The holidays are the time to get together with friends and family to celebrate old and new traditions. Most families have a ritual cookie bake or secret Santa or a favorite movie that brings everyone together. The past few holidays my cousins and I have developed quite the strange tradition. Rather than watch an uplifting holiday film or a family flick we all huddle in the basement and watch a horror movie. Yes, you heard me right a horror film. So what makes us on one of the best days of the year want to sit down for 2 hours and torture ourselves? Why does the idea of being scared and ready to jump at any moment sound appealing? Well I may have the answer.
Scary movies have been around since the beginning of time. Slasher films have been breaking boundaries and revolutionizing the movie world for years. However horror films do a little more than entertain you, they have the power to affect you psychologically. When watching a scary movie you know what you are getting yourself into, you want to be frightened. Your palms being to sweat, heart rate rises, blood pressure drops and muscles tense. Horror movies keep your attention and elicit various emotions. Psychology Today explains that we enjoy the tension horror movies bring such as suspense, terror, gore, sadness and shock. Like most movies we enjoy the unrealism and the ability to enter another world for the two hours of the film. There are four reasons for watching horror movies: gore watching, thrill watching, independent watching and problem watching according to Dr. Deirdre Johnston. The four viewing motivations are found to be related to viewers’ cognitive and affective responses to horror films, as well as viewers’ tendency to identify with the characters in the film. Lastly just the simple adrenaline rush. When we watch scary movies we are able to face our fears without doing it in reality.
Scary movies put us in a different world and make us feel a multitude of emotions. Whether it be with your cousins on a holiday or by yourself we all watch horror movies for different reasons.