Why horror movies excite viewers

Horror films are becoming increasingly popular in American culture.

Graphic by Selena Li

Horror films are becoming increasingly popular in American culture.

Ava Smith, Features Writer

Horror is one of the most popular movie genres, with movies containing suspense and jump-scares thriving in the cinema market. But why do people go crazy over films that leave them with nightmares? 

The human response to horror movies has a major effect on the human body. (Everyday Health) On the contrary to popular belief, horror movies don’t only create the effect of fear. “When we watch a horror movie, it is like experiencing a thrill. Some people’s nervous systems are wired in a way that they need a higher level of arousal,” psychology teacher Ms. Sharon Vires said. “Therefore, they purposely seek out things like horror movies and roller coasters.” 

The emotion of fear stimulates our brains, which makes us excited. “When we experience this thrill, our brains release adrenaline that energizes us as well as the chemical dopamine which gives us a feeling of reward,” Ms. Vires said. 

Some students feel satisfied after watching something scary. “I love horror movies. Whenever I am with my friends, we put on a scary movie late at night. It’s fun to be scared,” junior Devin Coyle said. 

Another reason for our attraction to horror films is the opportunity to challenge ourselves with threatening situations in the safest possible way. “This allows us the ability to feel braver and more accomplished without actually dealing with true danger,” Ms. Vires said. 

Humans enjoy challenges, and they feel good when they overcome them. Perhaps horror movies can even prepare us for victory. For example, watching a bloody zombie movie could teach humans how to survive a zombie attack if one occurs. “After watching the Hunger Games, I just knew I would win. If I were in that situation, I would be prepared,” junior Camryn Tyser said.