Are You Afraid of the Dark?

I remember watching watching Nickelodeon’s “Are You Afraid of the Dark”, with my older sister, among other old television shows and movies.  Halloweentown anyone?  That’s really all I will watch as far as horror goes, if you’d even call it that, because my “spook tolerance” is pretty low.  Even so, I find myself curious of things that frighten me and I wonder why that is.  Take a look at something written by Stephen King that I read for my experimental contemporary literature class:

Why We Crave Horror Movies

Is there truth in King’s ideas?  Why do you enjoy horror movies, whether you’re watching something seemingly innocent like “Are You Afraid of the Dark” or something as disturbing and grotesque as “Saw”?  Is it because we are all insane to some degree?  Could it be a reflection of Thanatos, which is Freud’s idea of a death and aggression instinct?

Look at, say, slapstick comedies which are meant to make people laugh by means of violence.  By the way the theme of this year’s 24 hour film festival was slapstick comedies and if you weren’t fortunate enough to catch the live showing, I believe you can check them out online.  Maybe we like violence in this sense because it’s silly and we know that it’s fake, like we know the guy in the mask is just an actor.  It intrigues us, nevertheless.

Think about a child who comes up behind his friend and shouts, “boo!”  The friend screams, but the scream turns into uncontrollable  laughter by both of them.  Clearly, being scared turns into a fun and exciting thing!

It’s a rather interesting phenomenon.



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