When my friend Mel Corrigan and I decided to get together for Halloween, we were unsure what to do. We fell back on the “let’s go to Blockbuster and rent a movie” option. After an hour of debating what movie to watch, we came out with Shaun of the Dead and Pushing Daisies–neither of which are of the nightmarish variety. The root of our argument came mostly from my aversion to horror films and the fact that I refused to make an exception, even for Halloween.
My thoughts are these: why do we create movies that are intended to make us feel fearful? Most of us in America do not fear for our lives at an immediate level. Of course there are exceptions, but on an overall level we don’t. We have faced tragedies, such as September 11th and there is violence in general, but we do not live in the middle of a war zone. We do not fear road-side bombs when we drive down the highway, wonder if our homes will be reduced to rubble, or if our family members have been persecuted for their opinions, race, or gender.
No, our society is not completely peaceful, but it is moreso than many. What is it about our nature that compells us to experience fear, pain, or horror? Is that not the underlying thing that we want from violent or scary movies and video games? Why do we feel the need to create more horror, even fictional, when there is so much suffering, fear, oppression, and pain in other areas of the world? Isn’t what is happening out there scary enough?