Text by Mikala Mikrut, Copyright 2019
Photography by Sabrina Galaviz and Alexandria Romain, Copyright 2019
ROMANCE WITH HORROR
I, among many others, absolutely love horror movies. In fact, that is my genre of choice. I once screamed in a theater and had a 7 year old girl in front of me, no parents insight, turn around and give the most judgemental look. No shame. Many people I know claim to like it because they “like being scared,” but then when I jump out from behind a partially closed door on their way to the bathroom, I’m met with profanity rather than laughter of delight. So what is it really that draws us to watch gore and jump scares while also never venturing further from modern suburbia?
Perhaps the answer is more obvious than we think. Søren Birkvad, film scholar of Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, says it’s simply an activity to avoid boredom. There is a trait called “sensation seeking” in which people with personalities that get bored easily score high on. Those are the types of people that typically like horror films. So if you find yourself easily bored and happen to enjoy scary movies, there you go. You can now add sensation seeker to your resume, with caution of course. The term could take an interesting turn.
Another possible explanation can be found in the elements that make up the films themselves. Dr. Glenn Walters has defined the ingredients as: tension, relevance, and unrealism. I think this is the case for most exciting life situations. Horror films need tension to build, relevance to captivate an audience, and unrealism so said audience can fall asleep without salt lines or cuddling up next to their bedside handgun. In parallel, romance needs tension for heat, relevance for conversation, and unrealism to keep you wanting more. The same could be said for many more experiences, but I think for intensity purposes those three things make up only the best of situations.
The most common answer found as to why we crave scary movies is to satisfy the “beast within.” It’s easy to say that we all have some measure of sicko. Maybe you like watching peoples’ heads getting bashed in, or the jump scare is what reminds you what it feels like to truly be alive, or maybe you don’t button and iron the back pockets on your khaki shorts. No matter how disgusting you are, horror films will always be there to comfort and remind you that there are freaks worse off than you. That’s all we long to know, right? That we aren’t the ones at rock bottom.
I like scary movies. To others they may seem cliché or niche, but to me they are a reminder of how truly pleasant my life is. I have the privilege to not go about my day wondering if I’ll stay alive despite of a masked man or being held captive in a foreign country without the comfort of my family. The truth is that our world already has the scariest realities. Those happy endings in flicks aren’t conclusions. They are reminders that if we take action against our monsters from personal health to daunting tasks of speaking up and acting for those who are living their nightmares, then there is still hope.
About The Author: Mikala Mikrut is a junior enrolled at Southern Utah University. To access additional articles by Mikala Mikrut, click here: https://tonyward.com/mikala-mikrut-minimalism-a-modern-luxury/