We horror fans are often looked down upon as psychotic, weird members of society. People think we like violence just for violence’s sake. Every horror fan has heard the question at least a hundred times “Why do you like horror movies?” While I can’t answer for every horror fan, I can answer this question for myself here and now.
Just watch the news for an hour, you will realize it is all around us. Whether it be an accident, a force of nature, or a run of the mill psycho, it runs rampant in real life. So it is nice to watch a horror movie, or read a horror novel, and know once you finish it, the horror is over. The people in a horror movie didn’t really die. They are safe and sound.
Everyone in some way fears death, whether they admit it or not. There is no real way to know what happens when we die, only speculation. Horror in a lot of ways helps us cope with the inevitable. No matter what in most cases our deaths won’t be near as bad as the ones we see in horror movies. Sadly we return to the real world where the horror never ends.
Horror is merely the dark side of fantasy, there is no good without bad. We fans are like anyone else. We don’t ENJOY violence, but it’s inevitable. Does that mean we’re going to go out and murder people for kicks? No, except in isolated cases. There’s bad apples in every bunch. To quote Scream “Movies don’t create psychos, they make psychos more creative.” A good chunk of the movies are based (very loosely) on a true story. So real life is where horror really comes from.
Horror is an escape, plain and simple. No matter how bad life is, it can’t be as bad as it is on the screen. People tend to focus on the violence in the movies more than to scratch the surface. Horror movies are at their best when they are a reflection on society.
In the 50s people were afraid of nuclear war, thus the giant mutated nuclear bugs of the 50s. By the 60s we were in the Vietnam war. The fear and paranoia brought us Night of The Living Dead. You can see it most clearly see the Vietnam influence, not to mention the small sprinkle of racism and nuclear fall out in the film’s conclusion. In the 70s we had unemployment, and the decline of family values, which brought us Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Fear is real, it’s all around us every day. These movies help us to face our fears. So in closing when someone asks “What’s your favorite scary movie?” Respond with Detective Kincaid’s response from Scream 3 “My life.”
In closing it’s not us horror fans that are psychotic. It’s the entire world.