Horror movies: It can be fun to be scared

I love horror movies.

I can confidently say I have seen all the top horror movies released since 2012 — I’ve also seen a good majority of the terrible horror movies.

When I think about why I like horror movies, I think that it may be because I was introduced to them at a young age. As a kid, I would watch horror movies with my dad. “The Ring” stand out as a fond childhood memory.

I’m not the only one.

The average person remembers watching a horror movie at 10 years old, according to a poll conducted by Tubi. The poll revealed 62 percent of people admitted it can be fun to be scared.

New horror movies have shifted away from classic monster or ghost movies to psychological thrillers such as “The Invisible Man” and “Hereditary.”

The 2019 movie “Us” by Director Jordan Peele is the top rated horror movie on Rotten Tomatoes, followed by Peele’s 2017 movie “Get Out.”

The 2017 IT movie is the top-grossing horror film worldwide, having earned $700 million.

But why do we like horror movies? Why do we actively seek to watch things that scare us?

Despite a century of horror film making and entertainment, little research has been done to examine the motivation to watch horror.

A study done in 2019 titled “(Why) Do You Like Scary Movies? A Review of the Empirical Research on Psychological Responses to Horror Films” aimed to answer this long-standing question.

“Horror film is the only fictional genre, which is specifically created to elicit fear consistently and deliberately rather than sporadically or incidentally,” according to the study.

Suspense and resolution of suspense are two important components of horror, according to the study.

The authors of the study continue to say enjoyment of horror movies is derived from the degree of negative effect built up during the horror film and then the positive effect that results from the resolution.

“When a threat is resolved, our negative affect converts to euphoria and suspense ends,” according to the study. “If the resolution does not occur, then residual negative effect will lead to increased dysphoria.”

It now makes more sense to me that the horror industry has opted to transition horror movies from monsters/slasher movies, to sit-on-the-edge-of-you-seat movie.

After reading into one possible reason as to why people like horror movies, I plan to seek out movies that were praised for their suspense and resolution.

With short days and long nights, it is the perfect season to settle in with a good horror movie.