Why We Crave Horror Movies: Cause and Effect

340 words | 2 page(s)

Stephen King writes in his essay “Why We Crave Horror Movies” of the reasons humans indulge in low-brow and low-quality entertainment: to see campy and low-brow films to satisfy the “mentally ill” parts of us that are otherwise quelled by societies. The blood, guts and gore in horror movies are somehow of sick satisfaction to us as we see fun in other people being harmed and killed.

Seeing horror movies does not present causation of murderous and psychopathic tendencies, but it speaks to a “psychic relief” of being able to allow emotions free rein, as King puts it. While there is no formal definition for low-brow entertainment, the Internet has provided several examples in the form of movies, television and leisure activity. Answers from a Reddit forum demonstrate slapstick comedy, monster truck shows and “stoner films” like “Dude, Where’s My Car?” and the chronicles of Harold and Kumar as low-brow entertainment that is still widely enjoyed. Reality television have taken over as the new soap opera: scripted, yet set against the backdrop of a certain lifestyle which many of us will never attain.

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What is low-brow entertainment is dependent upon personal taste and characteristics, so there will never be a definitive, one-size-fits-all answer. I believe that what it is about low-brow entertainment that attracts popularity is the complete and total aberration and escape from the mundaneness and stress of life. Seeing the struggles of women who have earn (or married into) more money than we will see in a lifetime allows us to, for no more than an hour, escape the reality of knowing we will never make that money. The combined glamour and drama of it all is what attracts viewers.

For most, myself included, it is simply entertainment. For critics, it is a shallow, uneducated and uncultured display of human life. Vapid housewives dominate the screen and are offering no intelligent discourse, especially to the minds of the young that indulge in it too. The cultural elite turns down their noses at anything not of pop culture.

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