In his article “Why We Crave Horror Movies,” published in the December 1981 issue of Playboy Magazine, thriller author Stephen King uses a sarcastic but menacing tone to explain why people watch horror films. In the very first sentence of the article, King shows that we are all insane to some degree; we are all mentally ill, but some can hide it better than others (King 222). Why do you spend so much time and money going to the cinemas to see horror movies? We go simply to show that we are not afraid. Great horror films cause us to bring out our inner children, “…seeing things in pure blacks and whites…good versus evil” (King 223). The author also displays how the creepy, dark scenes of these gruesome adventures create a sense of normality in our own lives; seeing characters being chased by a creature with a chainsaw makes our lives seem much better. King also argues that everyone has two kinds of emotions: positive and negative. During childhood, everyone is taught the differences between the two with positive reinforcements (i.e. graham crackers, and smiles) and negative reinforcements (i.e. spankings and time outs) (King 223). Horror movies allow us to release negative or anti-civilization emotions in a manner in which society accepts them. In his article, King uses picturesque and figurative language to explain why people watch horror movies.
King’s article belongs in public affairs and niche magazines as Stephen King’s purpose was to entertain. As it was published in Playboy Magazine, an entertaining read, the author portrays his thesis to the younger generation, especially young males. This can be seen when he writes that the purpose for going to horror movies is “to show that we can, that we are not afraid, that we can ride this roller coaster” (King 223). He also explains how “…horror movies, like roller coasters, have always been the province of the young; by the time one turns forty or fifty, one’s appetite for double...
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