Why We Love Horror

I remember how I first discovered Saw. You know what I'm talking about, right? That James Wan movie starring Cary Elwes? Of course you do, you love horror! Well, I was seven years old when that movie was released. I get it. I'm young. I have had to really go back in time to gain the horror knowledge and experience I have today.

Nevertheless, I can't recall ever seeing any televised advertisements, but I will never forget the first time I saw the official poster: Just a gritty photo of this dirty hand cut off a few inches from where the wrist and palms meet. Even at seven years old I could tell, that was no clean cut. For me, that was the universal sign that someone who shouldn't be removing hands just removed that hand.

What were my first impressions...? Screw that. That film was as bad as it could get. That was the Devil's work captured on film and nothing good could come out of that 103 minutes. Little did my wee tiny immature brain know that was exactly what Wan and Whannell wanted. This wasn't a film for children, but a film for the mature, or at least the most demented or you would go home with a need for counseling.

I'm going to give you a spoiler. I love that movie. In fact, the Saw franchise is my favorite franchise of all-time. But this isn't a Saw review, at least, not today. Today I have to explain to you why I love the genre, and for many of you who may not know why you love it, maybe this will help.

Why I Would Never Watch Horror

I made my elementary years harder than they needed to be. I had a great family, great teachers, great opportunities to explore and make friends. Nonetheless, my anxiety crippled me. I was too anxious to acknowledge what I had was great or that I had the privilege to receive and do great things. I would start school days isolated and leave halfway through the day after having anxiety attacks because something just wasn't as orderly as I would have liked it or because someone wanted to say hi and be friendly.

Before the comments roll in, yes I did go to counseling way before it was cool. It wasn't a bad experience for me at all. I still remember her name and I accepted her friendship, but it just wasn't working for me. It wasn't how my ailment was going to be combated. In due time I would resolve this problem in a different manner, and before you make a religion out of film, it wasn't with horror movies. However, I will admit horror films were made to assist in my healing, but it wasn't my doctor.

So, there's no way I would spend my time, on my own free will, to watch a film that would further drive me to insanity... or would I?

Horror, My Medicine

The beauty of a great horror film is it delivers the most grotesque, terror-ridden, amazing, appalling, mind-altering, and jarring themes, visualizations and sounds that you can, or cannot, possibly imagine. A great horror film is the embodiment of your greatest fears coming to life in a place where you don't have to deal with them.

Watching Lawrence and Adam come to the realization that they are under the thumb of another Jigsaw ploy is dark and disturbing. They're going to have to face the horror of something that you and I will never have to deal with and a conflict most likely much more difficult than your own.

We watch horror because its safer on the outside than on the inside of that screen. The reality is that maybe life isn't so bad if you've got both of your feet and your wife and child aren't tied up being threatened with murder, you know? Maybe I can deal with socializing with people my age as long as I don't have a reverse bear trap on my head that will soon rip my head in half from the top and bottom halves of my jaw. Maybe, just maybe, I can be helpful and do more than just make a living, but give someone else a reason to keep going because I'm not forced to kill a guy so that I can live, Amanda. Do you understand what I am saying? We love horror because its safe.

Little Did I know...

So that you will forget about my vulnerable moment today, I must share with what came alongside my horror experience, and it's exactly what you're thinking. A good horror movie supplies the thrills, the kills, and the terror, but a great horror movie delivers a plot like no other genre can.

Obviously there are some reoccurring themes of many horror sub-genres, such as some of the slasher rules about not having sex or running up the stairs to hide or some of the paranormal rules of touching that doll or not leaving the clearly evident haunted house upon your first night sleeping there. Horror can possess (pun intended) some of the most ridiculous tropes in all of cinema, but horror may be the only genre that has the permission to do literally anything.

Can a young boy drown to death, and than not be dead to avenge his murderous mother? What about travel to space for no reason? Sure! Why not? What about instead of going to the afterlife you live in the dreams' of the teens you harassed for years as children? I guess so. What if there was a slasher/monster/zombie film where you had to perform a ritual to appease the Dark Gods from destroying the earth?

Or how about this one... The man who lies dead between you and another man for over seven hours has been playing dead the entire time and is actually the Jigsaw killer who has just sprung a string of events that would last for seven canonical films and two spin-off films that are continuing in development today to become one of the top grossing horror franchises of all time at over one billion dollars.

...The Genre Would Deliver An Extraordinary Experience

The biggest reason you and I love horror is because it can deliver a great product. Don't get me wrong, it can deliver some of the worsts, but we can never forget some of the bests. This genre can make you feel like none other. No action film has made me feel as exhilarated as Friday the 13th has. No drama has made me feel the despair that Hereditary gives me. There is certainly no genre that instills so much fear to the point of comfort because, "That's not my problem," like horror does.

So, grab that remote, sit down down, scream, cry, cheer, and laugh because you know you can't stop loving it because it simply makes you feel.

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