The horror genre may not be the most popular, in fact according to STATISTA, it is ranked the least favourite in the US with comedy being the most popular genre. From Nightmare on Elm Street to The Thing or even IT, there is definitely an obsession amongst people for everything scary and spooky, but why is that? Why do some people crave horror movies? We’ve put together 5 reasons why people love scary movies so much.
It helps us prepare for the worst
Horror movies, especially slasher or psychological horror, can prepare you for life-threatening situations. While there may be a low chance that you end up being chased by a psychopath around your house, there is still a possibility and it’s better to be prepared. By watching shows such as The Walking Dead, we can prepare ourselves psychologically if people start to behave like zombies. Even if the characters are fictional, our brain is always taking notes: what do people do in that situation? What should I do when faced with that kind of threat?
It helps us explore our dark side
If we like it or not, we all have a dark side and watching horror movies can be extremely cathartic. At some level, we do identify with the perpetrator and scary movies give us the opportunity to explore that side of us. Most of the villains have a well-written back story giving you insights on why they are doing what they’re doing. For example, Carrie, many of us can relate to her being bullied at school and at home, it is quite easy to root for her in the end.
It feels nice to be scared
It may sound paradoxical but feeling scared can also feel nice! When we watch horror, we feel strong emotions such as fear. Your heart starts to pound, your muscles tense, horror films are designed to make you feel. While we know that none of it is real, our bodies still experience some strong physical reactions. In small doses, fear is fun and exciting, our brain releases adrenaline but also other chemicals such as endorphins, oxytocin and serotonin, all very “feel-good chemicals”.
At the end of the day, movies such as Gremlins or Evil Dead are entertaining and sometimes, they can even be funny! Horror doesn’t always have to have a deep meaning or scare you to death for the rest of your life (we’re looking at you The Ring) but it can simply be a bit of fun on Saturday night with your friends.