This is a question I get asked with great regularity. I think people expect me to say "It's because I love seeing people get murdered" or something along those lines, but the truth of the matter is rather more deep than anyone would imagine. I can rule out the "I enjoy being scared" factor, because only one movie, John Carpenter's Halloween, is still the only movie which has ever affected me in that way. No other movie has managed to scare me even in the slightest. That feeling of fear is something I have been chasing after since my first viewing of Carpenter's slasher classic.
I love horror because it is a part of who I am. At it's most basic, that is the reason I give when asked that question that anyone who doesn't have an interest in the genre. The conversation never usually gets much further than me saying that, and then being met with the retort "you're weird". Here, I will go a little deeper as to why I find the horror genre so fascinating.
My love (some would call it an obsession) with horror movies began as a young child. As King Kong fell from the Empire State building, I began crying, asking my parents why people were so nasty to a creature who only wanted to go home. My mother told me "Man always destroys what he doesn't understand". For some reason, this made me identify with the monsters in movies such as The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, Jason and the Argonauts and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, along with characters in Doctor Who (of which I was a huge fan of when I was a child). I didn't mind that they were evil, and I was truly fascinated with the way they moved, the way they behaved. It was truly entrancing. I looked for movies that featured a monster on the video cover, and ended up seeing such films as Deathstalker, Imp, Puppet Master, Ghoulies, Critters, Munchies amongst others.
My fascination with monsters is only a part of my love for horror though. Watching these films acts as a type of escapism from me. That isn't to say regular life is boring, monotonous or anything of the sort, but retreating into the fantastical and letting loose of all the worries life brings is certainly a therapeutic process, and one that is sometimes much needed. Seeing people in inescapable situations where their life is in danger, makes the worries seem that much smaller, and helps me focus and not sweat the little things so much. It acts as a release, a way to relieve stresses and worries, but again, this isn't the only reason I watch horror.
There are some horror films I watch to test myself, such as what many people consider to be the sickest films of all time. They also act as entertainment, but in an entirely different way. It took me three sittings to get through August Underground's Mordum (the vomiting scene managed to turn my stomach so much that I found myself reaching for the off switch again and again). Men Behind the Sun is the latest in a long line of movies that have had a profound effect on me, making me see just how valuable and delicate life is, and also just how despicable a race humanity can be. The feeling of accomplishment after sitting through these tests of endurance is both thrilling and enlightening, and although they may only be films, they are also a reflection of humanity, and the monsters that exist within our race.
Horror is like a drug. Horror fans crave the feelings a horror movie brings, whether it is just entertainment, or if it goes much deeper, helping them confront fears in a safe environment they would never confront otherwise, we crave what these movies bring. Weather that be blood, gore, violence or a fog shrouded castle, horror is one of the only genre of films that manages to mix so many emotions together in one film. What other genre would you find comedy mixing with drama with bloodshed? Fear mixed with love? Friendship mixed with death? As an all encompassing genre, horror is certainly at the forefront, beating every other genre hands down.
There isn't a particular kind of horror movie I would rather watch over any other. My collection consists of everything from The Wicker Man (the original, of course) to Men Behind the Sun. I will watch anything that takes my fancy, no matter what reviewers or bloggers have to say about it. Horror has such a wide spectrum and I am sure everyone has their own definition of what horror actually is. It doesn't affect my enjoyment if a movie contains humor, or if it is deadly serious. I don't care if it breaks taboos, or steers well clear of them. They are entertainment, and if they manage to entertain at least one person in the world, then the filmmakers have done their jobs well.
Most of all though, above the reasons I have given previously, I watch horror films to be entertained. That is my main reason for watching, and I am sure that is the main reason films are made. For entertainment. Low or big budget, it doesn't matter. If a film is entertaining, it is a winner in my eyes.I am drawn to the dark side of everything, be it music, art or movies. I cannot explain why this is, but it is something that has been apparent since an early age. Horror films time and again manage to show a dark side in both a fantastical sense, and a very real sense, depending on the movie. This keeps me coming back again and again to see what emotions these movies will stir, to see if they will scare me, or thrill me, or make me laugh, and only horror is capable of doing all of these things, and so much more, within one movie.
As well as discussing why you like horror movies here, you can also go on over to xsmarkthespot, a film review and discussion blog that posed the very question that this post covers. To see why this question was asked on xsmarkthespot, click HERE.