Horror Films Essay

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Chelsey Stapleton Pfieffer English 1102 21 March 2011 “Why We Crave Horror Movies” Stephen King’s argument about the appeal of horror movies is legitimate: why would we want to watch someone by mutilated? When King states, “the horror film has become the modern version of the public lynching” (380). I strongly agree with this statement because it is proof that humans have always been fascinated with mutilation and the cruel death of others. In addition to the mere fascination with the torture, it allows adults to become children again. In that hour and a half while they are watching that horror film, they are allowed to act silly, scream, and be jumpy because the movie is “frightening” or thrilling. This goes against the grain of everyday life where adults are civil humans that are not scared by anything. Stephen King’s argument also discusses the difference between the emotions applauded by society, such as love, friendship, and kindness, and the feelings that are not necessarily going to receive positive reinforcement; however, they are feelings experienced by all humans (380-381). King’s argument is saying that even though we all know that brutal human mutilation is wrong, we still accept it as if it were a fairy tale that we claim as one of our favorite movies of all time. Horror films not only allow us to feel a rush and a blast of excitement, but they also present us with an opportunity to boost our self-esteem. They present the “bad” people as horrendously ugly, like Freda Jackson in Die Monster, Die!, in order to make us feel like nobody is really that ugly after all (379). Seeing the extreme anomalous characters in horror movies allows humans to feel like they are normal after all. This thought process works for us because we allow ourselves to live vicariously through the film as we are viewing it, as if we are in the background watching it.

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