Our Hunger for Horror


Cole Mago, Staff Writer


You and a hundred other people sit and watch in anticipation — in fear, and wait for the next slash, the next slice, the next blood-curdling scream. A scream that might have come from the person beside you or the movie you’re all watching. That’s because the people with you and people all around the world are just like you; they all have a hunger for horror. Why is that?

With Halloween approaching, it’s time to revisit everyone’s not-so-secret obsession with gore, guts, blood, and disembowelment — not to mention the litany of supernatural serial killers. With horror movies old and new including most if not all of these aforementioned obsessions, the hundreds of millions of dollars they rake in each year is enough to prove just how much we love our gruesomeness. In 2020 alone, a relatively bad year for the movie industry as a whole, the horror genre still managed to profit $247 Million off of peoples’ fixation on fright. 

So, why do we love horror so much? It’s clear from box office performances, sold-out Halloween-themed amusement parks, and a collective affinity for horror self-evident everywhere that there is some reason for all of this. 

You know it’s fake

If you saw a 100% real video of a supernatural serial killer like Jason hunting down camp counselors, turning them inside out, and giving them a few extra holes, I think that would traumatize even the most extreme horror seekers. But when you watch it on the big screen, it doesn’t have the same effect because you know it’s fake. Especially in older horror films, I feel like it’s a lot harder to be genuinely scared at the sight of an even more lifeless silicone prop corpse. All of this might be obvious to you now but think back to when you weren’t as aware of the fakeness of fake blood or a severed arm. You probably have some deeply embedded memory of looking into your bedroom late at night and imagining a ghost watching over you. Watching horror satisfies some twisted brain itch to see the grisly events unfold.

It’s a release of emotions

Think back to when you last saw a horror movie. What were your thoughts going into the movie, and what were your thoughts coming out. Did you feel strangely better after watching people get chopped to bits? Filmmakers have argued that horror movies can offer a purge of emotion to the viewer. It can be a way to release pent-up anxiety or aggression. Maybe seeing images of the antagonist or protagonist getting what they deserve can be a good way of letting off some steam. 

The suspense is killing me

We’ve all seen it: you’ve been watching a horror movie for almost an hour, witnessing people go missing, characters finding cryptic clues, and all of this for the perpetrator not to be revealed yet. The suspense of not knowing when they will pop out of the shadows can be nail-biting. You never know when or how they will be unveiled. You can’t take it, you’re already on the edge of your seat. And when the tension is broken chills run down your spine and your hair stands on end. It was worth the wait.

We’re just in it for the rush 

Maybe the most simplistic answer as to why we love horror so much is that we’re just in it for the rush. A quick way to get our blood pumping all from the comfort of a cushioned seat. This answer would probably be the answer given by most people, myself included. Forget filmmakers remarks about purging emotions, or knowing that it’s fake, maybe we like to get scared for the simple fact that we like to get scared

Hopefully, all of this talk about blood, guts, and murder got you excited to go back to the movie theaters and watch with a hundred other people, some poor souls get a kitchen knife to get plunged into their back.