Di Muzio (2006) emphasizes dark themes, plot and ways society’s consumption to gore can lead to a sadistic lifestyle in one of his studies and critiques on the horror film Texas Chainsaw Massacre, whereas views conveyed by King (2007) towards the genre are simply recreational and meant for adrenalin addicts. Ear piercing screams, blood splatters, loneliness, violence and isolated surroundings are only a handful of the themes mentioned in the analysis by Di Muzio in the movie Texas Chainsaw Massacre. These themes haunt the viewers significantly and especially children. The movie starts on a glorious note of friends united for a trip, only to see one their friend “struck on the head with a sledgehammer.” (Di Muzio, 2006, p. 279) This sets a tone of the unexpected and the directors emphasize greatly on scenes with numerous screams with utilizing blood to frighten their viewers. Fear is the product of our thoughts, it is temporary, but numerous individuals fail to realize the reality.
Contagious diseases, the blood sucking undead, villainous mutants, deadly parasites, body snatchers; Horror movies are all filled with common fears held by its audience and the public overall. These fears presented in horror movies are induced by actual events occurring at some point in history. In the past we don’t directly see Count Dracula, Frankenstein and Jason Voorhees attacking society but, reading between the lines, the villains in horror movies are present in the antagonists in real life. Whether it’s the representation of the nuclear war in Night of the Living Dead or societal division in The Hills Have Eyes, there is some truth in the fears present in horror movies. Horror movies throughout history reflect society; its fears, events and over all state.
According to Robin Wood in “An Introduction to the America Horror Film” (183-208), Bates follows the formula of the Monster being a human psychotic. This is conveyed through his normal façade portrayed with his introduction, the audience’s ambivalence, the use of motifs, the relationship family has in the making of the Monster, and the repressed sexual energy that is taken out in horrific ways. According to Wood, horror movies follow a basic formula. A variable in this formula is the relationship between normality and the Monster. “The relationship has one privileged form: the figure of the doppelganger, alter ego, or double…”(Wood 192).
The horror genre is synonymous with images of terror, violence and human carnage; the mere mention of horror movies evokes physical and psychological torture. As remarked by noted author Stephen King “the mythic horror movie…has a dirty job to do. It deliberately appeals to all that is worst in us. It is morbidity unchained, our most base instincts let free, our nastiest fantasies realized.” (King, 786). At manageable intervals, we choose to live these horrific events vicariously through the characters in horror movies and books as a means of safely experiencing the “what if”.
Not only is Stephen King’s essay, “Why We Crave Horror Movies”, a biased sample, but it also appeals to population and emotion. To further explain why we crave horror movies, King argues that “we are all mentally ill” (345). He expresses that we all make an independent decision to buy a movie ticket and sit in a theatre. King goes on the to explain our mental insanity through examples, such as, “sick jokes” (347). According to King, these “sick jokes” prove our insanity and our need to release that insanity through watching horror films.
Proving people’s odd decisions, he states, “When we pay our four or five bucks and seat ourselves at tenth-row center in a theatre showing a horror movie, we are daring the nightmare.” When explaining our mental health, he informs how we release our madness through bloody horror films. Horror movies bring out the worst in us and for all the right reasons. King’s big idea suggests that by watching our mad, deranged role models slaughter one another, is actually keep us in line mentally. It allows us to stay sane and untroubled. Watching others do the dirty work gives us a sense of relief.
How they’re done and the themes that they believe are evil or that they’re scared of. Ultimately horror movies are dark and invoke fear. Japan and America are two good examples of how horror movies in different cultures can be different, similar and how they can influence each other. One aspect of American horror movies is the fact that everything is rationalized in the movies. There is a need in American culture to explain why things happen.
On another note, we crave horror to make us feel a sense of normality. We are able to express the violences, held deep inside us, by watching or reading the horror. In King’s article, Why We Crave Horror, he expresses that, “...we’re all mentally ill; those of us outside the asylums only hide it a little better…” (King, “Why We Crave Horror” 1). This one statement makes the reader think and after reading the rest of the article you're able to understand that the horror we feel keeps the mental illness inside of us. He also states, “As long as you keep the gators fed.” (King, “Why We Crave Horror” 4).
Why We Crave Horror Movies We crave horror movies because of our curiousity of minds, the anatomy of the body, relief of security, how the brain and emotions work. We like to know how the human anatomy works. We sometimes wonder how the body looks like if something was broken or how gruesome it is. We have the urge to see it because we usually don’t experience it in real life. For example, when we watch “Wrong Turn” or “The Chainsaw Masacre”, these two films show the gruesomeness of humans being followed and tortured (i.e.
[…] No one can make us leave this house.” The Others deals with the coexistence of “otherized” identities. Thus, the conflict is resolved by overturning the role between the offender and victim of horror. People regarded to be included within the identified world confront the fear of objectobject of fear, newly recognizing it in ‘the other’s’ point of view. Similarly, while we are watching horror films we constantly confront with our own otherness, those fragile states deeply buried by psychotic defense. In this process, the horror film acts as a guide to help us face uncomfortable feelings and truths about ourselves.