So, my friends and I have a Facebook group that is secret, which means that only the people in the group can see it and see other members posts. Usually, its just gossip and talking about that cute boy in Junior year, but out of the blue, my friends posted about society’s obsession with horror films. This is how the conversation went:
G- “So I’ve been thinking,
Why do we, as human beings, get pleasure from watching horror movies? I mean, when you really think about it, it’s pretty perverse. Not to mention the fact that they are mostly focused on kids OUR age or only a few years older getting picked off and murdered one by one… Think about how petrified we’d be if we were in the situation. We laugh, we scream, we cry (well, Val does) but we actually ENJOY watching children die.
That’s pretty fucked up.
S- “ I for one, do not at all get any pleasure from watching a horror movie, first off i do believe in paranormal activity and i am scared of it so i don’t want to watch it and i have the mentality that if i am seeing someones leg get hacked off or brain get eaten or face get ripped of and worn, they have a way of making it so real that i might as well be watching it happen for real as, in a weird far removed third person way, i hate that i hate it it does nothing for me it never will, being scared is not a thrill for me at all, it is something i avoid the best i can of course being scared in a funny way is better than being scared for real so its good to keep your emotions balanced but I cant attest to being a ‘human’ who finds perverse joy in scary films because i hate them, but i do find pleasure in controversial situations, physical fights, people screaming or breaking down, any type of out of the ordinary fit of emotion really excites me, which i think is far more perverse. Then again straight up dying is way less terrifying than not dying, so being thrilled by the death scenes is not that perversed because its almost a relief, being emotionally, psychologically and physically tortured with no end would be a creepy thing to get excited from watching.”
G- “I catch your drift S but I don’t that a large about of people (primarily horror movie fans) would actually agree with the statement that death is considered a release. Most would argue that the survivors are the lucky ones opposed to the teenage girl who gens skinned alive or hacked to death. I too do not enjoy horror movies, I personally can’t handle the anxiety, but at the same time I think its important to acknowledge that they appeal to a HUGE amount of people. I also disagree with you saying that finding pleasure or at least excitement in more realistic emotional trauma is more perverse. I think a huge part of good film making and acting is based on peoples’ ability to relate to it. You’re supposed to be able to understand, and in a sense, feel relief that people experience similar or worse situation and feelings to you. Think about stand up comedy for example, people find self-derogatory humor amusing because they relate, its instinctual. Whereas very few people albeit Ed Gein and psychopaths can relate to being tortured.”
K- “I mean S said it all for me. It’s not the killing off that terrifies me, its the slow torture. And this is quite perverse, but as a viewer, I am more interested in the chase than the catch. That’s where it’s wrong. Death is inevitable. It knocks on everyone’s door, but torture makes you ask the question: “Why me?” Whether it is emotionally or psychologically (more psychologically) they are far more terrifying and more twisted than any leg or arm being chopped off.”
S- “Yeah I mean I do like what you say G about relating it to the audience and such and that is why the more complex emotional terror movies are the ones that last and time transcending unlike insidious or prom night that are more about the gore but I just horror movie insinuates somewhat of a superficial and systematic thrill that you get from watching ‘horror scenes’ its less sophisticated than a psychological thriller which sticks with you longer and plants seeds in your brain and terrifies you equally from what is and isn’t said, this I do not enjoy but nor do i enjoy the more graphic subcategory of horror films that are cheaply scary, do these thrill you, or do movies like silence of the lambs, or no country for old men types thrill you, cause you know there is a difference and i do agree that it would be perverse to get off in a way from either of these, it is also important to define the words joy and thrill…”
K- “Like I find, Requiem for a Dream so much more frightening and chilling than a blood&gore movie. A person’s battle with him/herself and their downward spiral is far more unnerving and unfortunately, fascinating, to me than anything else…I am engaged in their breakdown and eventually their demise. That’s what I find sick. The fact that I can watch Piranha 3D and see a girl’s boob being bitten off, I can actually have a chuckle and then forget all about it. But how Ellen Burnstyn in Requiem becomes so enslaved to drugs for the idea of glamor, I actually can’t take my eyes off the screen, and it sticks with me.”
S- “Yeah, and I think you’re right K, getting locked in your brain and being a self-saboteur is some nasty shit…”
So yeah, this is just the short version of our conversation. What do you guys think? Which is more perverse? Blood and gore horror films or the psychological thrillers?
Again, so sorry about the wait. College Apps, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown production, Extended Essay, Theatre Independent Projects and just overall the IB is kicking my ass.