As a fan of the horror genre, I don't need much of an excuse to indulge in all things scary on the big and small screen. October, which culminates with Halloween, gives me that excuse.
I love the chill creeping down my spine when the film music signals something horrific is about to happen, my heart pounding when the monstrous killer is finally revealed, and that I sometimes need to hide behind a pillow when the film or TV programme reaches the climatic moment. When it's finished, I love laughing at how stupid I was to be scared by something not real.
Given the popularity of all things horror, I know I'm not alone. But how often has something you've seen literally made you scream out loud? Not a curse or jump. I'm talking a scream that probably made someone else jump out of their chair.
For me, the answer is twice.
The first time was during the final climatic scene of Misery.
I was 18 years old at the time, and staying at a friend's house while her parents were away. My scream was enough to make my friend run from the room and the neighbours knock on the door to check we were okay. It gave us something to laugh about for a long time afterwards.
The second time was while watching The Twilight Zone's Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, based on a short story by I Am Legend author Richard Matheson.
The idea of a hideous unexplained creature running around on an areoplane's wing, which only William Shatner's character could see, was one of the scariest things I've ever watched. I'm not exactly sure why it scared me so much, though it might have something to do with my fear of flying. The second or third time he sees the creature, face squashed against the small window, resulted in a Jamie Lee Curtis worthy scream. Everyone else watching it laughed at me.
I often wonder what it is we like about being scared. Perhaps it's because we are reminded of our own mortality or that evil can and will be defeated, or maybe it's just because afterwards we laugh with relief.
Why do you think we like horror stories so much? What films or TV programmes have literally made you scream out loud?