Thrills, chills, and shrills: Fear provides weird twist on entertainment

The blood, the screams, and the killings are all aspects of scary movies that churn our stomachs and shake us to our core. Scary movies have long been part of popular culture and they have drawn in people with their horror-based story lines. While not everyone enjoys this kind of entertainment, there are some people that think the more realistic, the better. Movies with vivid pictures of chopped up bodies or realistic story lines help create an atmosphere of fear. It allows people to experience the thrill of danger without actually being in it. But why do people want this? Shouldn’t things that make people cringe be pushed away, especially if these things are plausible in the real world?

People like the idea of experiencing fear in a controlled setting, it allows them the thrills and chills without putting themselves in danger. They would rather experience the feeling of terror in the comfort of a chair alongside some popcorn and a large drink, because when the credits start rolling, people know the fear is over and they are thrown back into the safety of reality.

Still, it seems strange to some that movies containing so much violence capture so many people’s attention. I can’t explain the reasoning behind watching these movies, but I know I am not the only one that enjoys the violence, gore, and blood – lots of blood. People seem to like terrifying themselves.

Take the American television drama Dexter which is about a blood spatter analyst that is also a serial killer. As a child, Dexter Morgan was traumatized by having to watch the murder of his mother. He was then taken under the care of Miami police officer Harry Morgan, who later finds that Dexter was corrupted by the murder and now has a need to kill. Harry then teaches Dexter only to kill people that have killed without a reason. Killing people doesn’t usually sit well with most, but this show contradicts that idea with it’s massive amount of gore. And the audience continues to sit and watch. Why? If someone knew they were to die in some horrific way, I would assume they would be pretty scared – but watching someone else go through it is mere entertainment? People enjoy this kind of psychological thriller for all it’s darkness and gore.

I’ve also heard of a show called The Walking Dead which revolves around zombies and brain-eating. The show draws huge crowds each week with blood, sweat and tears. Slashers aren’t new to the popular culture, either. Movies like Friday the 13th, Halloween, and Nightmare on Elm Street have been cult classics for years and continues to gain followers in each new generation.

While some believe the thrill of being scared is just not logical, others believe that it has to do with the feeling of adrenaline. People like the jolt they get with every scare. Others say it is a way of seeing the character’s point of view through the eyes of the audience. Some people even yell at the screen about how stupid the characters are for stepping foot into a room or for not realizing there is someone behind them.

I don’t think everyone can understand the appeal of scary movies unless they have the mind of a twisted, sadistic and possibly dangerous person. I’m not saying you have to be insane to like scary movies, but it takes a certain type of person to like the scare over a happy ending.