Enjoying Horror

In his essay, Gaut evaluates different ideas of why people like horror films and then deconstructs them. One major idea that was discussed was the control theory by John Morreau. While Gaut deems in inadequate, I see it as a very reasonable explanation. Morreau says that it is possible for someone to enjoy negative emotions when they are in control of the situation that is producing these emotions, meaning that they can properly direct their thoughts and actions. I have never been one to enjoy horror films and I think this control theory has a lot to do with it. The friends I know who enjoy horror films are able to do so because they can control their minds in a way that they know what they are watching is not practical. However, my negative emotions from watching the films become far too strong by thinking about the movie as something that could happen in real life, which makes it an unpleasant experience.

In deconstructing the control claim, Gaut says, “ But the control thesis leaves it utterly mysterious how the mere fact that I can choose to attend or not to an otherwise unpleasant emotion, such as fear, could render that emotion pleasant” (P. 300). I disagree with Gaut here, because I think the choice has everything to do with it. Someone who gets dragged to a horror film is not going to enjoy it because they didn’t want to come in the first place, mainly because they were too scared. The people who will enjoy it came by choice because they knew what they were getting into and were excited about it. Others can enjoy a horror film because they are able to separate themselves from the movie. I do not have this control over my mind, however, and that is exactly why I do not enjoy them.


~ by mccaule2 on May 5, 2010.

2 Responses to “Enjoying Horror”

  1. I do not think that everyone who enjoys horror movies are able to control their mind to realize that it is just a fictional situation and could not happen to them. There are movies that I have seen that have scared me really bad. In fact after the movie is done and days and nights after I will still be scared when I think about it. This is because in the back of my mind I am always thinking about what if that situation happened to me? I still love horror movies even though there are some that scare me long after they are done. For me it is more of the thrill of what-if that occurs when I watch the horror movie, so I don’t believe I control my mind to understand that the movie could never happen to me.

  2. I personally do not love horror movies now, and the reason is the same like yours. I am so afraid that the situation would actually happen to me, or in real life. However, I used to enjoy watching scary movie like “The Fly” when I was in elementary school. Now I think of the reason is because I am curious about unknown situation. It intrigues me to explore extensive surprising scene, and at the same time builds up my imaginations. Now I kinda know what is going to happen in every horror movie, and I do not want those fair to bother me. I think for people who love horror movies, they enjoy the feeling of being scared. They love the intense atmosphere created by the film. Even though some people might feel scared after the movies, they love the journey to be in the situation that they would never experienced.

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