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Why we like scary movies

Michael Taber, Managing Staff Editor

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Homicidal killers picking off sex crazed teens, things that go bump in the night, the eerie music that tell you something bad is going to happen and that jump scare that make you pee your pants (just a bit) these are some of the reasons why millions of people love scary movies. The real reason we love to be frightened might not be something we have no control over.

Most logical reason is that we are attracted to horror/thriller movies is the unrealism of the whole event. It is a safe scare and gives that adrenaline rush that we feel after a scare, that “I’m alive” euphoria that washes over us. Watching a movie with a group of people makes the whole viewing process seem like you are on a roller-coaster ride and everyone is with you on it. The scream at the jump scares and gasps at the gore which is followed by the laughter of being scared is we feel it is ok the be frighten, it a natural human emotion that connects us.

When we watch something that we already know that is going to try and scare the viewer, we have the expectation of getting the most bangs for our buck. We pick the entertainment that we expect to feel a certain emotion. When feel like a laugh we go to a comedy.

There is something more that attracts people to horror, thrillers, and scary movies is how we relate as a person in the characters. Why are certain people drawn to the genius cannibal madman like a Hannibal Lecter, or a group of survivors running from zombies, vampires or aliens?

There is a correlation between the fantasy and real life where we would think what would I do in this situation. Are you a survivor or are you a victim? An even more important question is which side are you on, good or evil?

Another reason we watch horror movies is that we can face our fears. Fears such as death, personal relevance or even the state of the world, help us psychologically confront issue in our lives. These safe scares can be foundations for dealing with how to deal with fears in our everyday life.

There is another reason why we like to watch horror movies is that somewhere in our primordial subconscious that has been passed down genetically through the existence of human beings. Things like shadows, bumps and rattling in the night are buried deep down in our survival instincts. The fears that the first humans faced were passed down from generation to generation.

There are many that have a natural fear of snakes (ophidiophobia) or spiders (arachnophobia). These fears drive from a survival instinct of run or fight. Danger signals take over when one is confronted with these fears. Fear is something that everyone deals with differently.

The fear that we face in horror movies in some strange reason might scratch a deep primordial itch that our subconscious issue that makes us human.

So grab a tub of popcorn, a soft drink and go enjoy getting the bejesus out of yourself with a good horror movie this Halloween.

 

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Why we like scary movies