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Why we like horror movies is something we cannot fully explain for ourselves, or why we even discriminate on the types of horror flicks we watch. Some people abhor the slasher movies, while others dig the paranormal ones or those spun around a psychological disorder, physical disfigurement or demonic possession .
Scary films based on true but inexplicable stories can attract a lot of moviegoers, while those depicting how mankind will meet a horrific end can leave us stunned and worried about our own safety.
Yet we cannot really say for sure why horror movies are of interest to us and to so many people. There is something about horror films that makes us go and want to see if it will scare the life out of us. Scary flicks attract; otherwise movie outfits will not invest time and resources to produce them.
Take “The Conjuring” as an example, which recently released its seventh sequel “Annabelle Comes Home.” Now a cult classic, as the movie franchise already has followers still wanting to experience another round of nervous anticipation and reactions toward a sinister-looking, worn-out porcelain doll named Annabelle.
Why moviegoers like frightening movies so much is something that psychologists have also pondered on and provided with meaningful answers, to which some may or may not agree.
What Psychologists Say about Liking Horror Films
Dr. Jeffrey Goldstein, a professor and affiliate researcher of psychology in the Department of Media and Culture at the University of Utrecht explained, that people choose frightening films as entertainment because it is the kind of movie that can affect them. Well, in a way true, because if a horror film does not scare the wits out of us, it leaves us disappointed, sometimes vowing never to see a horror flick ever again. :
In a 2004 paper published in the Journal of Media Psychology by Dr. Glenn Walters, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Pennsylvania’s Kutztown University, and also a forensic psychologist, the author named three factors in horror movies that draw audience.
One is tension, which tends to move us at the edge of our seats to take flight any minute, because the suspense and shock we feel watching the scenes are so intense. Another is relevance, one which makes us feel vulnerable, and fearful of what is actually happening around us. The third is unrealism, which taken in context as related to the second factor, allows us to view possibilities at a distance, or experience simulations of real events while disconnected to the reality of it all.
The views of those two psychologists are in ways similar to explanations carried by other research studies on why horror films attract. Since most of us would agree to their opinions and explanations, it gives us assurance that our penchant for horror flicks are not at all, indications of negative inclinations or behaviors.