Why is it that we enjoy watching horror films? There are many different theories and studies into the minds of horror film lovers. One study that I recently read examined that it could be how the viewer perceives adrenaline. It found that those who love roller coaster rides may also love horror films, as this ‘rush’ of adrenaline from being scared is one that they enjoy.
A different study was able to make the connection of gore
loving film watchers also having a low amount of empathy, as a high amount of
empathy would cause the viewer to feel too bad for the character’s bleeding,
and it would take any enjoyment out of this for them. This could also be
examined towards the connection of overall empathy, as well as their reaction
to films like the Saw series, where characters are constantly in pain and
However, in 2015, an additional discussion was brought to
attention that none of the theories (at that point) showed any floorless connection
to answering the question of ‘Why do people enjoy watching horror films?’. So
we’re going to explain why we I think that we enjoy them.
Horror films provide a massive change of the norm. Anywhere
else, in any films or any situation in life it would be widely out of the
ordinary to see someone carrying a decapitated head, whilst dragging a giant
axe on the ground. However, this is common in horror films, and therefore
provides an incredible amount of escapism. Sometimes we get sick of seeing the
good guys always winning, and can often actually identify better with the
villains who become murderers. Everybody experiences anger at times, and in
those bitter, negative moments we don’t want to see a venerable princess being
saved from a castle, but someone hiding in a closet knowing they’re probably
going to die. Why? Because we feel that we are in a better situation then them.
You may have been dumped, fired or in trouble, but at least no one is hunting
you down with an axe as you hide number your bed, knowing that your doomed.
If we watch a romantic comedy, where the guy gets the girl,
and the girl gets the guy, and we are sat in our bedroom alone, eating ice
cream and drinking a fizzy drink from the can, we feel hopeless and alone. If
we were in the exact same spot, watching someone being chased down, knowing for
well that they are going to die, we know that it’s not us that have to worry.
We can understand how terrible that situation would really be, and why we are
so grateful to not be in it.
Or, maybe we’re just sickos? Who knows!