Why We Crave Horror Movies

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In his essay, “Why We Crave Horror Movies” King attempts to bring understanding to the phenomenon of the horror film genre. He states “sanity becomes a matter of degree” eluding to the theory that sanity is relative and that all humans are relatively insane. Jack the Ripper and the Cleveland Torso Murderer were the examples of humans on one extreme of the spectrum of sanity; saints represent the other safe end of the sanity spectrum. He illustrates the thought that in order for human kind to stay functionally sane there needs to be some sort of outlet for our violent “mad” thoughts. In King’s view horror movies provide a stable outlet and mental relief for innate madness. King argues that his insanity/ant civilization emotions are ingrained in the human mind and require attention every so often. He does this by sharing a joke he heard told by a ten-year-old, “’What’s the difference between a truckload of bowling balls and a truckload of dead babies?’ (You can’t unload a truck full of bowling balls with a pitchfork)” (415). This anecdote “proved” King’s theory that anti civilization emotions are natural, because “It appeals to all that is worst in us” (415). He ends by theorizing that as long as the inner monster us “fed” (with horror movies and dark humor) that humankind should be fine. Stephen King’s essay, “Why We Crave Horror Movie” was written to explain how horror movies keep humankind sane and why we need an extra outlet to keep the questionable emotions at bay. King writes not as a perfect human but as one who encourages the audience to understand purpose of the horror film genre. The audience in reference being average movie goers and those who oppose horror movies, because most likely hardcore fans don’t need a reason as ... ... middle of paper ... ...e to maintain a proper muscle tone” (415). King takes the effectiveness of this idea and squashes it by not backing it up with any real proof. If he had done any research on this subject it would have supported his thesis majorly but there are no studies or experiences to back up his claim. While it sounds good at first when analyzed it becomes a pointless idea created in the mind of one Stephen King. Most of King’s essay is speculation conjured up in his mind. It is an interesting read and he does get his point across clearly and concisely. The major problem with his essay is that he doesn’t back his claims with fact. King relies mainly on connecting theories and creating something that sounds logical. If we all as King assumes fall somewhere on the spectrum of crazy why haven’t more of us snapped and why are there people who can go without watching horror movies?
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