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Why do we like horror movies?

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13 replies to this topic

#1 of 14 OFFLINE   Nick-G



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Posted January 16 2004 - 02:14 PM

My fiancee and I just got back from the movies (Along Came Polly, very funny) and there was a trailer for Dawn of the Dead which sparked a debate (actually more of a fight) about why people like horror movies. I have always loved good horror movies and she can't sleep if I even tell her about one. Of course I could not come up with any good reasons for why I enjoy them so much, and she just kept saying, "would you pay someone $8 to actually do those things to you?" Of course I wouldn't, but I still love them just the same. The best I could do was to say that it must be the adrenaline rush you get, or just the chills, I dunno. I guess it is interesting to imagine what you might do in those situations, but still she was not satisfied. So, someone tell me why I like to be scared?

#2 of 14 OFFLINE   Alex Spindler

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Posted January 16 2004 - 05:47 PM

(warning, stereotypes ahoy) For the same reason she would go to see a tragic love story that makes her cry...it successfully elicits feelings and emotions without putting you in the actual situation. With a weepy film, you are moved to emotion through careful storytelling and effective acting. Horror films are the same, only they add special effects to simulate the writhing tentacles of the unholy beyond (as the real Old Ones ask too high a percentage on the merchandising). Horror films help to creep us out, to engage the fight or flight response, to make you tense, and to (ideally) get scared. And you can feel these things without ever being in actual danger or forced to drink a great chunky drink made by some intergalactic lowlifers. Just as with a movie where a beloved character dies, you get to cry without really losing anyone special to you. It works in the same way (for me at least).

#3 of 14 OFFLINE   Ryan Wishton

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Posted January 16 2004 - 06:56 PM

I love a horror movie... I still like them, but think I actually enjoyed them more in Grade School/Jr. High... This could also be due to none have scared me in years... Most horror now is nothing but cheap comedy gimmicks with not a scare in sight... Even as a kid not too long ago, there was something about getting scared and then hiding under the blanket or whatever... I think in a way we get to experience danger without really having to be in danger... Hopefully that makes sense... I hate real life scares and danger... Scares in a movie, game, etc., are for some reason exciting... A few scary movies of youth really freaked me out at points, but I always came back for more... Why come back for more of something that does this to you??? I really dont know... Maybe it's for that excitement or that thrill that many of us want to experience... I am very open to all movie genres and can find something to like in each and every one... I dont condemn all horror... I dont dislike all comedy... I dont spit on every Lifetime movie there is... Thats just not my personality... I would hope my future wife feels the same way... If she doesnt like the genre, thats fine... But, I certainly dont feel why I should have to explain myself over and over and fight over liking something... Thats just silly to me...

#4 of 14 OFFLINE   DonnyD



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Posted January 16 2004 - 11:30 PM

I do believe my love for the horror genre is linked to my childhood when my dad would drop us off at the local theater on Sat afternoon and we'd watch double scary flick the rest of the day....... This was the 50's and there was an abundance of monster/horror flick back then....... The things that affect you in childhood, you never forget...and you are constantly seeking that thrill......... BTW: For 25 cents, we'd get the sh** scared outta us and get popcorn and soda too!
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#5 of 14 OFFLINE   george kaplan

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Posted January 17 2004 - 12:24 AM

Ask Justin. Posted Image
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#6 of 14 OFFLINE   Lou Sytsma

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Posted January 17 2004 - 12:29 AM

It's pure escapism. Horror movies usually capture that primal rush one gets when their life is at stake. Never does life seem more precious than when one is staring death in the face.
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#7 of 14 OFFLINE   Simon_Lepine


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Posted January 17 2004 - 02:41 AM

A few reasons. It's probably mainly for the same reasons we like rollercoaster rides. Like others have said, for the adrenaline rush, we just like being scared. Now, for the most part horror movies are not that scary once you have seen a lot, but I still enjoy them. Mainly because they are usually pretty cool, with lots of style and atmospheric music. They are often done by young film makers trying to prove themselves, so they usually try to throw their bags of tricks at you. They are also often low budget, so are more experimental. Now if we move to more gory movies, I'm not sure why I like that :b

#8 of 14 OFFLINE   Topher


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Posted January 17 2004 - 03:29 AM

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#9 of 14 OFFLINE   andrew markworthy

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Posted January 17 2004 - 06:35 AM

Loads of reasons have been suggested, amongst them: (1) It enables us to experience dangerous situations without being in any real danger. (2) The adrenaline rush. (3) We have a subconscious desire for stricter morality (note how many times teenagers are murdered whilst having pre-marital sex as in e.g. Halloween or the 'bad girl' is murdered as in e.g. Psycho). (4) If you're sick, then sexual excitement. (5) If you're stuck with a Neanderthal set of gender roles, then it enables guys to look tough in front of their girlfriends. I personally am utterly unmoved by horror movies - I just find them so predictable (e.g. scary music is meant to be a tension-builder, but to me it predicts that something is about to happen, so all the shock value is lost). *Genuinely*, the only time I've ever been shocked was in 'He know you're alone' when
the woman is looking round her new apartment, and a man in black scuttles out of the room whilst she's looking out of the window
. And that's because there was nothing to predict that coming up. As regards gory movies, I think the above rules still apply (especially the appearing macho argument). However, these are often just plain silly and in most cases unrealistic. E.g. my wife has got a Master of Surgery degree. We can't watch much with gore in movies without her complaining about how unrealistic it is, how a gun shot wound in the shoulder would *not* just result in a mild wincing but being capable of carrying on, that being shot does not automatically result in blood coming out of the mouth, etc.

#10 of 14 OFFLINE   Robert Dunnill

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Posted January 17 2004 - 08:56 AM

We are emotionally-driven creatures, and horror is a strong emotion.
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#11 of 14 OFFLINE   Seth--L



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Posted January 17 2004 - 05:49 PM

The popularity of the horror film really needs to be broken down by when they were made. For instance, 1970s horror films typically follow the formula of "the bad seed." In this type of film children are the monsters. Since they are born evil, parents are not to blame for their evil ways. So for many people, adults in this case, horror films offer an explanation for youth culture. Horror films in the 50s were almost exclusively about cold war and anxieties, and because the cold war is over, most of the films made then are no longer popular.
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#12 of 14 OFFLINE   Aaron Garman

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Posted January 17 2004 - 07:05 PM

What's better than a machete wielding hockey player punishing promiscuous girls by putting them in sleeping bags and pounding them into the ground? Well, maybe that same hockey player fighting some burn victim in a brown hat that happens to have razors on his fingers to the death! In all seriousness, horror movies are just fun to watch. We love the predictability and sometimes are betrayed if they don't deliever. However, it is also nice to see a film that suprises us on a new level, like the original Scream. AJG
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#13 of 14 OFFLINE   Dome Vongvises

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Posted January 18 2004 - 06:14 AM

I agree, where's Justin? Posted Image

#14 of 14 OFFLINE   James T

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Posted January 18 2004 - 01:28 PM

I almost fell out of my chair when I saw Jason pick up the sleeping bag and smash it. I watch horror movies because I like to get scared. There are plenty of movies that are classified as horror, but do nothing to my nerves and I still like them. I guess I watch them because I like to see how many different people can die in how many different ways before the murderer becomes the victim. I know, I'm a cruel sadistic bastard.

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