scotland wrote:Just looking at a short blog by Stephen King on "Why We Crave Horror Movies" listing reasons like just cause its fun, to show we are not afraid, for kids to show they are not their parents, for parents to feel like kids again, and to re-establish our feelings we are essentially normal' by viewing something very not normal.
King spends most of the article on horror movies as a relief valve for emotions that society is uncomfortable with and aren't found on Hallmark cards (what King calls 'anti-civilization emotions).
Why do you love horror movies?
Here are some reasons I like horror movies:
- They offer a forum for self-examination of the darker parts of your personality, especially when the horror is human. You get to ask yourself "Am I capable of doing something like that?" or "How far away am I from becoming that?" or even "How have I mistreated others (or considered mistreating others) in ways, that while nowhere near this level, are still beyond what I would like to admit to?". If there are forces working to defeat the evil, I can ask myself questions on the opposite side.
- There's something to be said for the horror auteur, someone who has worked and reworked themes that are unique to them. If and when David Cronenberg eventually comes back to horror, I want to see what he does with his trademark body horror (and if he doesn't, I'll continue to watch his other films to trace the threads of it). I want David Lynch to peel back another layer of his surreal, confounding narratives. I want Sam Raimi or Peter Jackson (please come home!) to delight me with camera tricks, creative gore and over-the-top comedy. I like when directors branch out, do it's nice to see them come back to what they made with in the first place.
- I've brought this up when talking about heavy metal before: it's nice to see "disreputable art" succeed creatively to the point where the mainstream can no longer ignore it. It's cool to see films like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Curse of the Demon and Night of the Living Dead acknowledged as classics and valued as important pieces of our film history in the same way that Paranoid, Master of Puppets and Reign in Blood are in contemporary music.
-It's fun to watch an horror movie that comes from a different time or culture (or from a writer/director with a well-known backstory) and try to find how these elements influence the subtext. Sometimes there's a lot of possibilities (how many different themes can you dig up from the zombies in the original Night of the Living Dead?), and sometimes it's more obvious (Tobe Hooper's vegetarianism informed The Texas Chainsaw Massacre's "meat = meat & meat = murder" message, and the shunned underground society of special creatures in Nightbreed was at least partially inspired by Clive Barker's homosexuality).
- Sometimes I want to take a rollercoaster ride. Sometimes I want to be brute-forced into feeling something, anything at all. Sometimes I just want to see an envelope pushed. Sometimes I genuinely want to be disgusted or disturbed...in the safety of my living room or theater, of course.
- If a horror film is good at generating suspense or tension, has a well-constructed scare scene or manages to surprise me, I can look back over the film and admire the handiwork of the writer/director/technical staff. I want to analyze how they were able to wring such emotions from me, especially in comparison to horror movies that have tried similar tactics and failed.
- I like to see how movies from other genres manage to sneak in elements of horror as well, especially in the case of a writer or director who has done horror in the past. No one would call Raiders of the Lost Ark a horror movie, but Spielberg (who previously directed Jaws and Duel) made a rollicking, old-fashioned globetrotting adventure story with two scenes (the snakes scene and the opening of the Ark) that insured that there wouldn't be a dry seat in the house. The opposite (a director who has carved out a distinct identity trying horror for the first time) is also interesting (Kubrick directing The Shining, Barry Levinson directing The Bay, Kevin Smith directing Red State and Tusk, etc.).