Not Rated | 81 min | Nicolas Kleiman & Rob Lindsay | (Canada) | 2014
Sound byte Review: Talking about horror seriously and in a variety of contexts while still celebrating the experiences of fans makes Why Horror? a unique experience for viewers who both enjoy and are repulsed by the genre.
As someone who writes about horror and has a special appreciation for extreme gore, my sense of discomfort this past summer with the way some fan fiction was handling those perversions (murder, rape, incest, etc.) often tackled in horror was unexpected. And so as I was already beginning to question my own involvement in the genre, I was perfectly primed for the topic of this compelling documentary that seeks to answer why it is that people are drawn to horror. While I can’t say that it revolutionized my thinking on the topic, the film does illustrate the importance of opening up a conversation on why it is that we fear the things we do.
Premiering Friday on Showtime, Why Horror? is an interesting exercise in exploring all the varied reasons why horror resonates with fans. Examining everything from film to art to psychology, this POV documentary works largely because of its commitment to not exploring the genre in a vacuum. What I especially appreciated was the way in which the film wove in discussions of culture and gender to consider the myriad of ways in which horror has the power to impact society. Less in-depth exploration and more personal journey, the film is best suited to those viewers who can’t quite grasp why it is that people would find enjoyment in depictions of explicit gore and violence.