ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Common Talk #2: An Explanation for Why People Love Horror Movies

Updated on October 15, 2017
BNHook profile image

Brian lives in Massachusetts with his wife and two kids. He works in finance and enjoys writing and movies in his down time.

We weren’t always like this.

Why do people enjoy being scared? It doesn’t seem to make much sense, especially from an evolutionary perspective. We have evolved with fear in order to preserve our species. Simply put, it is a survival mechanism. Back in the cave man days, (I know I sound so uneducated…..maybe I’ll look up the proper name for that time period, but I doubt it) if a lion was approaching a family of homo sapiens, they instantly went into fight or flight mode. The choice to fight or flight strongly depended on how hungry they were and how hungry the lion was. Fear became instinctive and was developed to avoid things that could harm us.

The shift

So, what enabled us to make the shift from using fear as a tool of survival to a vehicle for joy and entertainment? Well, for starters, we aren’t living in caves or forests where we are constantly on guard from threats. This frees the majority of people (with the exception of living in a 3rd world country) to rarely experience any sort of real danger. We also got desensitized to many stimuli that provided entertainment when horror movies started to gain momentum

I am among the crowd that gets a thrill off of scary things including horror movies and haunted houses. Now for movies, obviously it’s fiction (don’t even start with the “based on a true store” crap) so I don’t fear that what I’m watching could pose a hypothetical threat to me. On the other hand, if I’m watching a documentary about the M13 gang in California and I live around one of their territories, then that’s real cause to feel afraid. But as a rational adult, I don’t watch “Saw” and then fear that the jigsaw doll will come rolling into my living room with his tricked out death tricycle.

Perception is everything

However, thinking like a rational adult is relative to what type of world a person believes the live in. I’ve come across many people who hold deeply religious beliefs that struggle with watching a horror movie or refuse to even watch one. From their accounts, they sincerely believe in the supernatural including ghosts and demons so for them, it’s more than a fictional story. When I sit down for a movie of this genre, I can get into it and enjoy the adrenaline rush of being scared; perhaps even going as far as imagining it happening. While some religious people abstain from watching such movies, others can enjoy the flick and separate the movie from reality. The difference is, after the movie is over, while I may rehash certain scenes that stuck with me, I move on and sleep just fine that night. The former group may find that given their deeply held beliefs, their subconscious (or conscious) may get the best of them and cause real fear.

A coping mechanism

Speaking of subconscious, this leads me into what maybe an unidentified but common reason why certain audiences can’t get enough of this scary genre. I’ll be the first one to admit that while I’m not easily scared, I can get spooked by noises and sights that I can’t immediately identify. The brain is a very powerful organ and can deceive often. We all get scared from time to time, whatever the reason or trigger, yet we deal with it in a variety of ways. Some of us pretend that we aren’t scared at all, others try to face their fears head on like spending a night in an allegedly haunted house. While I don’t particularly believe in the supernatural, (at least until some very convincing evidence is provided to me) you’d have to pay me a pretty handsome sum of money to partake in such an activity. So, if I don’t believe in the concept of an actually haunted house, then why would I be so averse to going in one? Well, I don’t care about proving other people wrong that much, but I’ll candidly admit that I fear the possibility that I am wrong about the paranormal. Thus, I’ve come to the theory that many other horror movie lovers (including myself), deal with that scary possibility via watching fictional accounts related to that subject.

My favorite horror flick

I’ll end with my top horror movie of all time. When I was 8 years old, my dad thought it would be a great idea to rent the exorcist with me. Thanks dad, way to use some excellent parental judgement on that one. It’s odd because I never had one nightmare about it, but that movie clears out my digestive tract each time I watch it, to this day. There have been plenty of other horror movies that are scary, but that one has always stuck in my mind. I’m not even sure why; I suppose the concept and sight of an 11-year-old girl possessed by a demon who talks a lot of smack is downright terrifying.

Well, that’s it for now. Can’t wait for Halloween so I can enjoy the three binges: scary movies, snickers and scotch.

Till next ride.

B.N.Hook

Scariest Horror Movie

What's the scariest movie?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)