ON HORROR STORIES
by Stef dela Cruz, MD
I’m one to enjoy movies that make me fidget in fear – the occasional scream is just as enjoyable as laughter that bubbles to the surface when I watch a comedy. One thing that makes them so much fun is the knowledge that these films are fictitious: We get scared, we get our endorphin fix, and then we go back to reality where monsters under the bed don’t exist. Many might think that watching movies is a waste of time, but I’ve learned so many things, had so many epiphanies, and shared so many memories with loved ones because of these movies. They may be escapist in nature, but so are books, music, and visual arts! Isn’t watching a movie akin to looking at a painting, except it lasts for about two hours? And if you enjoy watching movies as much as I do, check out the 13 animal horror films that Cacai Buenviaje recommends in this issue. You might also find Kisha Aleena Abuda’s piece on what’s wrong with pandemic films rather interesting. Spoiler alert: We are to blame. For an extra dose of horror, Richard Leo Ramos writes about famous animals during Halloween and their undeserved bad rap – in other words, the misunderstood monsters of the occasion. However, fact is sometimes scarier than fiction. World leaders are scrambling to meet climate change deadlines before we reach the point of no return, a pandemic continues to change our way of life, and entire species are going extinct because of human activity. What happens when the last Fish dies? Cacai Buenviaje gives a prolific answer. Where are the wild Birds? Janina Castro interviews a Bird photographer who talks about how it feels to spot wild Birds in the city – and how future generations might not enjoy the same privilege if we don’t change the way we treat our feathered friends. One fear many humans with feline companions share is the possibility that their Cats might swallow something that would necessitate surgery, such as a needle. As our resident vet Dr. Emmanuel Macapagal iterates in his piece, the key to making sure this horrific thing doesn’t happen is prevention. I’m sure that by now, you’ve noticed how I’ve capitalized the common names of animals, something I haven’t done in previous issues. I realized how scary it is to die without one’s existence being acknowledged at all, which is why with this very simple capitalization rule, Animal Scene strives to remember all the forgotten and neglected animals whose lives have been taken from them. As Sheila Castro pointed out in a past interview with Animal Scene on futures thinking, capitalizing common animal names is a way for us to admit that animals have personhood, just like us. Starting with this issue, all common animal names – Birds, Fishes, Dogs, Cats – will be capitalized to honor the animals who do not deserve to live in horror. May our collective screams of terror be caused by the movies we watch, instead of the reality to which we contribute.