What do Freddy Kruger, Norman Bates and Hannibal Lecter have in common? They love to hear us scream.
The topic of horror movies invokes a variety of responses from people ranging from those who have never seen one to those who watch one every day.
People who are fans of horror movies differ in their responses as to why they enjoy the genre. Some say it’s because of the gore-factor. Others say it’s because of the adrenaline rush that comes with it.
While the specific reasons change for people’s love of horror, one common factor is that fans find the stories to be compelling.
Classic movies, such as “Psycho,” “The Shining” and “The Exorcist,” have kept viewers on the edge of their seats for decades through captivating narratives.
On the other hand, a story may be interesting, but that doesn’t mean that the viewer holds a desire to continue watching the movie.
Several of those who don’t enjoy scary movies express that the fear felt along with the film is not something they enjoy.
“I feel that scary movies aren’t good,” Joseph VanWagoner, a supply chain management major, said. “They don’t uplift or encourage us to be better in any way … What is the point? Can’t we do something better with our time?”
A misconception about horror films is that they are all filled with buckets of blood and killing almost every character on screen.
Common themes in horror movies come in waves of what is popular at the time. For example, the 1980’s brought us slasher films where a single killer violently torments and slaughters innocent people over a series of movies (i.e. “Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Friday the 13th”).
A theme being expressed in popular horror movies of today focuses more on a terrifying story than on gore. Movies such as “The Witch,” “Sinister” and “The Babadook” are created to have stories that intensify in fear after you have seen the movie.
“[Horror movies] tapped into primordial archetypes buried deep in our collective subconscious – images like shadows and mothers play an important role in the horror genre,” Psychoanalyst Dr. Carl Jung said.
Some have argued that those who enjoy horror films are simply fans of violence. “[Enjoying violence] doesn’t explain why some viewers respond positively when the norm violators such as the sexually promiscuous teenage couple, the criminal, the adulterer – are punished and killed by the movie monster,” John Hess, of “Filmmaker IQ,” said concerning those who enjoy violence. “We like horror movies because the people on screen getting killed deserve it.”
Most audiences agree that horror movies are a source for entertainment that can delight and terrify at the same time.
Whether you like horror films or not, their pop-culture impact cannot be denied. In the words of the sheriff from “Halloween,” “Everyone’s entitled to a good scare.”