Why There is a Fascination with the Dark Side of Life
Why the Darker and Shadowy Side is Viewed as Forbidden Therefore the Hidden Fascination
Humankind has always been fascinated with the dark side of life from time immemorial. We have been thoroughly inculcated with the premise that there are two aspects of life -the light and/or "right" aspect of life which is moral and acceptable and the more shadowy side of life which is often considered immoral, forbidden, and evil. We learn from myths and other metaphorical stories that the shadow side or the darker elements of life are forbidden and evil and to be avoided.
However, many people are drawn to the darker elements of life because of its forbidden value. Ever since the metaphorical story of Eve eating the so-called forbidden fruit, there is a hidden fascination and curiosity about the shadowy aspects of life! Many people find more spice and allure to the darker side of life than they do to the lighter side of life.
Humankind has the propensity of separating things into strict dichotomies. If there is a light or good side, there has to be a darker, shadowy, and more evil side to the equation. If there is a God, there is a Devil. It is humankind's consciousness to have both good and evil in life. Furthermore, if there is no dark or shadowy side, it have to be invented.
The perfect example of the dark and shadowy side is the concept of Satan. According to theologians, the concept of the fallen one: Satan, Belial, and/or Lucifer is that of an adversity and/or evil counterpart to God, who is all good. In more ancient and primitive times, humankind observed that there were elements in nature and life which could be described as negative. They often did not have a plausible explanation for the event at hand. So they decided that besides a benevolent force in nature, there is also a force in nature which can be classified as malevolent.
With the concept of Satan is another concept-Hell. Hell is seen a the opposite of Heaven with its aspect of eternal darkness, desolation, and eternal punishment. In a History Channel presentation regarding the subject of Hell, a scholar stated which was more fascinating and more descriptive the Gates of Hell or the Pearly Gates! It seems that many people are indeed fascinated by and find forbidden delights regarding the subject of Hell because of its macabre dark theme!
The light and good aspects of life is presented in the usual palatable form while the darker side of life is often seen as more interesting and spicily delectable! For example, the bad boy, l'homme fatal, the bad girl, and the femme fatale have more of an allure and forbidden come hither appeal than the standard good boy/good girl and the man/women next door! The former are so dangerously and venomously fascinating while the latter is strictly vanilla and whitebread! People are drawn to such dangerous types because of the forbidden darkness that they represent!
Bad boys, homme fatales, bad girls, and femme fatales represent dark and forbidden sexual license and abandon that the good boy/girl and the man/woman next door do not offer. People know when they stand with the usual stand by and conventional good boy/girl and the man/woman next door but there are always surprises in relationships with the bad boy, l'homme fatale, bad girl, and femme fatale. The latter know how to use the element of being naughty, uninhibited, and forbidden desire to entice people to a new and untried level!
The dark and shadowy side of life represent the unconventional, unknown, and the dangerous! Darkness is beyond what is acceptable and conventional. Furthermore, darkness also represent what is unknown and dangerous. There is an element of fear regarding encountering darkness. Why are we afraid of the dark and nighttime? This is because we believe subconsciously that there is SOMETHING or SOMEONE hidden and lurking about! Primitive and ancient humankind always found nighttime to be an extremely intense and foreboding time -a time when "evil spirits", "ghosts", and "phantoms" are about! Furthermore, humankind often perform their more uninhibited and so-called forbidden activities during the nighttime!
We are also fascinated with movies with dark and macabre themes such as some mystery and horror movies. We are even more fascinated with horror and other movies dealing with dark supernatural themes! The 1973 movie, THE EXORCIST, was one of the scariest movie in history. The movie contained several dark elements such as the Devil and demonic possession. Never before has a movie realistically and graphically addressed such themes!
Another movie which dealt with dark themes is the 1960 movie, BLACK SUNDAY. The theme of the movie is the inquisition and subsequent punishment of a witch practicing dark magic. In addition to the demonic theme of the movie, the movie also addressed other forbidden issues such as vampirism and rising from the dead in addition to good old fashioned revenge. BLACK SUNDAY was the scariest movie of 1960. The movie was so outstanding and graphic in its representation of horror that other horror movies in the 1960s copied its theme!
We are fascinated with horror movies because its dark and forbidden theme. Horror movies also represent the unknown and the unconventional. We are furthermore fascinated with the delicious concept of evil and the dark side. Besides horror movies, we are enthralled with horror themed television shows. The best horror television shows in my estimation are the series FRIDAY THE 13TH and TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE that often dealt with darkly demonic and hellish themes! We love to be scared to death!!.
The representation of villains in movies also fascinate us to no end! Villains are often are allowed to be and do things which are often frowned upon in this society. Villains do the things that we don't dare do! Movie villains often have more multidimensional and interesting personas than the hero/good person. This is why many actors of both genders prefer to portray villains than the good guy/good girl.
One actor interviewed in the HISTORY CHANNEL presentation, HOLLYWOOD VILLAINS, related the advice that a producer gave to him," Being a leading person has a short lifespan careerwise in Hollywood; however if he portrays a villain, he could feed his family in this town." Actors who portray villains are often viewed as more interesting than actors who are known to portray heroes/heroines.
This is verified. Some of the most interesting film and television characters are villains. Think of the contrast between Betty Suarez and Wilhelmina Slater in the series UGLY BETTY! Who is the more interesting, delicious, and fascinating character? You guessed it! In the movies THE WIZ and THE WIZARD OF OZ, who is the more fascinating and interesting witch, Glenda or the Wicked Witch of the West? You guessed it again! There is something interesting, darkly delicious, and multidimensional in portraying a dark character!
In color typology which is transracial, brunets of both genders, especially dark brunets are viewed as darkly and dangerously sexual and powerful. The phrase dark and handsome is a truism. Brunets often have a darkly forbidden sexual presence and magnetism! Let us take this issue a little bit further. Many people are drawn to darker peoples, regardless of race, because of their hidden forbidden fascination, especially in some Western societies. Many people adhere to the notion that darker is better!
In summation, people are fascinated by and drawn to the darker elements of life because of its forbidden aura. We have been inundated by society, especially Western society, that darkness represented evil and foreboding. Darkness often represent boundaries beyond which is considered acceptable and conventional. The dark element is often what is unknown and feared. We are often afraid of the night because it is feared and unknown-subconsciously we do not know what may be lurking around!
© 2011 Grace Marguerite Williams