Why do We Like Horror Movies?

Last Updated on October 6, 2021 by

Why do we like horror movies?

To watch a movie to bring out your fears may sound a bit strange perhaps. But as a matter of fact, the genre is popular.

If you think about it, watching a horror movie isn’t rational. Why would you want to watch something that scares you and gives you chills? Why would anyone want to watch something unpleasant voluntarily?

From this point of view, watching a horror movie is not rational. Yet still, the horror movie genre is enormous. And actually very popular. With that said, there must be reasons why people choose to watch them. And indeed there are.

Anyone who wants to get viewers to the cinema should be in the horror genre. Why? Because ovies within the genre almost always go well. They may not be heavily talked about among movie critics but they prove too attract large audiences, sometimes regardless of quality.

Most people are too afraid to watch horror movies, hence why they choose other genres instead.  Either the result becomes grueling and laughable or just too scary for one’s own good. Most people still choose other genres that bring a nice feeling, such as comedies or action, but still, the fan base of horror movies is huge. If fear spiced up boring lives in the past, their allure should now be on the decline considering everything going on around the world. This could be especially true due to our constant-connected lives.

Of course, war is not something unusual in the world, but our access to information about it is greater than ever. We know so much more and are reminded so much more often about all the negative things going on around the world.

If you think the question is something only some people are thinking about, you can start searching wider. Why people like horror movies prove to be a topic that has been heavily researched, which allows us to get a better understanding of why people choose to watch them.

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Why people like to watch horror movies

Unsurprisingly, there are different theories. A common theory is the feeling that arises after you have watches a horror movie. When the scare is over, all other emotions intensify. So the good things you experience feel extra positive. But doesn’t this sound like a lot of trouble just to experience a positive feeling? But unlike in reality, with horror, you get at least resolution and a form of “happily ever after” in the movies. You know that once the movie ends, your life will get back to normal and the fear and horror will end. But jumping from one problem in reality to another does not necessarily feel logical.


Another common theory is that those who seek different intoxicants and adrenaline in the form of, for example, carousels, parachutes, and such, also like adrenaline kicks that horror films provide. Some people are just wired int he way that they get a kick out of the fear, and thus enjoyment.

Another theory. When the world is as it is and we get to know everything, does fear really become so deviant? Research shows some reasons why people can be seduced by blood, fear, murder, darkness. But at the same time, there is no uniform research result that points to the root cause.  Some people just love the excitement and the rush of watching a horror movie, and this is probably the primary appeal to this genre.

Horror movies give us an adrenaline rush through shocks and jump scares, but deep down, we know that we are well protected and will not be affected by the terror that the people in the movie are subject to. With this in mind, it brings some peace to the mind, but still allows you to get the thrill from the movie. And to some extent, it also allows you to explore, test, and push your limits of what you find frightening. The fact that you can simply turn the movie off, close your eyes, or cover your ears if you find a scene too frightening is something comforting since this is something you simply cannot do when you experience fear in real life. Simply put, we have a sense of control over the situation and the fear.

Furthermore, there is a difference between the brutality and horror in a movie compared to real life. Whilst most people wouldn’t handle watching a person get murdered in real life, in a horror movie, it’s a often a natural part. With that said, this has to do with the fictional nature of horror films as they give viewers a sense of control by placing psychological distance between them and the violent acts in the movie as we know they are not real.

But the fact is that a horror movie doesn’t only give fear. In fact, horror movies evoke many other feelings which means a roller coaster of emotions, which some people find very appealing. Horror movies often evoke shock, gore, grief, and many more emotions that really immerse you in the movie.

Entertainment and a distraction from reality

The primary reason for watching a horror movie, according to many studies, is that they are entertaining and gives you something to do and experience. Some studies have found that it is the people who are easily bored that especially finds horror movies appealing as they need constant action and activity

A scary horror movie has constant action ad build-up, and you never really know what awaits around the corner. It requires full focus, and they tend to not give you much time to rest or contemplate. Your full focus is towards the movie which allows you to disconnect from reality and dream away to a different world, place, and reality for the duration of the movie.

They bring us (closer) together

Another reason why people choose to watch horror movies is that they have proven to bring us closer together with the people we watch them with. And a lot of people choose to watch horror movies in groups in order to experience it together. As such, watching a horror movie can be a bonding experience that builds a stronger bond between individuals.