I’ve never really been someone who enjoys horror movies, or video games, and even horror books are very hit-and-miss for me. (Gothic horror? Ooh yeah. Violence and gore? Absolutely no thank you.) I mean, as a kid I would get nightmares every time my parents let me watch a Simpsons or South Park Halloween special, so at least I can say I’ve always been consistent 😂 But still, contrast this with Viv, for example, who loves horror movies and video games, and I sometimes wonder why I can’t just enjoy it.
A while ago I read that the reason people do like horror is that there’s something satisfying about experiencing fear in what you know is a controlled, safe environment (e.g. you know it’s just a movie). I guess it’s similar to what makes people like rollercoasters, or (more extreme) things like sky-diving or bungee jumping, assuming you can convince yourself those activities are safe. This explanation seems plausible to me, because I don’t really enjoy rollercoasters and I have less than zero interest in any of those more terrifying activities 😂 For me, even if I know intellectually that I’m “safe”, that doesn’t really quell that ever-escalating anxiety, whether it comes from watching a horror movie or riding a rollercoaster.
For Viv’s sake, I have tried watching some horror movies if I have it confirmed to me by a trustworthy source that there are at least zero jumpscares. But generally I find it an experience of just getting nervouser and nervouser and when the movie finally ends I usually just feel wired and uncomfortable. I’m also rather prone to nightmares, so even if I’m literally safe IRL, I can still have a painful or scary experience later on (and then, disrupted sleep 😔). That seems to happen more if I watch the gory kind of horror flick instead of the more “escalating dread” kind, though.
At the end of the day, I’m not really looking for advice on “how to start enjoying horror” or anything… everyone has their own likes and dislikes, and while I’ve wondered why I have the tastes I do, I don’t really see the need to try to force some change to them. I guess it’s just a time of year where I reflect on this kind of topic. I can kind of understand why some people like horror movies… but it’s not an aspect of their psychology I share 🙂