The term “horror” describes a specific literary subgenre whose primary goals are fright, hatred, or a combination of the two. As a subgenre of speculative fiction, horror is often further broken down into psychological and supernatural horror.
To successfully scare their audience, horror stories must establish a sense of dread and dreadful anticipation. It’s common to see the main antagonist in a horror story as a metaphor for the societal fears that inspired the story.
The sensation of fear excites us. Both our minds and bodies can experience stimulation, but in opposite directions, when we are exposed to or anticipate experiencing something terrifying.
Both types of stimulation are activated when one watches a horror movie, with the most pleasure experienced during a terrifying scene. The terrifying experience alters our biochemistry. The adrenaline hormone is secreted in response to fear, which amplifies feelings and increases physical activity.
We look at terrifying experiences to broaden our horizons. Horror movies about the apocalypse allow us to experience things like zombie outbreaks and alien invasions. The experience of going through a haunted house can give us a greater sense of fulfillment. It provides us with an air of sophistication or daring.
The dark side of the human psyche can be safely explored through the medium of horror entertainment, which can safely satisfy our curiosity about this subject. Hannibal Lecter and The Purge may never be a part of our real lives.
A good number of us are fascinated by the capabilities of our species. Watching storylines in which actors have to face their worst selves can be thought of as a pseudo-character study of the most depressing aspects of the human condition.
Some other ways in which horror media may be beneficial to mental health include:
- Opening up the minds and hearts of readers by exposing them to new points of view.
- Reading horror novels helps improve cognitive abilities and broadens their horizons.
Reading terrifying stories can help prepare us for real-world challenges. They teach us that it’s okay to feel scared and that life’s challenges are inevitable. Monsters are fun to watch, but they also have an educational responsibility to help us understand and manage our natural human response to terror.