or cling to Chouun. Which in turn gives Chouun an Immodest Orgasm.
- In an episode of Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch where the characters explore a supposedly haunted house, a female character who only appears in that episode pretends to be scared in order to hook up with main man Kaito. Of course, when real ghosts show up courtesy of a member of the Quirky Miniboss Squad, she freaks out for real.
- Inverted in D.N.Angel during the carnival date arc, where Wiz (disguised as Dark and Daisuke) is hauled to a horror movie and then a haunted house by Risa and Riku. The twins thoroughly enjoy themselves. Wiz... doesn't.
- Invoked by Matsuri in Sola where she drags Yorito into an empty movie theatre and states, that couples should always go to a horror movie.
- In Kimi ni Todoke it's both averted and played straight by Chizuru, Ayane and Sawako. The former hates them and latter two like them.
- Tsukasa of Lucky Star hates horror movies, but when her sister Kagami and friend Konata want to see one (in the Saw series, if you're curious), she can't bring herself to decline to go watch it with them.
- Subverted in Yankee-kun to Megane-chan: Shinagawa takes a date to a zombie movie with this in mind. Not only is the girl unaffected by the movie, two male friends they run into at the theater spend the entire movie clinging to Shinagawa in terror.
- THE iDOLM@STER - Yukiho and Makoto get really scared of Iori's ghost stories.
- Among her circle of friends, only Sakura is afraid of spooky things.
- Madoka Ayukawa from Kimagure Orange Road is normally tough and fearless, but she's TERRIFIED of ghosts and anything supernatural.
- There's a comic in Archie Comics where Betty is a great fan of horror films... Veronica can't stand them, but on the advice of Jughead, she buys Betty a ticket to a marathon of 10 horror movies (to get it out of Betty's system). Betty at first asks Veronica to come with her; turns out the ticket's for two (too scary to watch on your own). Veronica says no way — can't Betty find someone else? Quick realization: The only person in town who really loves horror films the way Betty does is... Archie. And, of course, they use the shows as a great chance to cuddle in "terror". ("Think this'll be scarier than the last one?" "Oooh, Archie... I hope so!" kinda thing)
- Another Archie cover had Archie insisting that horror films didn't scare him, and Betty asking why, then, he was biting her nails.
- Another comic has a variation when Veronica's fear of them leads to Archie trying to cure it. Since it was a rented movie, he rewinds to the scary parts so Veronica can see it's not as bad as she thought it was. His plan backfires, since she now wants to watch horror films in the cinema... which costs a lot more than renting.
- One of the early issues of Archie's Weird Mysteries, has Betty sitting down to watch a scary movie on TV (that all of her friends are too scared to watch with her/don't like horror movies), when she screams out loud — when it turns out that it's been interrupted by a "Young Frankstein" knockoff instead. then the killer from Scream takes over her TV.
- In yet another comic, Archie decides to help Betty get over her fear of horror movies by renting the most terrifying ones at the store. By the time they get through all of them, Betty is in love with horror movies, but Archie can no longer enjoy them...
- One comic has a boy renting a horror video to watch with Sabrina, for the reason in the trope's description. Turns out she thinks it's hilarious, and the events in her house freak the guy out, and he bails.
- During a nine-part serial that reveal her to the world, the Silver Age Supergirl fake this to please her boyfriend.
- In Kyon: Big Damn Hero, Kyon's sister's friend Miyoko loves horror movies and invites him to see Saw with her. On the other hand, Haruhi invites herself and Mikuru along, and to say the least, they don't take it in as much stride-- exactly as Haruhi planned.
- Inverted in one Naruto/Hinata fan comic, in which Naruto watches a movie with Team 8. Hinata thinks to herself that the movie is too badly made to scare her enough to jump into Naruto's lap. Eventually, however, Naruto jumps into hers, and Shino thinks that it's an unexpected way of getting the desired outcome.
Films -- Live-Action
- Thoroughly subverted in Scream 4, where Kirby is a huge fan of horror movies.
- In Sergeant Bilko:
Major Thorn: If any of this is frightening, just hold onto me.
Rita: They're dancing Raisinettes.
Major Thorn: And you don't find that terrifying?
- Inverted with Mr. Bean. Then again, he's The Ditz.
- It's pretty funny and a huge Canon Dis Continuity when you realize the episode where he goes on the roller coaster and everybody is scared shitless and he's so bored he falls asleep in the ride.
- He fell asleep on a ride in the 1996 movie because it wasn't going fast enough for his liking. He tweaked the controls to make it go faster, and then he enjoyed the ride while everyone else was catapulted from their seats.
- Also, it's not implausible that someone could hate scary movies, and love scary rides (or vice versa). Considering they're two completely different kinds of scares...
- Parodied in That 70s Show in one of the Halloween episodes. The gang goes to see The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but the only one scared is Kelso. The rest of the gang are either lampshading Death by Sex, pointing out Fridge Logic or simply commenting on the skill of one of the actors (in a bored monotone).
