By Ronnie Sorensen
With Stephen King’s newest movie adaptation, IT, headed for release in theaters Friday, questions are being raised about the horror genre as a whole. While critiques of the newest adaptation haven’t been released yet, critics on Rotten Tomatoes are split nearly 50-50 on the 1990’s film; some either loved or loathed IT.
The same could be said about horror movies in general; they are either loved or despised. Why? Why do some people love the sensation of being scared? Is it the goose bumps? The hair standing up on the back of necks? Or just the horror-movie experience overall?
It all comes down to the experience and what’s in it. An article in the journal Cultural Studies from Taylor & Francis said horror movies are appealing because of the monster-filled scenarios they put us in. These monsters are disgusting, odd, and unlike anything we know, and that’s why we enjoy them. We love them for their thrills and their antagonists. They intrigue us as spectators. Overall, the horror-movie experience is one to remember, all because it throws us into a reality filled with monsters, ghosts, and scenarios that are beyond our own. It provides us with a challenge to overcome and new characters that we can see those challenges through. Horror movies are different, and people like it that way.
But what about the moviegoers who can’t stand the sight of demons, monsters, psychopathic killers, and maniac clowns? The people who sweat at the sight of a long, dark hallway? The people who won’t take a single step closer to a haunted house or corn maze? They’re afraid because those movies play upon their greatest fears. People who were terrified of the dark would go nowhere near Lights Out. If kids grew up hating clowns, then those people will most likely not go watch IT. If moviegoers hate certain horror films because they prey on their greatest fears, then they usually assume that every horror movie will be like that. That is not the case. There’s something out there for everyone.
I hated horror movies for a good majority of my life. I hated Halloween because of how scary it was to me—the haunted houses, corn mazes, scary movies, all of it, but then I actually sat down and watched a horror film that intrigued me. I saw Don’t Breathe, a movie that had no ghosts, demons, or mythical monsters. It was a simple man vs. man story line, and I loved it. Then I figured it out: I hated horror movies that had anything to do with the unknown, because that’s what scared me.
There are horror movies out there for everyone. These movies were made to put the viewers through a challenge that they would most likely never face in their lifetimes, and that’s captivating to them. Horror movies aren’t all about the scaring; they’re about providing us with something unique that other movie genres cannot. How to start enjoying horror films? Try something new and find one that works for you.