I love horror. I always have—that’s why I write the stuff I do. But lately, I’ve been wondering why. Why do we love being scared? When you really consider it, it’s pretty silly. Laughing is more pleasant, isn’t it?
Well, maybe not for all of us.
Think about it.
There you are, sitting in the dark on your sofa or in your local movie theater, eagerly awaiting the next horrible thing that’s inevitably going to happen because it’d better. You’re at a horror movie. Thrills, death and scares are what you’re here for.
You keep reading that scary novel, deep into the night. The house is silent and dark, but there’s that one little nagging thought. Maybe someone or something’s hiding in the shadows of the hallway.
You did this to yourself. You wanted this.
But why do we pay good money to have the hell scared out of us? Why do we plug in the latest horror DVD and shut out all the lights? What’s glitch lies within our psyche what would make a seemingly reasonable person want to be frightened?
Well, we’re not as messed up as you might think. We didn’t have parents (well, most of us didn’t) who locked us in closets or sent us alone, at dusk, to place flowers on Grandma’s grave. We’re, well, normal.
Fear is the most negative emotion, and according to Aristotle, we learn more from ugly and painful things than from any other reaction. As human beings, we enjoy learning or “gathering the meaning of things.” Frankly, when I look around most movie houses, I find that to be a true statement. Who goes to see horror? Nerds. Geeks. Bookworms. Writers. Pretty sharp minds. Not the most fashionable folks, but definitely intelligent.
Now, take a look at the crowd at the latest Tom Cruise flick. DUH!
Of course, Aristotle might have had some insight on this, but evolution may suggest something else. Why do we rubberneck in hopes of seeing a bit of blood when we pass gruesome accidents? Most of us live in a cushy lifestyle where the most threat we see is trying not to trip over a curb. Fear and revulsion trigger signals that indicate danger. As a constantly evolving species (again, questionable, don’t you think), we must heed to those signals in order to increase our chances of survival and propagation.
That’s way too scientific for me, but horror movies and scary reads actually do this same thing. The nice part is there is no investment. Once we close that book or leave that theater, we’re finished. No ties. No responsibility. No obligation. No apologies. That’s what good horror is. A building sense of dread, heart-pounding moment, and then a nice climax. It’s a horror geek’s twisted version of pleasure and I love it.
If you love to be scared as much as I do, please check out my latest novel Solstice. Afraid of the investment? Try a sample first. You may enjoy it. Visit Amazon for more information.
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