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8 Reasons Why Audiences Love Horror Movies

Updated on October 18, 2017
Craig Easom profile image

Craig has been a writer on HubPages since 2013. He is currently studying for Marketing at Nottingham Trent University—in the land of Robin.

Everyone has heard of the Joker, but you have only ever seen the Joker in his true colours once before (OK, enough with the suspense...) and this one time was in Heath Ledger's performance as The Joker in The Dark Knight. The horror was in the smile
Everyone has heard of the Joker, but you have only ever seen the Joker in his true colours once before (OK, enough with the suspense...) and this one time was in Heath Ledger's performance as The Joker in The Dark Knight. The horror was in the smile

Why Jesus Belongs in Bibles, And Not in Horror Movies. The Guide to Your Horror Needs. When God Goes To Sleep, The Demons Come Out to Play. (Too Much?)

This Friday. Six’O Clock (night). Let’s watch Jigsaw. This might ring a bell for many people, but would have to be said next Monday, onwards, as the movie does not release into theatres this Friday - but the following Friday. Jigsaw appeals to audiences everywhere, and you’d be a fool to miss out on the redefining Saw sequel/spin-off that works in such a way that it could lead to another trilogy. Forward thinking, now that’s the best kind of thinking.

Like the Jigsaw movie, audiences all over the globe are perhaps not always constantly looking for a new horror movie to see at the cinema theatres, but when it appeals - there is no stopping the force of 5 close friends finally not squabbling like preadolescents over which movie to see on Friday - as the 11PM showing of (a reliably sourced pre-review confirming the excitement is real - first… now...) THE horror movie is always the one.

Horror movies have been long used as an expression tool for creative movie makers to show their darker inner fears, toils, and to imagine their inner burning fire as a lunatic with a machete chasing down the local teen hikers moving through their sacred land. Vampires, Were-Wolfs, monsters, aliens, zombies, lunatic psychopaths with wielded weapons, and the plague - the imagination can run rampant in the horror genre movie setting - and the crazier the villain, the more cheers the movie goers exhaust, leaving lungs in a worse position than they were before entering the movie theatre.

No.1 - The Suspense

A horror movie needs so many things within its formula to succeed on all four grounds, and one of the key elements to a great horror movie would be the building of suspense throughout the start, the middle and the end. Without suspense, there is that ominous feeling as though you are watching a drama. Not the funny kind either, and you entered the theatre room expecting to get chills from a horror genre devision movie, not a bore-fest of endless jibber jabbering from a cast that has no acting ability whatsoever, and in this scenario, a script that feels like it was straight out of an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Suspense! Yeah, it’s a cool word. To build suspense is to build anticipation, excitement, that edge-of-your-seat, tear jerking, chewing of the thumb nail, eye gouging, jaw-dropping moment when everything suddenly hits; and there is that feeling of relief that something great has literally just happened. Why literally? It’s simply the way it makes the person feel, almost as though they are crossing out and making arrangements in their minds to add this movie to your all time top picks list.

Suspense, the first and only mattering rule to a great horror movie; as if there is blood, gore, dumb blondes and a masked killer that strikes at a moment when everyone suspects them to, then this movie will never cross the minds of the audience member ever again. Bad horror movies: What has caused this could be a whole variety of things, but the lacking of good suspense is the biggest killer for potential horror movie successes. Poor camera shots, shaky camera equipment, terrible editing, bad acting, lacking of a strong screen-presence, a make-do director, bad script, the wrong soundtrack score; and a whole bunch of other stuff could be killing a potential success of a horror genre movie.

Great suspense in a horror movie is almost like looking into a keyhole of a mysterious door in the dark, and the unfamiliarity of the surrounds blended with the dark is making your mind play tricks on you. The great suspense: It has you looking down the barrel of a mysterious door keyhole, and there is only a single ray of light peeping through the broken glass in the bottom left corner of the window. Something may be present, and the floor creeks start out distant (coming from the mysterious room), and then slowly get closer to the far right side of the room. You are clawing your eyes out as your heart begins to thump to a subtle, quiet tune, and all you feel you can do at this point is remain right where you are because you are truly afraid to move. Suspense in a movie should never bore (even for a moment, as this turns into minutes), never force love for a character (the lead, or otherwise), never should it stop before the overwhelming fear and joy (felt by audiences), and never ever should it make an audience member think of the word…suspense (ruins authenticity of the fear building behind the dark key hole - theory).

