It has often been said that “There is nothing to fear but fear itself”. A term that often refers to man’s fear of the dark due to not being able to see what lies ahead. This is perhaps also the reason why we, as intelligent beings, enjoy watching a good horror film every now and then. We actually get to see what lies within the darkness. Come one, admit it, the darkness brings out the hyper imagination in all of us that would make even the best Stephen King novel look like child’s play. For indeed, as Stephen King tries to explain why the human mind is actually filled with psychotic thoughts,
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It may be that horror movies provide psychic relief on this level because this invitation to lapse into simplicity, irrationality and even outright madness is extended so rarely. We are told we may allow our emotions a free rein… or no rein at all.
Perhaps it is true that the most basic instict of man is to perform evil. But it is the most controlled emotion as man grows and learns the difference between right and wrong. But deep inside, there are times when we crave a release and wish to give in to this instinct. This is when horror movies becomes useful. It allows a safe release for the creative mind without posing as a real threat to anybody else.As perhaps pranksters would do. They love to pull jokes on people that actual leave the victim feeling horrified and the prankster frowned upon at the end of it. Such a belief is reinforced by such childhood activities such as he describes in his essay:
When we exhibit these emotions, society showers us with positive reinforcement; we learn this even before we get out of diapers. When, as children, we hug our rotten little puke of a sister and give her a kiss, all the aunts and uncles smile and twit and cry, “Isn’t he the sweetest little thing?” Such coveted treats as chocolate-covered graham crackers often follow. But if we deliberately slam the rotten little puke of a sister’s fingers in the door, sanctions follow – angry remonstrance from parents, aunts and uncles; instead of a chocolate-covered graham cracker, a spanking.
Indeed, the proof of the horror craving instinct of man can be seen in the smallest of children who march onward into the unknown as a form of child’s play while the adults pull them back, cowering in fear. For the child, it is a learning experience, for the adult, it is a foray into their own horror filled minds of worst case scenarios and boogey man appearances. Thus, the genre of horror films caters to an age specific group. Adults tend to have a lot more apprehensions and cautiousness about them as they have had had their own real share of horror experiences on hand. Although none like those shared in the horror movies though.
That is not to say that because adults are more used to repressing their horror film cravings in favor of more adult funfare, they do not enjoy a good horror movie now and then. You will find that when one is at his most angered or stressful point in his life, he tends to watch horror and suspense thriller films, seemingly cheering on the killer as he slashes a victim’s throat or cuts off a limb. In the viewer’s mind, it is his nemesis being done away with and thus allows him to safely vent his anger. After all,
The potential lyncher is in almost all of us (excluding saints, past and present; but then, most saints have been crazy in their own ways), and every now and then, he has to be let loose to scream and roll around in the grass. Our emotions and our fears form their own body, and we recognize that it demands its own exercise to maintain proper muscle tone.
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