Psychologists and laymen have often wondered why people like horror movies. The general assumption is that humans try to avoid discomfort. Why would they pay to be scared out of their wits? The following are some of the most prevalent theories and hypothesis.
It’s Only Make Believe
On trail of thought holds that people like these films because they know it’s not real. Although the scenes are scary, there’s the assurance that it’s only a movie. It’s true that some films are so engrossing you forget that you’re just watching it. But before the movie begins, the viewer knows that they will be able to come out of the movie theater safely. This is one reason cited why people like horror movies.
The Adrenaline Rush
Another popular idea is that it gives people a surge of adrenaline or energy. The screams from the audience and the suspense are an experience that some individuals crave. In a way it’s comparable to those who get thrills when going bungee jumping and doing other similar activities.
The sense of danger brings on the rush. In the world of scary films, it’s the fear factor that brings it on. This “high” therefore, can be used to explain people’s fascination with these movies.
More Entertained than Scared
For others, it’s all about entertainment and escapism. If you go to the cinemas, you’ll realize that people aren’t always screaming in fear. Some are actually laughing at something they see onscreen. This is another reason why people like horror movies. There are several types of emotions being expressed. As such it provides a form of entertainment that isn’t that different from other films.
These people also want to enter another world, where everything becomes possible. In this regard, the genre can be likened to fantasy films. Although the setting is otherworldly, scary and “unrealistic”, it allows people to express feelings that are very real.
To Escape the Real Horror
The world is full of genuine horrors, from mass murderers to terrorism. For this reason some choose to watch these scary movies to get away from the terrors of the real world. The implication of the theory of course, is that fear is an emotion that needs an outlet.
In other words, it must be expressed. This is only for individuals who enjoy these films of course. However it does provide another theory as to why people like horror movies. It’s also worth noting that the themes in these movies often reflect (in a way) the issues and problems that society faces.
Other Possible Answers
There are other possibilities. Some say they watch these movies because they like the storyline. While there are splatter / slasher flicks, some horror movies do have a coherent storyline. Other individuals are drawn to these films because they are interested in the paranormal.
Because they’re fascinated with the unknown, how it’s depicted on the screen draws them in. For these types, their attraction to the unknown outweighs their fears.
Ultimately the question of why people like horror movies can only be answered individually. Sociologically, it’s an interesting phenomenon. To the moviegoer though, what matters is that the thrills and chills are present in the film.