- On Stargate Atlantis, Rodney McKay once tells the story of how he took a girl to see Alien, planning on using this trope to its full extent. However, while the girl he chose to take did get clingy when nervous, but Rodney forgot that he eats when nervous...and ends up vomiting all over the poor girl.
- Averted in Charmed; Phoebe's favorite movie is, in fact, a ridiculously named B-horror Show Within a Show.
- In an episode of Saved by the Bell, Zach takes multiple dates to the same horror movie to look for the one with the best scream & cuddle combo. The first girl is too busy talking away to notice the scary parts, the second is more concerned with running out of popcorn, the third keeps chanting "kill him!" and the fourth one gets it right. Kelly was shown having the same reaction to the movie earlier in the episode.
- In a variant, the young woman visiting Murderers' Row at a wax museum on The Twilight Zone gets scared by the realistic figures, and her date reassures her.
- Norwegian comic strip Nemi has one comic where this is inverted. The scene is pretty much as described above, except gender-flipped, and the titular character herself is thinking, "Well, this isn't exactly what I had in mind when I suggested seeing a horror movie, but I suppose the results are the same..."
- Jon hopes to comfort Liz in this manner in Garfield, but he ends up frightened instead.
- According to Roger in an early FoxTrot strip, Andy invoked this trope on one of their first dates:
Roger:...and if the movie got even a little bit scary, you would practically jump into my arms. Like you needed an excuse.
- Michael Jackson's video for "Thriller".
Now is the time for you and I to cuddle close together/All through the night I'll save you from the terror on the screen
- An episode of Adventures in Odyssey bring a scary movie over for a sleepover. The girls started to get freaked, although they tried not to show it.
- Lampshaded in Da Capo during Junichi's date with Mako. His reaction to her terror at having to see the movie is basically an incredulous, "Seriously? What are you, one of the main heroines of some dating sim?"
- The final rank of Mitsuru Kirijo's Social Link involves watching a horror movie in her room. Mitsuru asks if the Female Protagonist would mind holding her hand. The Female Protagonist herself seems quite eager to watch the movie.
- Inverted in School Days: one of the very first signs that Kotonoha Katsura is more than just a shy Shrinking Violet is that she LIKES horror movies.
- A sort-of fantasy version happens in Fire Emblem Fates, where Princess Sakura HATES horror tales and legends. Her Cool Big Sis Princess Azura, who likes such stuff, trolls her a bit about it in their supports.
- While this trope pays off for Gary in Ménage à 3, the next movie Zii and DiDi watch is notorious Spanish horror flick REC. That goes rather less well, or alternately, even better.
- Inverted here in Fanboys.
- The Simpsons The episode "Colonel Homer" has one scene in which Bart and Lisa go to see Space Mutants VI:
Bart: If you don't watch the violence, you'll never get desensitized to it.
Lisa (covering her eyes): Just tell me when the scary part's over.
Bart: It's over.
Lisa: [uncovers her eyes]
[the movie theater is bathed in red as we hear blood spurting]
- Factor in age and it stops falling into this trope.
- There was also one of the original Tracey Ullman Simpsons shorts were Bart and Lisa went to a horror movie. Bart pesters Lisa to not act "like a girl" during the scary parts. Naturally, Bart is the one who freaks out.
- In an episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, Irwin tries to woo Mandy during a scary campfire story. Mandy just punches him in the ribs.
- An episode of 6Teen had the guys make a bet against the girls that they couldn't watch the latest gore movie without vomiting. As it turned out, they were all freaked out, though the guys still won on a technicality—one of the girls threw up first.
- The Little Rascals cartoon episode "Wash and Werewolf" begins at one of Greenpoint's movie theaters, where the boys took Darla to a 3D horror movie, despite her wanting to see a romantic film at a different theater. What scared Darla was not the film itself (she didn't stay to watch it), but Alfalfa's prank before the film began.
- Averted in Total Drama Island, where the most scared character was Gentle Giant DJ. Gwen and Izzy both liked it (along with Duncan), while Heather and Leshawna didn't seem any more bothered than the remaining guys.
- Backfired when attempted in Generator Rex. Instead of one girl clinging to each of the boys, both latched onto Rex. Didn't work well when tried with a haunted house either.
- Though this trope isn't Truth in Television most of the time, you are probably more likely to find a girl who'll admit that she's scared of horror movies, probably because many people think this trope exists in Real Life.
- Subverted, in that a number of horror franchises marketed towards girls. It's a tv series, of course, but almost every episode in series 1-3 Supernatural was structured like a horror movie (with a good number of scares) , and this didn't stop it having a strong (possibly rabid) female base. There might have been other reasons why this occurred, but it wouldn't have happened at all if all girls were really scared of horror movies. In terms of actual horror movie franchises that have been successfully aimed at girls, you have the Ginger Snaps and Whispering Corridors movies, among others.
- South Korea and Hong Kong have pretty much made an industry out of horror movies aimed at girls and women, reflecting women's experiences and concerns with a massive dose of drama. Good (or at least decent) quality examples include A Tale of Two Sisters, Cello, The original The Eye movies, Koma, the Whispering Corridors series, D-Day and The Red Shoes.