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Posted on April 12, 2015

Considering The Allure of Horror Films


There is a debate among scholars, psychoanalysts, philosophers, and spectators as to the allure of horror. Generally speaking theories include manifesting repressed feelings, seeking to see others punished / survive, sensation seeking, purging of emotions, and as an outlet for societal ills.[i] In an attempt to weigh in on this discussion I argue that the allure of horror films is largely linked to the acceptance of the darkness in our hearts. It is about the gratification of letting your socially uncomfortable traits frolic amongst the others for 90 minutes. [ii] While this may seem dangerously close to the catharsis school of thought, I diverge by adding a few other mechanisms. For one, I don’t feel as if we need to be purged of these feelings that society deems undesirable. Furthermore, I believe there are three overarching components to the enticement of horror films: 1) engagement in the illicit; 2) the comprehensive, visceral body sensations; 3) and most importantly, the admission that we all have a dark side.
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