Why Do I Enjoy Horror?

I enjoy a horror game or a movie from time to time, but most of the people I know find them to be really unpleasant or even distasteful. I find it difficult to explain why I’m drawn to horror, but it’s something that humans have been enjoying for a long time. I do have some barriers about what sort of content I feel is appropriate – I think this is different for each person -, but I also think that macabre is another way for us to express ourselves. It doesn’t mean that I like the thought of people suffering, but can be a way of coping with the darker side of life.

I have problems with anxiety, but horror gives me an opportunity to be brave. For some of us it’s a personal journey to test our own courage. Usually the scarier it is the better; The sense of achievement we get comes from sticking it out to the end. It can also help us to feel better about our own lives due to the stark contrast; No matter how bad times get, it doesn’t compare to our horror protagonist.

Horror gives us a bit of an adrenaline rush. I don’t actually enjoy the feeling of being scared, but I do like the relief that comes on the other side. When I reach the end credits of a survival horror game for instance, it can leave me feeling pleasantly giddy as the tension is released. This might also help to release some of the tension I’d already been feeling in my own life before starting the game. This is why I keep coming back; I walk away only remembering feeling good at the end, having forgotten all the scary parts. Apparently there have been studies that show we feel happier right after experiencing such an adrenaline rush. I can also make jokes and laugh at myself when I realize how silly I was for being scared.

I also like a good mystery, and it’s something that usually goes hand in hand with horror and our fear of the unknown. There’s that part of you that is terrified to go onwards, but at the same time curiosity gets the better of me. The exploration of the plot and learning to understand why things are happening is a part of the reward I get for sticking it out. I think I also enjoy exploration more when risk/reward plays a factor in it. I like my stories to be atmospheric too and as horror can be so emotionally heightened it can add to the engagement I feel with the world; My senses are more open to taking things in.

It’s difficult to explain why we would enjoy what are considered to be negative emotions and the reasons may differ from person to person. I think it’s OK to express ourselves in that way because it’s not real and it doesn’t have to define us. I’m actually a really sensitive person in real life, but horror gives me a bit of a thrill from a safe place.

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About wallcat

I have a strong passion for computing. In particular programming for which I am able to use a variety of languages including C++, Visual C#, Blitz Basic, Actionscript 2.0, Python and Lua. I also enjoy web-design and have some knowledge of HTML/CSS, PHP/SQL and Javascript. As well as programming I have a strong background in art and enjoy drawing in my spare time. When I’m not sat at my computer I like to keep fit by going to the gym or using my exercise ball.

6 responses to “Why Do I Enjoy Horror?”

  1. Pasduil says :

    I’m not really into horror, so it’s quite interesting to hear about why people like it. What you say about it makes it sound like a form of “catharsis”, which was supposed to be what people got out of tragic drama.

    • wallcat says :

      I’d been wondering for a while why some people enjoyed putting themselves through fear while others hate it. I find horror to be a really interesting area because it’s designed with a specific purpose to make us feel something and can have a strong affect on people. I imagine it can be a form of catharsis, for similar reasons that we can enjoy depressing music or fiction. It can be a way of dealing with certain emotions, even if the type of content seems dark and uncomfortable.

  2. Ally Bally's Blog says :

    I was once afraid of horror movies & stories. How did I get over this? I started watching, reading & writing horror. Now, I’m not saying that horror doesn’t still freak me out, but now it’s tolerable & enjoyable.

    • wallcat says :

      I’ve come across people that wish to enjoy it and understand what horror fans get out of it, but I don’t think all mindsets enjoy the thrill that comes with it. I think we can desensitize the more we expose ourselves to it though. Films don’t bother me much, but games can still freak me out.

Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. I Never Rage Quit | My Inner Geek - January 14, 2016
  2. “You’re Too Sensitive” | My Inner Geek - April 4, 2016

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