No.2 - The Villain

A horror villain is the face of evil. They are never satire, homely (unless psychological evil), fun (unless psychological evil), relatable, (never) easy to conjure in the mind without the original story creator, and they should never resemble that of a comical villain. The horror villain is a loner (typically), a force to be feared (immediately/intensely/forever), a past that will leave scars on those in the audience, and they must always have a calling card. Now, this one may sound somewhat comical, but think of it differently - in that it is that one object (thing) that is always associated with the evil villain. The calling card could be a jigsaw piece cut from human flesh (Saw franchise), the joker playing card (The Dark Knight), machete (Friday the 13th), the steam room (A Nightmare On Elm Street), or perhaps even a demonic hand print (The Ring).

As the villain, these people/demons/ghosts/zombies/or what ever they may be, must have a plan of some kind. A Nightmare On Elm Street’s Freddy Krueger had a plan to have all of his victims join him in hell, and the way that he would do this is by slicing them up in their dreams (and whatever damage is done will happen to the sleeping body). Friday the 13th’s Jason had a plan to kill every teenage summer camp counsellor, as he was raised from the dead to finish his mothers job in killing everyone at the Camp Crystal lake. The Ring’s Samara (an evil demonic entity) has the ongoing plan to force people to watch her cursed tape so that she can steal their souls 7 days later. No, the horror genre typically does not have elaborate plans for their villains, but as long as they resonate with the mass audiences - no one will ever stop to ask questions about the plan, because the plan is typically made for dumb fun at the cinema theatres.

No.3 - The Evil Being the Victor

Never has an audience accepted evil conquering over good, and for the more religious folks - perhaps the modern day horror movies are not for you. But, the evil has to win in horror movies, as this is the only way for audiences to love the movie enough to want to watch it again. In 2009’s Friday the 13th, (spoiler alert!) by the end of the movie there are two surviving members of the lead cast, and the scene ends with the two having killed Jason and so they dump the body in the Camp Crystal lake, and the final image shows Jason bursting out of the water. Then… the end. Disappointing, but definitely left the audiences wanting more Jason bloody revenge at Camp Crystal.

In a great horror movie, the good people will almost always succeed in ridding the evil entity (whatever it may be) from their lives, but in the greatness rule for horror villains being victors - the horror brought by a villain must still have life to pursue his victims in a follow-up movie. Michael Myers, the man just won’t die, which leads people to asking whether he is even a man, but the best part about Michael is that he never talks - so he never actually appears mortal to the audiences watching.

Why audiences love the horror villain always overcoming the attempts of the good guys is probably a sadistic urge to see misery before the triumph of good in any horror movie. Sometimes the good guy wins, completely, but often times these are horrors that have no desires to have a sequel. But, these horror movies are of a lesser kind, since every great horror villain is most probably behind a whole series of continuing horror movies.

No.4 - The Bad Side (the darker side to your imagination)

There is the strong belief in many human beings that there is another person within all of us; someone darker, braver, and a huntsman if you will. The idea that we all have someone stronger within us, is one of the major reasons why horror movies are so successful in 2017. The arrival of the internet is making vast amounts of people more knowledgeable than has ever been seen before, as it takes very little effort to Google stuff in on the internet; all of those pressing questions that no one from your immediate surroundings could answer with any clarification.

It is healthy for people to let their imaginations set loose, as it makes a person happier through the creativity, adapting of topic learnings, and productivity increases that can be seen through the cognitive functioning within the brain. This is why horrors are appealing to nearly every demographic known to market research firms (except of course, small children - but even they have Goosebumps and Ghostbusters), as they can pick between psychological, slasher, zombie, paranormal, other dimensions, and even family horror movies. The area for human imagination can strengthen in time from improving your understanding of what makes your brain tic, and this is all thanks to the calming/soothing/relaxing/and mind adapting effects of horror movies in todays vast library of past horror movie-made productions.

Humans are good and bad, and this makes our imaginations vulnerable to entertainment additions, and that perfect horror movie of yours will probably be watched tens/if not hundreds of times throughout your lifetime. People alienated horror movies in the olden days, and the peak came in the 70s when The Exorcist was banned from retail store shelves for being too graphic. Oh, how times have changed, and if any movie on the horror shelf should be removed it would have to be Hostel (a damned story board of horrid imagery throughout). There are others that fall into this growing list, but Hostel, the one with teeth in a particular region of the body, and the we-all-know one should be burned from existence.

No.5 - The Inner Demons

Everyone has been a child at some stage in time or another, and whilst maturing into an adult there will have been certain elements to life itself that scares you from deep within. As an adult, you can ignore those inner demons, or you can embrace the fear and watch horror movies to come to an acceptance with your childhood fears.

