Halloween and horror stories are very popular at this time of the year. Throughout the Western Hemisphere (and Westernized pockets in the East), people are going to celebrate the festival of Halloween on October 31st.
Pumpkin lanterns, witches on broomsticks, skeletons, ghouls and ghosts galore are adorning supermarkets, schools and subways. This brings me to the question I have often asked myself, why do people love being scared? What is the attraction of all things horror?
Horror stories &
Horror stories and horror movies have always been popular. They cause excitement, thrill and an adrenaline rush. Macabre stories like Dracula and Frankenstein, popular in their day, have achieved the status of classics now. Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video with its ghouls and zombies met with unprecedented success in the 1980’s.
The Harry Potter books brought witches and wizards back into fashion. It was very natural for vampires to follow suit. The Twilight series of books and movies made vampires trendy again.
Vampires were always dark and bloodthirsty creatures as in Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’. The Twilight series has turned them into high school attending American teens. My favourite vampire, however, is the Count in the movie Hotel Transylvania. Voiced over by Adam Sandler, he is not at all scary but is quite funny.
It is common to link horror stories back to the Devil or Satan or Lucifer, whatever you choose to call him. Maybe the popularity of such stories lies in our desire to blame the baser side of our nature on someone else, but let’s not get too philosophical.
Stories based on Satanic or demonic possession like The Exorcist or The Omen were very popular and were also made into extremely successful Hollywood movies. The fascination with demonic possession continues to this day. Later horror movies like Chucky, Carrie and Annabel feature children’s dolls that become possessed.
Kids love to tell horror stories around the camp fire or at sleep overs. My son’s school hosts a sleep over every autumn for seventh and eighth graders. It features various all night activities including a film screening. As you may have guessed the movie of choice is always the latest horror movie.
Whatever the philosophy or psychology behind horror stories, they are very popular especially at this time of the year.
Do you like horror stories and horror movies? What are your favourites?
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