Why We Watch Horror Movies

Greetings Loved Ones! Liu Is The Name, ANd Views Are My Game.

Loved ones, why do we watch horror movies? Yes, yes, I know–that’s a cliche question to ask. So cliche, in fact, the quandary’s almost lost its meaning. Still, it is a question that is relevant, and one that deserves answering in my mind. I mean, we’ve all asked ourselves it at least once before. We’ve all wondered why, year after year, millions of people cram themselves into cinemas just to see things that are downright unpleasant. What’s the reason for it all?

Well, for a long time, I believed that people watched horror for the same reasons they watched hardcore pornography–the sex, the violence, the total lack of adherence to the rules of reality. To put it bluntly, I thought people watched it to escape–to witness all the vile and depraved fantasies they couldn’t exercise in real life. Now, however, I’ve developed a different theory. According to this new hypothesis, people enjoy watching horror films because they learn from them, because scary movies are actually a well-disguised, but nevertheless efficient, initiation mechanism for young people to become adults. It makes sense, if you think about it. Most people who go to see horror movies are between the ages of 15 and 25, the period between childhood and adulthood, as are the protagonists in most of these films. The characters in these movies also deal with several of the issues associated with adolescence–coming to terms with ones own sexuality, bullying, experimenting with drugs, taking risks just for the hell of it, etc. And indeed, many of the earliest horror stories were written with educational agendas in mind. Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein was written as a commentary on both the potentially disastrous outcomes of mankind’s meddling with nature’s secrets, and on the responsibility that all parents have to their children, no matter how ugly or deformed they might be. Nearly all the greatest horror movies out there–Halloween, Dawn Of The Dead, Fatal Attraction, Carrie, Audition— were made with specific political and/or social agendas in mind. That’s part of what gave these pictures staying power. Whether it was attempting to dissuade men from engaging in extra-marital affairs, or condemning America’s excessive consumerism, people could, and still can, relate to what these movies were trying to say, and so made classics out of them.

Now, some of you might be rolling your eyes and thinking, “Really? That’s what he thinks draws people to horror films; their educational merits, and not the blood and boobs? Bullshit!” It really isn’t, though. Yes, horror movies have gotten consistently more violent and sexual over time–most likely due to the fact that movie-goers have become jaded–but those pictures aren’t the ones we remember. The only people who go to see films like Hostel 3, or Saw 6, are hardcore fans of the genre. Those people truly are in it for the terror and the tits. The rest of us, however, tend to stick with the classics, or even with satires, like Scream or The Cabin In The Woods. And why, you might wonder, do these films appeal to a wider audience and make more money? Because they have messages! Because they have something of substance to them. Because they’re not just hoping to make their money from gore and girls with hour-glass figures. They help us, as audience members, grow, and that, loved ones, is why we watch them! That’s why the horror genre is still going strong. If you disagree, please, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

Thank you so much for sticking with me, and a happy new year to you all!

Nathan Liu

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