Why We Crave Horror Movies

Why We Crave Horror Movies
By Stephen King
I think that we’re all mentally ill; those of us outside the asylums only hide it a
little better – and maybe not all that much better, after all. We’ve all known people who
talk to themselves, people who sometimes squinch their faces into horrible grimaces
when they believe no one is watching, people who have some hysterical fear – of snakes,
the dark, the tight place, the long drop . . . and, of course, those final worms and grubs
that are waiting so patiently underground.
When we pay our four or five bucks and seat ourselves at tenth-row center in a
theater showing a horror movie, we are daring the nightmare.
Why? Some of the reasons are simple and obvious. To show that we can, that we
are not afraid, that we can ride this roller coaster. Which is not to say that a really good
horror movie may not surprise a scream out of us at some point, the way we may scream
when the roller coaster twists through a complete 360 or plows through a lake at the
bottom of the drop. And horror movies, like roller coasters, have always been the special
province of the young; by the time one turns 40 or 50, one’s appetite for double twists or
360-degree loops may be considerably depleted.

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