A confession: I have never seen a zombie movie. In fact, to the best of my knowledge, I’ve only seen three horror movies to completion in my entire life. No. 1, early 1990s: “Candyman,” about an urban legend in which the title character can be called forth by repeating his name in front of a mirror, “Bloody Mary”-style.

A confession: I have never seen a zombie movie. In fact, to the best of my knowledge, I’ve only seen three horror movies to completion in my entire life.


No. 1, early 1990s: “Candyman,” about an urban legend in which the title character can be called forth by repeating his name in front of a mirror, “Bloody Mary”-style. When a college student begins investigating the myth, the bodies begin piling up.


I saw this movie with a co-ed group of high school friends in someone’s rec room. I don’t remember much about it, but I assume it was great for all the reasons teenage boys like watching scary movies with teenage girls.


I also assume I did not scream like a little girl at several points during the movie, but I am probably deluding myself.


No. 2, late 1990s: “The Blair Witch Project,” ostensibly about a group of documentary filmmakers who uncover something terrible while filming in a remote forest.


“The Blair Witch Project” was ubiquitous in its time. Widely parodied, it became a pop-culture touchstone, and it was the forbearer of other fake “found footage” horror movies like the “Paranormal Activity” franchise.


No. 3, later 1990s: “The Sixth Sense,” about a boy who thinks he can see dead people. Director M. Night Shayamalan made a huge splash with the movie and has struggled to top it since.


Come to think of it, “The Sixth Sense” is probably too artsy and not gruesome enough to be considered a horror movie. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t jump every time the camera spun around to reveal a pizza-faced ghost hovering near the protagonist.


This week, I’ve been struggling with whether I should watch a few zombie movies. I’ve been looking at the recent zombie mania for a story that will be published this weekend.


My research has included reading articles, talking to people a charity Zombie Walk and seeking the opinions of self-proclaimed zombie experts. I’ve also considered watching a movie or three: a classic like “Night of the Living Dead,” a parody like “Shaun of the Dead” or a new take like “Zombieland.”


There’s just one problem: I hate horror movies. They leave me in an emotional state not unlike a dog listening to a fireworks display during a thunderstorm. This raises the question of whether, in the name of journalism, I have a professional obligation to watch these movies.


A similar debate, albeit at a much higher level, has been going on among some film critics online. It was prompted by the Criterion Collection’s recent reissue of “Salò” on Blu-ray.


As I understand it, Pier Paolo Pasolini’s 1975 film has four leaders from a Nazi-backed regime subjecting a group of young people to rape, torture, murder and a handful of other unsavory activities I will not describe here.


“This film is essential to have seen but impossible to watch,” Richard Brody wrote in The New Yorker. “A viewer may find life itself defiled beyond redemption by the simple fact that such things can be shown or even imagined.”


“A viewer may find life itself defiled beyond redemption”? Sign me up!


Slate asked a few critics whether the film was essential-viewing for film buffs.


This prompted Glenn Kenny, at Some Came Running, to challenge the premise of the question: “No one individual knows the entirety of film history; no one has seen everything; no one can speak with authority on every film, every filmmaker.”


Enthusiasts will have seen more — and professionals should have seen more — than most laypeople. But with regard to “Salò,” or implicitly any other individual movie, Kenny writes, “your having seen it is not the linchpin on which I’m going to base my assessment of either your cinephilia or your critical intelligence.”


That’s a relief. Nevertheless, there is something to be said for enduring a movie one finds unpleasant, whether from boredom or gruesome imagery or plot-less opacity.


“Everybody needs to test their limits, if only to find out what they are,” Jim Emerson wrote on his Scanners blog.


It’s kind of like an arduous hike: The journey may be exhausting and unpleasant. The satisfaction comes when the day is done, when you can point and tell other people, “I survived that.” (This pretty much describes my feelings about the cinema of Lars von Trier.)


So, will I watch a zombie movie this week? I give the last words to Emerson, describing his sister’s reaction after he took her to see “Poltergeist” in 1982:


“When it was over, she turned to me with tears in her eyes and said, ‘You have ruined my life.’”