The that we tell each other, trigger the

The horror genre
identifies as an ancient form of art, which is something that people as a whole,
enjoy. The terrifying tales that we tell each other, trigger the less logical
parts of our imagination for as long as anyone can remember. Anything from
ancient stories of our ancestors to modern myths, we let rather sadistic
authors take us on such terrifying journeys. Better yet, we are more than happy
to pay for such a ‘privilege’. So far, many theories have tried to explain such
behaviour, asking questions such as; do we just enjoy the thrill of an
adrenaline rush which terror brings? Or maybe, do horror stories have a much
wider, moral purpose; reinforcing the rules and taboos of modern societies and
showing us the inevitable end to those who dare to go against them?

 

Horror movies definitely spark the need for both questions. By
delivering thrills in large quantities in addition to mooching around the
forbidden side of life and death, they’re referred to as “cautionary tales for grown-ups”. They also reflect the troubles of
people at the time of their releases. Nosferatu (1922) is not just a film about
vampires, it shows heart wrenching scenes of a town eaten by premature deaths,
which would echo the first World War and the great outbreaks of flu at the
time. Blade (1998) is also not just about vampires, it shows the fear of the
growing invincibility of those at the top of society which often prove to be
irresponsible yet powerful.

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21st
century horror films globally unite us in fears of contagion (28 days later),
they warn us about the possible dangers of leaving moral absolutism behind (the
last exorcism, the conjuring) or even briefly mention the faulty racial lines
which weave through our society (get out). Horror movies give us a free ticket
to ponder the moral and political shifts in our society. With each generation
we get the movies we deserve, furthermore, one of the fascinating aspects of
them is the constantly changing nature of the monster which cause us to
tremble. During the 1940s, society feared a part-man, part-wolf creature, whom
at the time resembled Hitler’s predatory tendencies. However, in the 1990s, the
need for a half and half creature disappeared as Jonathan Doe (se7en 1994) and
Hannibal Lecter (silence of the lambs 1991) were very human in their
cold-blooded and specifically calculated killing methods.

 

As eastern and western superstitions grew; ghosts and
zombies came into fashion in the first decade of the twenty first century. People
searched for an evil which was beyond human. Supernatural terror seemed to have
more of a significance than the news headlines which at the time consisted of
war. There also seems to have been a certain arrogance at play in the zeitgeist
– see: those who relished the short-lived reign of Torture Porn, movies focused
on the intense suffering of victims. And there was that whole sparkly vampire
thing, reflecting perhaps a desire to unite with the gods and become immortal?

 

Unfortunately, no one
felt so safe or immortal as the Great Recession hit. People even feared their
own homes as this unfortunate time cued masses of movies about home invasions,
domestic monsters like the Babadook, infections and viruses. Most of which,
made by the Warner Bros who really seem to worm their way into our personal
spaces and threaten us when we are most vulnerable. Strange cannibal families
also waved us another hello (we are what we are) and the classic young couple
films who buy a very cheap house and ‘surprisingly’ find something eerie about
the previous or very current owners of the property.

 

Now,
according to a 2004 paper, the Journal of Media Psychology written by Dr.Glenn;
there are only three main factors which make a horror film alluring to the
human mind. “Tension (generated by
suspense, mystery, terror, shock, and gore), relevance (that may relate to
personal relevance, cultural meaningfulness, the fear of death, etc.), and
(somewhat paradoxically given the second factor) unrealism”.  Mr Walters has made a reference to many
psychological studies, for example;