Horror is my favorite movie genre and has been since I was young. There is nothing like the rush you get from watching a good horror or thriller movie. The immobilizing suspense and tension makes the experience equally exciting and attractive to a large group of the population.
Catharsis, a term explained by Aristotle, is defined as a process of watching dramatic scenarios to expel negative emotions. Experiencing fear, sadness, adrenaline and terror, in a way, help to calm us down. After watching a truly terrorizing film, I have felt the same sensation of relief by the end. I no longer feel as stressed or worried.
Glenn D. Walters, a psychologist for the Federal Correctional Institute in Schuylkill, Penn., explained the “excitation transfer” and “curiosity and fascination” audience members experience while watching horror films.
The “excitation transfer” is the “intensification of positive affect in response to plot resolution.” Audience members receive a sense of relief and satisfaction when the chaotic and dangerous scenario is wrapped up. After spending most of the time on alert from the suspense, the pleasurable ending of the movie eases and relaxes the viewers.
The curiosity factor of viewing a horror film is watching common societal norms crumble and be challenged. The viewers, according to Walters’s “Understanding the Popular Appeal of Horror Cinema,” are attracted to such films because it is “outside the viewer’s normal everyday experience.”
My Netflix queue is filled with horror and thriller films from across the world. I enjoy all types of horror from psychological thrillers to slasher and gore films. I am not for gore for gore’s sake, either.
There has to be a point to the bloodshed. For example, the movie “Funny Games,” a German horror film released in 1999. The premise is a home invasion where the invaders play childhood games to mentally and physically torture a family on vacation. Games like Hot ‘N Cold and Cat in the Bag are used to make the family do things and experience things a normal family would not.
While there are a few gory scenes in the movie, they are tastefully done. The attackers do not just assault the family to assault. The attacks are planned and integrated into the structure of the story to add more weight to what is being said and shown.
Horror movies are a vital part of the film world and have impacted audiences worldwide. I think it is an exciting genre and others should give it a chance. There is a reason why horror movies such as “Mama” make the top 10 during their opening weekends.