Social Question

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Why do people like horror films?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (25574 points ) January 13th, 2011

I can’t watch them, because they scare me too much.

I really don’t understand the appeal of slash and burn horror films or demons rising and invading the earth or zombies. I don’t get zombies at all.

What’s the attraction in getting scared?

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29 Answers

stump's avatar

It is a safe way to confront our fears. It is natural and cathartic.

marinelife's avatar

I am with you. I can’t watch them either.

snowberry's avatar

I guess some folks like the adrenaline rush.

I’ve been through enough horror in my real life I don’t need any artificial horror to augment it. That’s why I avoid ‘em like the plague.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I thought you watch horror movies with your sweetie so you can land in their arms somehow during the scary parts; a cinematic version of the Tunnel of Love at the amusement park.

Blueroses's avatar

Funny. Second time in a couple of days that a question was asked just as I was thinking about the subject.

I just watched a documentary about slasher films; the producers, the aficionados and the “stars”. What I came away with (and I’m talking about the hardcore fans who attend conventions, not the people who just enjoy the rush of being scared) is that it’s a paraphiliae. It was interesting that the on-demand films rarely feature sexual acts but want terror, blood and mutilation of the victim. The destruction is the fetish. Destruction of the female. Female representing rejection.

gailcalled's avatar

Some people may. This person doesn’t.

Winters's avatar

I enjoy a good thrilling horror flick, not necessarily bloody, gory, or with a lot of mutilation, but just a good scare, or a good plot. Also it distracts me from my imagination for awhile.

Austinlad's avatar

They’re fun, and they don’t have to be gory to be scary. The original “Cat People” is a great example of that.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

For me, it’s just as an escape from normal everyday stuff. I could watch a drama movie about typical people and typical problems, or I could watch a unique horror movie (or often sci-fi, sometimes both) that is way out there. It helps break up the mundane. And not all horror movies are created equal. Some are imaginative and filmed well, and others (probably most) are cheesy and stupid. Every once in a while, it’s great to get a group of friends over and watch some really cheesy horror flicks, and have our own Mystery Science Theater 3000 viewing party. It’s quite fun.

izziebear1's avatar

I enjoy horror movies because, they are unexpected, thrilling,and unpredictable.

flutherother's avatar

I love them, but not the bloody ones. I like scary but subtly done horror films that feature something ‘beyond our ken’. Fear without any danger. Delicious.

faye's avatar

I love the psychological ones- no slash and burn needed. But I also love the campy ones like giant spiders taking over a town. And the Tremors trilogy was great! Different strokes is all it is.

Joker94's avatar

I’m not much for them, some people just want the satisfaction of watchign some poor bastard meet a grisly demise (I guess that’d fall more into the horror comedy genre though..) And some people just find a rush in being scared without a tangible threat.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Horror films don’t scare me. They really never have. In fact, the horror films that I enjoy (mostly zombies) are because of the comic value. I usually find myself laughing hysterically. I get the same thing out of watching good horror that I get out of watching good comedy.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

They speak to a dark truth within all of us.

TexasDude's avatar

A lot of people (you and some others excluded) like being scared in a safe way. People like horror movies for the same reasons they like roller coasters, or Halloween horror houses, and so on. Because they activate our age-old evolutionary fight or flight response (which gives us a killer adrenaline rush) in a safe and controlled way. It reminds us of why we’re human.

@Simone_De_Beauvoir has a pretty succinct, nifty point as well.

Summum's avatar

I love suspense movies but I don’t watch the blood, gut and gore ones. The ones that put you on the edge of you chair and make you think about what is going on. I can almost always know the ending before it ends.

blueiiznh's avatar

for those that get scared over them, it is a good form of stress that can work in a positive way. It is a safe experience. I find horror films actually funny. I love sitting and picking them apart. I love watching Mystery Science Theatre

6rant6's avatar

Arousal is arousal. Some people like it, some people don’t.

MacBean's avatar

I can’t explain it but it makes perfect sense to me. What I can’t get my head around is why people like the rubbish people like Judd Apatow make.

Symbeline's avatar

Horror as a genre within the entire spectrum of entertainment is extremely ancient. Plays, books, now movies and video games.
It fascinates and/or frightens people because it lets us explore, for lack of better words, the darker side of everything. Horror explores an actually quite vast array of subjects, as I can tell from the movie industry’s sub genres of horror, and in particular, the concepts usually attributed to certain sub genres.
Ghost movies for example often deal with regret, tragedy, secrets, and they usually focus hard on ’‘the past’’ and what its wrought. This is a very strong human element.
It would take me a little too long to break everything up and offer my opinion of which genre does what, and I’d probbaly go into it too deep.
So as a whole it’s just fun for some people, whatever deep rooted reason might be at play. A good rush, some horror is also very artsy, it can cater to many things.
I like nasty zombies and killer dudes with masks, and for me personally, I sorta got this crush on the eighties, so I like watching the horror culture from back then.

To return to my point of exploration, well yes, a lot of horror can’t be taken that seriously and it’s often grossly missproportioned when relating it to the real things it explores, exploits or makes fun of, but this the ’‘safe’’ way that some mentioned of looking into the abyss, so to speak. I mean why do people watch action flicks? Nothing you see in those would ever happen, but we like to escape to a place where it just does for a while. I’m starting to forget my point though…lol.

I think the closest thing I can come to answer if I were to speak generally, is what @stump and @Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard said. Good answers there. And @Simone_De_Beauvoir too. Nice and simple, like a good slash to the throat. :D

DominicX's avatar

I find slasher horror films (Saw) to be boring. I find horror films that rely on startling for fear (Paranormal Activity) to be annoying. The kind of horror I like is psychological, paranormal, dark horror. Stuff that’s actually scary, not just startling or gory. Black Swan, The Amityville Horror (original), The Shining (1997 version), Stephen King’s novels, etc. those are good examples of horror.

As someone who writes horror fiction, I find horror to be extremely interesting. It’s the subtle scary things that get to me, not zombies with chainsaws.

stardust's avatar

Exposure to our fears in a safe environment. I find slasher films beyond dull.
@DominicX GA

Mikewlf337's avatar

Humans have a darkside.
@DominicX I loved the Saw series lol. Those were the most original horror movies ever made in my opinion. Then again, that is only my opinion.

Pandora's avatar

I just find most of them made today are too cheesy to believe. For me the real horror movie expert was Alfred Hitchcock. He knew how to take something that seems harmless and make it dangerous. Stupid crap like Chucky or Freddy krugger are just too in your face and obvious. I never get surprised with them.
Use to like to watch them because they were just fun to watch. These days most of them just feel insulting. Blood, and guts and blades and dead people have replaced good acting and a good story.

MartinDep's avatar

I truly laugh while looking any horror movie cuz I know these are fake. Nothing happens like this in reality. May many people watch them in order to satisfy their curiosity to know about strange things.

Joshuajohn's avatar

Horror movies are famous all over the world for their essence of thrill, shock and suspense. I think most peoples are like thrill and suspense.

mattbrowne's avatar

Yes, it’s a modern replacement for thrill, shock and suspense. During the Stone Age nature filled that role.

this_velvet_glove's avatar

Adrenaline, I guess.

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