Monday, January 26, 2015

Psycho Horror Lovers Unite!

You all know I write horror and enjoy reading it and watching movies in the genre. Well, you do now. I recently read an article that I won't link here, because I don't feel like giving it more clicks, that said people who enjoyed horror movies were less empathetic, more aggressive and thrill-seeking, and that it was mostly men.

For the record, most of the people I know who enjoy horror. . .are women.

Image: Horror
I posted this article to my Facebook page and ended up having an interesting conversation. (I hadn't thought about the fact that I was sending this ignorant person readers at that time.) There are plenty of us who appreciate some good horror catharsis. As far as I know, none of us are leaping out of airplanes and murdering people for sport. Given, I'm sure we've all got our secrets. They just probably don't align with this article's viewpoints on our humanity.

Originally, this post was going to be a point by point argument, but I've decided it's more fun to respond to absurdity with more absurdity. So instead I'll be detailing how reading or watching horror makes you the most fantabulous human being of all.

Image: K
1. Enjoying horror makes people super heroes!

That's right. Because the fight or flight response is triggered, your body floods with adrenaline. Adrenaline makes you strong and fast, and triggers more rapid blood clotting. In other words, you have super speed, super strength, AND super healing. Other than the ability to fly, what more could you ask for?

2. Horror produces shiny happy people!

Another hormone response of fight or flight is to release endorphins. What do endorphins do? Why, they reduce pain, reduce stress, and provide a sense of euphoria. Instead of exercising to get that sense of well being--the runner's high--you can just watch a horror film. What could be easier? If more people watched horror, humanity would be happier in general, because they'd be full of endorphins.

3. Partaking of horror = disaster preparedness!

Don't enjoy horror? Aw, that's too bad. The zombies will eat you first. Those of us who watch horror already know the rules. Psycho killer? We know what to do. In fact, we'll figure out who it is before anyone else. Overrun by zombies? No problem. We got this. Werewolf pack problems? Easy to avoid if you know what to do.

4. Horror, great for weight loss!

Want to be skinny? Being scared triggers the metabolism of fat and glucose stored in the liver. Didn't get out for your walk today? No problem. Pick up a terrifying book and watch the pounds melt away. You've just burned off a bunch of calories, so don't forget to snack.

Image: Cats Eye
5. Who needs carrots when there's horror?

The fight or flight response causes your eyes to dilate so you can take in more details. You hear that? You can see in the dark! You might as well be a cat! Tired of wearing your glasses? Get a good scare and you'll never need them again.

Enjoying a scary story doesn't make a person a psycho. It doesn't mean they don't have feelings. It doesn't mean they can't feel for others. What it means is they like a good scare. Whether that's for escapism, catharsis, or the love of cheesy special effects, it's not a bad thing. Some of the best drawn characters, the ones where you really get into their heads and understand what they're going through, are characters in horror novels. A movie or novel would be half as terrifying if those reading or watching couldn't identify with the characters, couldn't empathize with their plight. You can't be scared by something you can't feel. And you can't be scared for someone you can't feel for.

What do you think? Are people who enjoy horror sick in the head? Do they lack empathy? Is it possible to enjoy horror if you feel for others? What stereotypes exist for the genres you most enjoy? Are you misconstrued by people who just don't get your genre?

May you find your Muse.

Photo Attribution:

Horror - By Roberto Ferrari from Campogalliano (Modena), Italy (Horror  Uploaded by russavia) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

K - by Scott, clker.com

Cats Eye - By Guylaine Brunet (originally posted to Flickr as oeil) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons



37 comments:

  1. That's right! We have to prepare for the zombie apocalypse.
    More aggressive? Really? I dig horror films and I'm not aggressive. My wife likes them as well.

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    1. Right. Watching horror movies doesn't make a person more aggressive, nor are only aggressive people drawn to them. Stereotypes!

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  2. Point #3 is the basis for the Feed trilogy by Mira Grant. But I may have to stop reading horror, because...shiny happy? Please, no.
    mb

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    1. I may need to check out that trilogy. It's okay, shiny happy isn't a requirement. And we can sic the zombies on the shiny happy people first.

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  3. I'm a superhero! Love horror and haven't even lost my marbles. Though they are scattered about, I know exactly where they are. =)

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  4. Those kinds of generalizations are always so silly. It's funny, I've never been a fan of horror movies because I scare easily but now I found myself writing horror! Not sure how that happened but I'm glad it did.

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    1. I wouldn't have known you didn't enjoy them from reading your books!

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  5. My wife and I both love horror and we're far from aggressive. But knowing now that it's good for my health, well, that just reinforces that us diving into horror is not only good for our writing, it's good for our well being, too.

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    1. Exactly! Health Through Horror. I'm going to start a program.

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  6. Just because someone enjoys horror doesn't make them twisted or aggressive. That's just silly.

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    1. Isn't it, though? I never thought of someone looking down on me for enjoying horror until this article, which is probably why it bothered me so much.