This is an interesting addition (the inner demons), as for many horror fans who were kids at the time of the 90s Stephen King movie adaptation of “It” may have grew up with a fear of clowns. The remedy to accept and even laugh at your inner demons (or, inner fears), could be to watch the 2017 Stephen King movie remake adaptation of “It” to see how clowns scare you now that you are a grownup.

I remember when I was growing up watching The Boogeyman, and the inner demons from when I was very young was leaving the bedroom at night to cross the hall to use the bathroom. Often times, there would be a heap of fear overwhelming the senses, and just looking from the door at the bathroom at the time felt somewhat terrifying. The Boogeyman movie forced me to enter into those childhood fears, and since, the movie has always stuck with me - not that it was a good movie - as it was actually quite terrible.

No.6 - Scare the Whole Family

If it wasn’t already obvious, watching horror movies is better with the family, as all of those freak moments when something jumps out; there is company to settle the nerves from your body from wanting to leap out of the chair when overtime something goes bang in the dark. Plus, with the whole family around there will be neat conversation - edging into the, “do you know who that is”? - met with a 5 minute long silence whilst the movie has paused for everyone to make all the wrong guesses - and it turned out that the person was Naomi Watts (and not Jennifer Lawrence) in The Ring. Jeez-the-weez, perhaps watching horror movies is better without the family.

On a serious note though, watching horror movies with close ones can be comforting, and can even work better in creating more tension for the suspense in plot turning scenes, as there is always someone jumping or forcing more tension by asking all the right questions for what could potentially happen whilst someone is completely isolated, and danger a-near has been confirmed. Movies like Dawn of the Dead (2004), Friday the 13th (2009), Sinister (2012), and especially Silence of the Lambs (1991) are all fine choices for the next pickings for horror movies your planning to watch with the family. Why, especially Silence of the Lambs? Glad you asked, and this is because of the psychological mysteries that must be unraveled, as it is only social for everyone to pitch in on their thoughts, and the person that is almost always right is the person that has seen the movie before.

No.7 - Running for Your Life

Human beings are more-so the hunted than the hunters, as during a time where humans lacked a civilised nature (when there was no civilisation), humans were forced to fight for survival, and had mankind not adapted into an intelligent form of being then our legs would be hardwired to gear up for distant runs. There would have been much larger animals that could trample a man, bite the flesh right off the human body, and humans are seen instinctively as a threat to almost all of the other predatory species on planet earth.

This is why zombie horror movies get the blood pumping, since technically zombies are no longer human beings, and when something wants to feed on your body the immediate instinct would be to run fast and far until your legs collapsed from exhaustion. Humans like to think of themselves as the hero of the story, but when pitched against a flesh eating zombie there will be no fight whatsoever in people, as they have just instinctively realised that even with all of that knowledge and intelligence, they have just been knocked down the food chain, and your now an animal. Humans: As animals: Are runners, and where the instinct throughout your life has been to walk casually, it is time to strip your minds down to the basic: family, (forget friends - they’ve forgotten about you), water, and food (something that will not stay down for long); as your brain is working ten times as fast. Run. Run some more. And, keep running until you see free land without the population stretching through to the ocean beaches.

It is somewhat fun for the human brain to imagine a somewhat realistic predator that could wipe out the human race. All we have known is safety, security, dry land beneath our feet, comforting relationships, and easy access to all the necessary amenities; and overnight we are instinctively abandoning it all in the animalistic nature to survive. Zombie movies have been adapting for decades, and no movie showed it better than 2004’s Dawn of the Dead remake, where a group of survivors have barricaded themselves inside of a mall in zombie-infested North America. The feeling of urgency comes quick when faced against an unmovable force, and why the religious nuts pray for a saviour, the rest of the human race are going to take their chances outside of the cities and towns.

No.8 - Another Dimension - we want to believe

It seemed back in the day as though super fans of The X-Files actually bought into the idea that aliens may be real and living amongst us in secrecy, and other people would have laughed, and that would be that. But, movies have grown ever the more convincing, and even though we are all a part of the new age where we understand gravity, time, and the universe; there is still that twinkle of hope that maybe (just maybe) there is another ghost dimension.

Don’t like dimension? Well, how about; the other side, the place between heaven and hell, the close family members that have died still watching over you, and all of that magical thinking. Every so often the human mind wonders and plays tricks on the fool-hearted, and it can be easy to believe that you have seen something, when in actual fact you have had your first hallucinatory vision, and this is a common occurrence. Everyone will support the vision-site-see-er, and this is largely due to the human instinct to not want to lose the close human relationships that we have formed throughout the years.

THE HORROR!

Why do you love horror movies?

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