Why People Love Horror Movies

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19 January 2015

By Bronwen

The trailer we’re all talking about at the minute is for upcoming horror movie Unfriended, which is coming out on the 17 of April. There’s no denying that it looks absolutely terrifying, which raises the question: why on earth do we watch these movies?

Well, the phrase “curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought him back” might come into it. Whenever someone watches a trailer or hears a review, they probably think “what new can they really think of that is sooo disturbing?” Maybe that’s why some people go to see them, as a sort of challenge to see what they can possibly disturb you with that you haven’t heard of already.

But it is probably more scientific than that.

Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle believed that we love watching violent things because it releases our inner aggression. What else can release that inner frustration like watching a man stabbed to death by a demon? Actually, there’s more evidence to suggest the contrary- that these movies make us more aggressive.

The reason that seems to make the most sense can also explain why people like doing things like sky diving and riding fast rollercoasters. There are three aspects of a horror film: tension, unrealism and relevance, identified by Dr Glenn D Walters. The adrenaline released on the scary and intense parts gives a buzz- a little like some drugs. Humans crave this buzz and this difference in reality. Studies show that during scary parts in movies, our heart rates can increase by up to 15 beats per minute, which of course gives us a thrill that for some reason, we just love. Why else would we go and watch something that makes us want to be sick and prevent you from sleeping with the light off for a week?

There is no complete or accepted theory as to why people will be going out and seeing movies such as Unfriended but one thing is definite- millions of people will.

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