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Horror, Fear, and the Elements That Draw Us

The late great poet Ralph Waldo Emerson once said “Do the thing we fear, and the death of fear is certain.” He was correct, and unintentionally prophetic in an indirect relation to horror cinema. We love fear, because we love to face adverty. There is no liberation like the liberation one feels after toppling a mental obstacle.

Of course, there’s more to the appeal of horror not just in cinema, but literature as well than staring down the barrel. In fact, humans are flawed creatures, and as a result, you’ll find numerous reasons and taboo excuses for love of the macabre.

I for one am a docile thrill-seeker. I’m well aware of the oxymoronic nature of that statement, but it’s not only valid, it’s absolutely true. I thrive on confronting the unknown; but only from the comfort of my couch. There’s an underlying hint of cowardice in that statement, but there’s a far more reassuring safety in my home, with my doors locked and windows shut; Don’t expect any shame from me either.

I enjoy being able to toe-the-line with the antagonist until the final frame, when I walk away less brutalized than our on-screen hero or, often, heroine. But remember, there are millions of consumers who mirror my sentiments. The thrill of a horror film is electrifying, the potential reality is paralyzing.

The adrenaline that comes with viewing a terrifying piece of art makes for an exhilarating experience, that doesn’t mean I want to walk outde and run face-first into Michael Myers.

We still live in a fairly rational society. Having said that there are legions of horror fans who tune in not for perseverance of the experience, so much as the fantastical ultra-violent nature of the material.

It’s important to remember that rage and violence come upon many a man in today’s social landscape; for that man, horror is a reliable tenon reliever. It’s an avenue to live out phantaes without crosng the threshold of insanity. Personally, as long as viewers of that nature keep that madness locked away in their brains and DVD’s, I say, go for it. I’d rather the decapitation scene stay nestled in the tunnels of thought than sneak its way into a suburban home.

One must also conder that horror is mply another option made available to the consumer. Just about everyone enjoys a quality comedy, or well assembled action film. But for those nights when farting girlfriends and exploding cars don’t whet the appetite, a little blood and guts often stirs the pot of interest.

People will be fascinated by the complexities and mysteries of the horror genre until cinema no longer exists. There’s a good reason for this: there is no limitation to fear. We all tremble for different reasons, sweat in differing scenarios, cry in different moments. As long as filmmakers remember that fear must reach into the human soul and squeeze a genuine emotion, the horror genre will continue to thrive.

Matt_Molgaard Thursday 6/23/2011 at 03:21 PM | 77674