the increasing popularity of horror as a genre, the appearance and topic of
horror seem to intrigue the hearts of
most people. Many theories have been introduced to explain the reason we return
to something that may instil fear in us,
especially horror movies. Although it is the norm for people to prefer other
genres better than horror, there is this appeal that draws the audience like a drug. Some might argue that liking
towards horror is due to the psychological thrills, but other factors can become
a manifestation such as personal liking or having a hidden agenda.
is no stranger to us and the charm that makes most of us want to watch it is a
wonder. Horror is the state in which one fear or be in dismay as a reaction to something
(Merriam Webster, n.d.). All of us perceive this either in a positive or
negative light and this affects the things we watch. The increasing trend in
horror films has taken the world by storm
with movies like Annabelle and IT, which touches on things we see in life with
to what we believe in horror films, in which the plots are just empty and have
an objective of only killing the main characters, some horror films might be
hiding a hidden message. Likewise, we see some horror films’ main antagonist hide
their true emotions behind a mask to build up the suspense and allow the
audience to perceive that they do not have any feelings and perks up audience’s
with, one experience this natural high when they are in a fight or flight response.
Similarly, when people watch horror, it has a special ability to make us quiver
which according to Fischoff, “often leave people feeling nervous and unsettled”.
In this case, one feels comfortable because
they know they are in a safe environment (Ringo, n.d.). The brain has enough processing
time to realise that the things we are seeing are fake and not “real” threats
which allows fear to be decreased.
advancements in technology, the aesthetic of horror movies improves
significantly. This could be proven by the camerawork, pacing and artful
decorations and environment of the different scenes. As follows by what Adam
Lowenstein published, the audience appreciates the movie as a pure performance.
reasons have been theorized as to why
people watch horror and one of which is it can boost self-confidence and
self-esteem after the movie has ended. For some, it allows building a stronger relationship, unity, and memories.
According to the Gender Socialisation Theory by Dolf Zillmann, or known as the ‘Snuggle
Theory’, it could be seen that horror films provide an opportunity for people
to achieve their traditional gender roles in which females get scared while the males are brave.
it is said that the more negative emotions one experience during a horror film,
they are more likely to enjoy the genre (Zillmann, n.d.). This contradiction
could be deemed as a conversion process and viewed as a positive aspect in the
end. Ultimately, horror is also preparation for young people to learn and
manage fear or for the outside world by allowing them to rehearse plausible events
that may occur.
contrary, not horror fascinates everyone. The most basic factor is that one might
be traumatised at a young age. Since children cannot differentiate between
fiction and non-fiction, thus, they get upset easily when seeing abnormal and
peculiar scenes in a movie. This provokes fear and affects some at a later
stage in life. Moreover, our brains respond more actively to the sight of
animals as compared to other pictures as outlined by Masataka’s study in 2010. This
thus explains the threats which left their imprints on our cognitive
a degree, according to the psychoanalytic approach, it could be seen when one
gets older, they forget what it was like being a child and become increasingly
immune to horror, resulting to not prefer to watch it eventually as compared to
young adults. As one gets older, they are faced with tougher and difficult
real-life challenges that are “scary and horrific” in their point-of-view. It
is popular among youths and young adults since they seek a sense of sensation in
that stage in their lives and their curiosity and fascination take over.
be argued on the fact that adults are less immune to horror as according to
Fischoff (2005), “Movie monsters tap into our archetypal fears that never
entirely disappear no matter how mature, smart, informed and rational we think
we’ve become”. This shows that there might be a possibility that adults just
entirely avoid horror genres as they prefer to not put themselves in a spot of being
scared. To elaborate further on what was mentioned earlier, horror movies could
be touching on one’s existential fear. One such example is of death and the endless
possibilities of us getting murdered by a serial killer. This fear may trigger
some adults which caused them to avoid horror movies.
literature, it focuses more on human beings generally and does not delve deep into a specific age group. With a broad and
non-specific focus, it is hard to judge and pinpoint the exact reason for
horror’s appeal. Even though the articles used talked about how adults tend to
not prefer horror as their favourite movie genre as compared to teenagers and
young adults, I believed the further research
could be done to figure out the effects of horror towards adults.
only that, even though this paper touched on the appeals of horror movies and possible
reasons people watch them, it did not talk about whether other factors come
into play when deciding to watch horror movies such as influenced by their external environment. Friends and/or family
might pressure them to watch the horror movies, so they watch them against
their own will. More research should be conducted to enlighten the effects of
peer pressure on certain activities, in this case, watching horror movies despite
them not having the intention to watch it in the first place.
nutshell, horror does appeal to us to a certain extent. Be it due to genuine
interest, curiosity or seeking thrills and sensations, many reasons play a part
as to why people are willing to pay money just to watch horror movies. However,
as humans, it does not apply to everybody. At the end of the day, fear and
horror’s appeal is subjective and personal and we should not deny the fact that
horror is becoming a genre that is taking cinemas’ centre spotlight.