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"Why We Crave Horror Movies" A Summary

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“Why We Crave Horror Movies” – A Summary

In “Why We Crave Horror Movies”, Stephen King theorizes that everyone is mentally ill to some degree - some people just hide it better than others. King’ tongue in cheek observation is offered with a touch of humour to alleviate the discomfort which the reader might feel if at any time there was the thought that this actually might be true.

Horror movies, like scary stories and thrilling amusement park rides, allow us to challenge our fears, to show that we are not afraid, to prove that we can. King proposes that these activities confirm for each of us our normality, while also appealing to the worst in all of us, as they allow the freeing of our fantasies without fear of reprisal or repercussion.

This is fun with a twist, macabre and voyeuristic, and enjoyed from the particular vantage point of knowing that it is not real, and more importantly, that it cannot happen to us. The thrill of a horror movie allows not only a suspension of reality, but also of the cynical, jaded view of reality that we feel, as adults, we must bring to bear on our lives. Everyone has demons, which require exorcising, or as King notes, exercising. There is a level of acceptance in society which governs our actions, which is why we need something to achieve the release of these otherwise unacceptable thoughts, hence the need for the sick joke, the scary ride, the horror movie. In the end, we are not judged by our level of sanity but rather by the socially acceptable degree of our actions, of our particular form of insanity.

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