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The Joy of Horror

The appeal of horror movies has long been a topic of discussion and debate among film critics and scholars. From the earliest days of cinema, horror has been used to thrill and entertain audiences, tapping into our deepest fears and anxieties. But what is it about horror that makes it so appealing to so many people? In this blog post, we will explore some of the key elements that make horror movies so captivating, and why they continue to be a staple of the film industry.

One of the primary reasons that horror movies are so appealing is that they offer a safe way to confront our fears. The horror genre allows us to explore some of our deepest anxieties and terrors in a controlled environment, without the risk of real-life harm. By watching a horror movie, we can experience the thrill of being scared without actually being in danger. This is known as the "terror management theory", which states that people seek out horror to help them deal with their fear of death and the unknown.

Another reason for the appeal of horror movies is that they tap into our primal instincts. From an evolutionary perspective, humans have always been hardwired to be on the lookout for potential threats, and horror movies play on that instinct by putting us in a heightened state of fear and alertness. This can be seen in the way that horror movies often employ jump scares, sudden loud noises, and other tactics to startle the audience and keep them on the edge of their seats.

Moreover, horror movies often serve as a form of social commentary. Many horror movies explore themes and issues that are relevant to society, such as inequality, discrimination, and the abuse of power. For example, the horror movie Get Out (2017) uses horror tropes to comment on the racist and political issues that exist in US society. Horror movies can also serve as a reflection of cultural fears and anxieties, such as the fear of technology in films like The Terminator (1984) or The Matrix (1999).

Additionally, horror movies also have a strong emotional appeal. They often build tension and suspense in a way that makes the audience feel deeply invested in the story and the characters. They also often feature a cathartic release when the protagonist defeats the monster, or the horror is resolved in some way. This emotional connection with the characters and the story can be seen in the way that many horror fans are deeply invested in their favourite franchises and films, and are emotionally invested in the character's fate.

In conclusion, horror movies continue to be a staple of the film industry because they appeal to a wide range of human emotions, fears and instincts. They offer a safe way to confront our fears, tap into our primal instincts, serve as social commentary, and have a strong emotional appeal. The horror genre has a lot to offer and it is a testament to its enduring popularity and appeal. From the earliest days of cinema to the present day, horror movies continue to thrill and entertain audiences, and it is likely that they will continue to do so for many years to come.

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