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  7. Awesome fun!! So glad that Fight/Flight response makes me a super hero - able to dash to the fridge for more wine in lightning speed, without missing a moment of the action and its not even commercial time :)

    #3 is the best though. Yes, from watching horror I will be more informed about the right thing to do; but I still believe I'll be one of the first eaten in the zombie apocalypse b/c I'm still a screamer. Oh Daryl, please come save me!!

    Seriously though, I watch horror/thrillers as an exploration of morality. That, what would I do in the situation. Sometimes bad guys (world domination types) are every bit as empathetic as the hero as they have a belief in a cause, and at least have a plan for making it happen. Sometimes the division line between right and wrong is a matter of which side wins.

    Thanks for the fabulous read Shannon. This makes my day shiny and bright :)

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    1. I couldn't agree more about the villains. The strongest villains will have their own moral standing that they fully believe in. Or will be unaware of their evil.

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  8. LOL. I should watch more horror for my health especially in the winter when I'm stuck indoors. I used to watch more when I was young but I'm more of a chicken now.
    People make general assumptions about romance readers and writers too.

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    1. You're absolutely right about fans of romance having assumptions about them being made. I don't reach much romance, but I've never looked down on someone for enjoying it, and I certainly don't think every romance reader/writer is the same person.

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  9. You already know where I stand :) Write on.

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    1. Yes, I do! And I enjoyed our conversation on it. The article stuck in my craw more than I thought it would, though.

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  10. Although I don't consider myself to be a fan of horror movies in general, there are several that I've enjoyed watching. Some are so silly that they actually end up being funny more than scary. Speaking of humorous things, your list of points gave me some quick laughs. I like #3 though because disaster preparedness is so important...the more resources that helps people get better at dealing with disasters, the better...so that makes horror movies quite the good investment, I guess. You get your entertainment and survival lesson as an all-in-one package. Can't beat that. Ha!

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    1. That's right, they're educational! I love the silly horror movies, as well. Some of my favorites are horror comedy.

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  11. Sounds like quite a stereotyping article. You can't categorise fans of a particular genre as being all the same. Your response was great. I'd add that watching horror with your partner is good for your relationship because you turn to each other for comfort!

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    1. I like that one! It's like marriage counseling.

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  12. I was going to say that all of the horror fans I know are women but, then, so are almost all the people I know who read. But I don't really know any guys who are into horror movies, either.

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    1. My husband watches them with me, but he's not a huge fan. I have three brothers and one sister, and it's us two girls who like to go to horror movies together. So it really was a weird generalization for them to make. Maybe guys admit it more readily when questioned?

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  13. I write horror, and am one of the most empathic people you'll ever meet. One reason I have a hard time watching horror is due to my physical response. I react in physical pain when I see injury to another. And I do mean physical pain!
    One of my favorite people is the director of Reel Splatter Movies, a horror addict and aficionado and he's been making horror videos since the age of 16, Mike Lombardo. https://www.facebook.com/reelsplatter And despite his genius, he is not crazy or anything other than a normal human being – (someone please tell me the definition of normal because monster is an easy one) Mike is one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. What I've discovered in my many years of dealing with monsters—they don't advertise, they're secretive and sneaky and deny, deny, deny! Me, I'll admit I'm a bit crazy and as for the horrors I write, its' to deal with the horrors I've seen, experienced, and fear.

    I do love your post – I just learned that being scared is great for the immune system, and in this season of high illness, I say bring it on! Scare me!!!!

    But please no zombies - they cause horrendous nightmares!

    Hail to the horror writer, reader, and movie producers!

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    1. Thank you for his information, Yolanda! I hadn't heard of him before, but will check him out. I'm also very empathetic, which I think helps me get into the movies more, but can make them stick with me long after.

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  14. I love a good horror film, like 28 Days Later, or a cheesy one - Dead Alive/Evil Dead - or even ones that make fun of themselves like Scream, Final Destination or Cabin in the Woods (man, that was hilarious). But I am so not aggressive, thrill seeking, or male! What a silly article.

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    1. It really was. And I love the horror movies that make fun of themselves. I can't tell you how many times I've watched Scream and Cabin in the Woods.

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  15. # 3 is an awesome argument. My favorite horror is apocalypse and/or zombie related. I learn a lot from those movies!

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    1. You shall survive the apocalypse! But seriously, there are often some useful overall tips in those movies.

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  16. Nothing like going from one extreme to another. Not sure I buy either side in my own case. I've always liked horror, but more for the stimulation of my imagination and the creativity that becomes the offshoot. Your ideas are certainly funnier than the other guys. He might have a point in a few extreme cases, but I think he's making an overgeneralization that is essentially untrue.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

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    1. I've always found horror to be a great character study when done well. You get to know a lot about a person by how they handle emergencies.

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  17. I guess I better watch a couple of horror movies if they are good for weight loss. ; )

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    1. Hahaha, if only that were really true, right? But I did once read an article that showed people burned additional calories while watching horror. I don't think it was a crazy amount or anything, but I'll take it.

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  18. Dorolah's comment made me crack up!!

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