The Appeal of Horror

haunted houseIn his essay, “Why We Crave Horror,” Stephen King posits that we’re drawn to horror movies because they make us feel normal, essentially.  When we compare ourselves to the debauchery of horror movies, we don’t feel so frighteningly different from others.  We are not evil spirits or sociopathic serial killers, so we’re doing okay, and we’re not very unlike those around us.  King’s theory makes sense; nobody wants to be the victim of “terminal uniqueness” – the state of feeling inherently and vastly different from others.  But I think the theory is simplistic; it doesn’t fully embrace the multi-dimensional intrigue of the horror genre.  The theory seems to imply that horror fans see themselves as quirky outcasts who crave the feeling of being like others.  This is probably partially true.  I’m a little strange, and there have been times in my life where I’ve felt both strange and estranged.  But I think such a theory – without any supplementary reasoning – lends itself to a sort of “hasty generalization” of horror fans.  It assumes that, first, all fans of the genre feel “less than normal,” and second, that they all desire a feeling of normalcy.  I think King’s theory explains part of horror’s appeal, but it leaves room for further analysis. Continue reading “The Appeal of Horror”

The Appeal of Horror