The value of adding horror stories in your life all year
While people pack up their inflatable pumpkins and start replacing them with giant snow globes, it becomes clear that Halloween is over. That’s it. No more costumes. No more candy corn (thankfully for some), and no more scary movies. But why?! Why relegate an important part of our cultural psyche to a few weeks in October? I contend that the Horror genre should have a more regular place in our lives. If you have the stomach for it, it can increase or lust for life and encourage bravery.
At this point in the article, it is assumed that you watch, have watched, or at least entertain the idea of watching a horror movie. Welcome. Horror has been a popular form of entertainment for hundreds of years. World famous authors like H. P. Lovecraft, Bram Stoker, and Stephen King have captured the minds of a large audience with stories of spirits, vampires, and killer clowns. Why would this improve our lust for life? How could watching a movie about a machete-wielding murderer increase how much we value life? The answer comes from the physical response that we have while watching these movies.
The chase scene. The hiding in the closet scene. The encroaching horde scene. These all make our heart race, our palms sweat, our eyes dilate, and our breathing shallow. This is called the fight or flight response. This happens when we are in nature and a bear is coming after us. We want to fight, flee, or in some cases, freeze. The heightened state of awareness, readiness, and focus this brings with it are easily remembered after the threat is gone. Since we (hopefully) are not regularly being chased by bears, we can potentially go through our lives with little or none of these states occurring. When we feel threatened, naturally or artificially, we instinctively rush toward survival.
The horror genre began to take root at a time in history when we were no longer living in the dark ages. When we began to conquer the natural fears in the world. Human beings instinctively were drawn to write and to read these types of stories from that point onward, as if to supplement the real threats with a pill form of them on paper. When we are fighting to live, we are not complacent. We are not depressed. We are striving to live life. This alone would be a valuable enough reason to pepper in some flakes of horror on our regular media that we digest. But there is more to it!
When a babysitter attacks a masked killer with a coat hanger or kicks him down the stairs in order to save herself and the children left in her charge, we see bravery. When a man holds the door against a crowd of zombies in order for the rest of the group to run to safety, we respect that action. The heroes of the tales of horror we watch are examples of facing our fears. Whether we see it as Freddy in our dreams, or the neighbors who have been poisoned by toxic water, facing these terrors alongside our cinema allies can bring strength to face our day to day challenges. How bad does presenting our results to a few colleagues at work seem after seeing a man who just woke up in a hospital with nobody around him survive against running zombies and psychotic military men? We can hack it.
We watch horror movies before Halloween. We watch them at Halloween parties. And we talk about them all year round. Partaking in the Horror more regularly really can benefit us. As long as we are not actually still dreaming and getting stalked by a guy with a bladed power glove