Perception of Horror Essay

Horror is a form of entertainment cutting across films, novels, paintings graphic novels, to clothing. Objectively, horror aims at scaring, startling, repulsing and instilling fear among the viewers. Watching horror movies causes physical reactions like sweaty pants, increased heart rate, and tensed muscles. Pretty sure, not many people prefer horror movies. Research has it that it has its own benefit to viewers, not only as a form of entertainment but also as a faster way of losing weight by burning nearly 200 calories at a time, good training area for learning how to cope with anxiety, among other benefits. The different reactions to this form of entertainment has created mixed reactions among different cultures of the world. Some viewing it positively, others negatively.

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Some cultures believe that horror is demonic. Some view watching horror as a way of inviting demons. Horror movies can cause behavioral changes, bad nightmares. Ideally, watching a horrifying movie can result to situations where it may haunt a person and consequently, sleepless night. Some eventually fear nights as they fear the visitation of demons as a result of viewing alone. Others would not sleep alone. In some communities, graphic image used in horror like skulls, are tools used for witchcraft and sorcery. To some communities, such acts are deemed to be demonic activities.

Goldman and David suggests that Christians and pagans part ways in their perception about horrors (4). Christianity have apocalyptic visions of zombies and demons. To such a religion, horror is extremely demonic. Pagans do not believe in such visions and existence of such being. They view it basically as a form of entertainment. Further, the imagery used in horror, match the perception of some communities of how demons look like. Additionally, according to Clasen and Mathias, some incidences totally violates the perceived natural laws and much more contradicting the Bible which some communities firmly believe in (48). In such a situation, horror seizes to be a form of entertainment, but rather a means of demonic influence on people. Additionally the blood sacrifices, feeding on other people and drinking their blood breach the belief of some communities who deem such acts as from the devil.

In consideration of horror movies, they are considered a fiction. To some level, such a realization is essential. Even though it incorporates favorite religious beliefs, it is still a fiction. No one has ever confessed seeing a real demon, angel, gods, ghost, vampires, and aliens and so on in real life. This means that by their very nature, they are fiction: not real. They are designed to elicit specific responses from the audience. However, to some communities that hold firmly to their religious beliefs, will they believe horror movies are just a fiction?

In cultures like America, that highly respect gender equality, horror movies provide a different perceptions. Women are represented in horror films as hypersexual young women in distress. More to that, they are depicted as naïve, powerless and vulnerable. In some movies, the only role women play was being sex objects, moving around half-naked seconds before screaming and being killed brutally by a killer. Additionally, a pattern has been consistent, that women involved in sexual acts were involved in narcotic drugs and were later brutally murdered by killers. Clearly this shows that sex equates death in horror movies. Many instances, male audience is the primal instinct to save the feeble and less capable damsels in distress. Woman is seen as a defenseless and helpless. Further, in some cases, women are used as tools to deceive others in to a trap. This paints a picture of how untrue women can be. Harrington and Erin adds that ageing women are portrayed as monstrous, as witches, sorcerers, and demons (48).

In a culture where women are struggling to ensure equal rights, horror movies are perceived as a hurdle. Similarly, in a culture where there has been equality, embracing horror films is seen as a catalyst to imbalance. Additionally, in many societies where women are viewed as minorities, horror is viewed as a pathway for further discrimination. The whole phenomenon is achieved by creating a wrong perception of women, while in actual fact, it is only a fiction. This stereotyping of women in horror genres should be addressed to ensure equality like in the other movies.

Some cultures perceive horror and gothic films as inspiration to real life violence. Sparks, Glenn, Cheri and Sparks suggests that there is conceptualization of violence as a result of watching a horror movie. Horror movies advocates for violence as a means of achieving something. Additionally, the fantasy about killing people depicted in such films can result to violence. On a long term effect, viewers may develop trauma, depression and anxiety. Upon emotional release by such people, violence results. Cases of death, divorce, children assault has been perceived in some communities to be as a result of horror films.

Horror movies has created a wrong perception about a specific races, especially the blacks. The view is created by the roles Africans and African Americans play in horror films. There is a contrast between horror movies and other movies in roles played by the blacks. While in other films, they portray both blacks and whites as leading actors, horror movies displays otherwise. This creates a picture among different cultures that blacks are somehow weaker as compared to their white counterparts. This proves that it is not a mere fiction to some cultures. Additionally, the death of blacks differ significantly from other horror films. They are brutally murdered in several instances. To some extent, they are the first to die. Some movies have pictured police brutalities towards the blacks and somehow conveying a picture that it is right to molest a particular race. Notably also, blacks are depicted as monsters and criminals especially black men. This creates a perception that blacks are always bad and ought to be feared at all times.

