Some people are passionate about horror. There are a variety of shows and movies that have been successful at making us want to go out and experience scary things.
Fear is a negative emotion, and it can be very distressing to watch a show or movie that has been frightening us. It can also be very unsettling to lie in bed and watch as the darkness around us continues to grow. What makes people so drawn to horror? Also, why do some people spend a lot of money on a scare while others try to avoid it?
Why do we watch?
One of the main reasons why people watch horror is because it can stimulate their physical and mental responses. Exposure to frightening acts can stimulate both the positive and negative aspects of our being. For instance, watching a horror film can trigger pleasure and fear in our bodies.
The chemicals in our bodies used to fight and control the effects of fear can also change when we consume horror. This can result in increased energy and heightened sensations.
Another reason why people seek out horror is to experience novel experiences. For instance, apocalyptic movies allow us to live out alternate realities, such as alien invasions and zombie outbreaks. Some novel experiences can also help us feel more daring or worldly.
Being scared can also help us keep track of the dark side of our souls. For many people, being scared is a way to satisfy their curiosity about what it’s like to be human. As an innately curious species, we are always fascinated by what our capabilities are capable of. Watching a show or movie that features characters going through the worst parts of themselves can help us identify the dark side of our being.
Where is the pleasure coming from?
According to researchers, people need a psychological “protective frame” to derive pleasure from being scared. There are various types of protective frames.
One protective frame is the safety frame. For instance, if the evil entity in a horror movie terrorizes us in front of our eyes, then we can still enjoy the experience. However, if the same evil entity scares us off the screen, the enjoyment will stop.
Another protective frame type is detachment, which is when we can temporarily forget the scary experience. For instance, if a psychotic murderer is terrorizing us in a film, we can temporarily forget that they are actors.
The last type of protective frame is confidence, which is when we can confidently manage and control the various risks we encounter. For instance, if we are scared but still enjoy going to a haunted house, we can still do so because of our confidence in our abilities to overcome the frightening experience.
According to researchers, lacking these psychological frames can reduce the urge to consume horror. It could explain why some people avoid attending events or reading scary books.