The effect of escapism through horror films and the value of reactions those in which it provokes.
Terror, dread and panic are extreme emotions that often are extremely undesirable due to human nature and the instict to survive. Yet audiences around the world turn to self-induce fear by watching horror films as a form of entertainment regardless of the anxieties invoked by watching such films. Escapism is deeply engraved in the human psyche and entertainment is the method popularly used to fufull the internal aspiration to avoid unpleasant realities. While steering clear of unfavourable circumstances seems like an obvious course of action, it isn’t always.
Fear is often avoided in daily living as a result of the discomfort and distress it predictably causes yet is routinely disregarded when it comes to entetainment. Quite contrary to embracing favorable emotions audiences routinely oppose eliminating negative emotions from being involved in their media yet in result sometimes have greater outcome. Due to the morality and justice involved within horror films along with the sense of safety provided, they are of notable value when compared to the thought of living without them.
The reminder of safety plays a role in which why people turn to horror when in reality horror is the last thing a person would hope for. The ability to detach from the exaggerated danger which occurs in events throughout horror films provides relief to watchers. This is due to the fact that once the film is off, the scene stops. The deranged killer who was ready to chop heads of is no longer a threat and there will be no further concequence to the viewer themself. This validates the safety in ones own circumstance because in real life one does not have to second guess answering the door because the fictional threat is not present and only exsists in the reality in which it was presented. Horror films present unrealistic sistuations with improbable outcomes which gives a thrill to the audience however watching the film reassures them that in their own life the unrealistic circumstance was not likely to happen and if it was the outcome would exsist in a different way than presented throughout films.
This scene from ‘Night of The Living Dead’ is kind of improbable in reality.
“What is almost universally true of horror is that it’s been used as a tool to express social and political discontent for the marginalized since its creation. It’s a kind of popcorn propaganda that’s allowed writers and filmmakers to voice their anxieties while couching them in titillating narratives that would fly below any political censors.”¹
Most of us can agree now more than ever there needs to be a sense of morality in the common people and certain politcal leaders provide know sense of logic or justice. “What is almost universally true of horror is that it’s been used as a tool to express social and political discontent for the marginalized since its creation. It’s a kind of popcorn propaganda that’s allowed writers and filmmakers to voice their anxieties while couching them in titillating narratives that would fly below any political censors.”¹ Seeing justice happen is socially desirable and witnessing due justice is satisfying because it contributes to the delivery of the notion of what is supposed to happen, does happen, and what is right will always be the outcome. Though extreme, every time a killer is killed, or a evil maniac is punished cinematically it closes the chapter that outcomes aren’t random but in fact diligence against negative forces. In addition to the admirable heroes and heroines are present throughout horror media making the best of worst case scenarios and fighting through their experiences regardless of potential threat because of their personal goals and aspirations of a better future, and simply staying alive.
The ability to share emotions is part of what makes us humans. Viewing content that creates a communal feeling fulfill the ego by providing an outlet of inevetible lonesemness. Being able to agree no one would make the choices that bring on danger in horror films reaffirms that one is surrounding themselves with soundminded individuals that they can relate to. While people may be able to relate to film characters there does seem to be a disconnect between the consideration fictional people choose to display and the choices made between real life relationships. The result of that disconnect leads people to be a lot more content in their own circumstances rather than philophising about what it would be like if they were the only morally and logically concious individuals in their life. Being able to relate to immediate friends and family delivers feeling of belonging and comfort.
No need to panic. Paranoia, stress and harassment isn’t always easily avoided yet the circumstances in horror films that often bring on those emotions arent typical in day to day life. Through the escapism of cinema there are important reactions that occur that are of much value the common person. So sit back and throw on your favorite slasher, psychological thriller or paranormal sequence and let your emotions fly wild because at the end of the day film will do exactly what it is intended to do, provide commentary about society and entertain you.