The Attraction of Scary Movies

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Movies, films, pictures, cinema: call them what you will, they probably play an important role in your life. There are tens of genres and sub-genres, numerous schools of thought and approaches, and a large culture and history behind this interesting industry. Even the most pretentious art lover can find the type of movie they like; certain films are true works of art and deal with difficult and complex situations. We could find many reasons why movies are so important in our lives and why we like them so much. First of all, there’s the story; people have loved stories since the beginning of times.

Yet movies add to that: they have music, images, atmosphere, horrifying or endearing characters and lots of magic. But what about the dark genres like horrors and thrillers? What is our attraction for scary movies? How did we get to like that sort of stuff? To begin with, the basic story of humanity is the fight of good against evil; this balance defines our world, so it was only natural it would show up in our stories. As for cinema, scary movies were actually among the first films to be created. Even today, horror film aficionados consider some of the old movies to be the best of the genre.

Nobody can forget Nosferatu, the mute film released in 1922; this cult film gave nightmares to entire generations of people, from our grandparents to our parents and to us. This is a classic German film and it manages to create the strangest atmosphere before the invention of speaking movies. Through the use of light and dark, and the incredibly gruesome grimaces of the main character, the movie-makers managed to bring forth a truly scary movie. In fact, there were many scary movies of the type at that time; another example is the Austrian film The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari, which presents the horrifying dealings of a corrupt doctor who hypnotized people and used them to commit his crimes.

The explanation for liking this kind of movies is found in each and one of us; we are attracted and frightened by the unknown, and the act of looking at a frightening scene can also give a sense of empowerment. One can feel like nothing of the sort could happen to them if they look at a movie with terrible events. Thus, the genre kept expanding over the years, in every culture that had cinematography. The stories got more and more horrendous, the scenes more and more violent and the blood even bloodier.

Masters of horror and thriller like Alfred Hitchcock or Roman Polanski later on managed to bring new subtleties and even create genres into themselves. Today, with the help of the internet, scary movies are everywhere and come from everywhere. Asian movies from Japan or China are sometimes so graphic that not everyone can stomach them; yet they are created because there is a demand for them. The fact that humans are attracted to violence and blood simply cannot be denied; all these things are part of ourselves and our history, and they define us just like charity or friendship do.

There are two sides in each of us, like in the classical horror story Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the subject of numerous film adaptations. Special effects and other technological advances make this sort of movies even more realistic and scary, and people still love them more and more. Scary movies will always pose an attraction for us, so it is safe to assume that the genre is, if anything, stronger than ever.

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