Noteworthy. , horror films at times places the blacks in slums, as people who are poor. Children moving around begging for money in torn clothes. The race is even seen to live far off the city in extreme poor condition. Additionally, they are seen to engage in unethical behavior in order to make a living. The phenomenon, in the mind of the viewer gives a perception, that blacks are generally poor, who always need help and are always unethical. While they say is only a fiction, some communities that hold this perception may ask, “Is it really a mere fiction?”

One image created by horror films is people living in fear, uneasiness and oppression. Films like “Night of the Living Dead”, “Halloween” with zombies invading lands, eating human flesh, the view of aliens, taking up human blood place some society in constant fear that like it happened in the movie, it might happen in the real life. An example is given of a man after watching the film “Night of the Living Dead” accidentally shot a cop who had been scouring his countryside with dogs. Allegedly, he had mistaken him for a zombie.

Some cultures have believed in actions depicted in horror movies to be true and live in anxiety of such an incidence occurring in real life. Some have actually taken up measure to deal with a case, as depicted in horror movies, in case it happens. Such communities live in oppression, and anxiety rather than in freedom. Additionally, some get mental disorders, depression as a result of watching horror. Ideally this act keeps them oppressed for the rest of their lives. In such communities, horror films are not just fiction.

Many cultures have unfavorable perception of horror movies. However, many European cultures have embraced these horrifying films not only as a form of entertainment, but also as a health benefit to them and equipping them with the necessary skills to cope with life. In such a culture, unlike many other culture, watching horror films is actually encouraged. According to Park and Michelle, horror films have aesthetic and psychology value apart from just providing a form of entertainment (5).

Research reveals that after several people were asked to watch scary movie, and their heart rate monitored, as well as their carbon dioxide output and oxygen input. The results showed that frequently, the people under observation jumped up and down giving away almost two hundred calories. The calories lost equals to a thirty minutes’ walk. In such communities, horror movies is seen as an efficient way of burning calories.

Additionally to their perception, horror movies gives the brain a chance to deal with anxieties and thereby an emotional release or rather catharsis. The phenomenon is applied basing on the fact that one knows that horror movies are not true and they basically end after a few hours. Thus, they can be used as training avenues for managing our anxiety. According to Park and Michelle, this phenomenon make horror films basis for aesthetic and mental health treatment. Vividly, in such a community, horror movies is not just a fiction, but also a means of treatment and a method of managing our anxieties.

Scary movies, have been found to strengthen the immune system. Research has it that watching horror movies causes the body to react by producing more leukocytes. These cells protect the body from infectious diseases and against foreign invaders. Nemeth and Banne suggests that watching bloodcurdling movies increases the coagulation factor of blood which enhances faster clotting of blood in the case of injury. In such a culture, their view of horror rises above entertainment, to health benefits and other implications.

Evidently, different cultures have different views with regard to horror movies. Religious and cultural beliefs have been inconsistent with horror films imagery, terming them as demonic. Also, the view of women and different races especially the black as minority, weak and have no equality as compared to their counterpart is evident. In a culture where rights of women and all races are respected, horror films are seen as enemies. However in spite of various negative perception by many cultures, some have embraced its view as a way of attaining good health and managing anxiety.

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Works Cited
Park, Michelle. “The Aesthetics and Psychology Behind Horror Films.” (2018).
Clasen, Mathias. “The Evolution of Horror: A Neo-Lovecraftian Poetics.” New Directions in Supernatural Horror Literature. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, 2018. 43-60.
Goldman, DavSparks, Glenn G., and Cheri W. Sparks. “Violence, mayhem, and horror.” Media entertainment: The psychology of its appeal (2000): P. “Pagan Horror.” First Things 280 (2018): 1-6.
Harrington, Erin. Women, Monstrosity and Horror Film: Gynaehorror. Routledge, 2017.
Nemeth, Banne, et al. “Bloodcurdling movies and measures of coagulation: Fear Factor crossover trial.” BMJ 351 (2015): h6367.