I can still recall the first time that I saw a horror film. I was seven years old and the movie was Nightmare on Elm Street’s Freddy Krueger. Freddy is a frightening character in the 1984 film. He is a serial killer who has knives instead of fingernails. The nightmare that haunted me nightly was the scene when a teenage girl wanders around a dark boiler room in only her nightgown, a screeching is heard as knives are scratched against the pipes. The combination of reality into the movie made it a more nerve-racking experience.
In Stephen King’s, “My Creature from the Black Lagoon,” he tells a moment of his life as a child being forever changed by the viewing of the movie, The Creature from the Black Lagoon. King expresses that “kids are the perfect audience for horror,” (584) and that they “are jugglers of the invisible world-a perfectly understandable phenomenon when you consider the perspective they must view things from” (584). Children have no filter when it comes to reality and fantasy.
I appreciate King’s observations on the difference between horror films and children’s movies. King makes a pretty good argument on the In Stephen King’s essay, “My Creature from the Black Lagoon,” he argues that to children “even Disney movies are minefields of terror” (585) and that “almost everything has scare potential for the child under eight. Children are literally afraid of their own shadows at the right time and place” (584). The fear that is instilled by these unimportant and childish movies does not create mass-murderers or rapists. The images instead remain in the mind of the viewer as they age.
Greek philosopher Aristotle, which puts forth the idea that observing these images allow one to release pent up stress or aggression, mimicking the effect of a safety valve, rather than causing violence to occur. Violence in media does not lead to desensitization because it instead acts as a catharsis
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