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Why We Crave Horror Movies

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Stephen King writes very accurately on how we, the public, desire the need “to put away our more civilized and adult penchant for analysis and to become children again” by watching a horror-themed movie. In the article Why We Crave Horror Movies, written by Stephen King and published by Playboy Press in Chicago, Illinois in 1981, King suggests that horror fiction meets an important and critical human need that endeavour the dark impulses and socially unacceptable desires that are present in everyone. Being a graduate of the University of Maine where he studied English and received a Bachelor’s of Science degree, King can easily be called an Educated Man. He has held many job positions before becoming a mystery writer including a knitting mill worker, janitor and a high school English teacher where he taught at Hampden Academy. Stephen King received The National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

King is one of the most successful American writers of horror stories, and many of his books have been made into blockbuster movies such as LIST MOVIES HERE. The audience Stephen wishes to direct his attention to are the people who aren’t afraid of being afraid. King yearns for his audience to be fulfilled by the gruesome, extended truth that is horror. The average person of society doesn’t necessarily get to see a Jason or Freddy hack the head off of a woodsman with an axe every day, or as King says, “The fun comes from seeing others menaced-sometimes killed.” The intention of King’s horror novels or movies is to give the average person a taste of what they’ll probably never see in real life. “The potential lyncher is in almost all of us… ” King says.

He also suggests that “emotions don’t go away … they demand periodic exercise,” and to exercise these emotions, the world has brought us Stephen King, a master in giving his audience what they want; a thrill. Using direct statements that not only suggest a concept, but have a secure background to back it up help King prove his theory of everyone craving horror. He offers a scenario providing his audience with evidence that emotions are easily persuaded. Speaking on emotions like love, friendship, loyalty, and kindness, King states that: [w] hen we exhibit these emotions, society showers us with positive reinforcement; we learn this even before we get out of diapers. When, as children, we hug our rotten little puke of a sister and give her a kiss, all the aunts and uncles smile and twit and cry, “Isn’t he the sweetest little thing?” Such coveted treats as chocolate-covered graham crackers often follow.

But if we deliberately slam the rotten little puke of a sister’s fingers in the door, sanctions follow-angry remonstrance from parents, aunts and uncles; instead of a chocolate-covered graham cracker, a spanking. A “dead baby joke” (Why We Crave Horror) is brought to the reader’s attention in order for King to attempt to persuade his audience with a very dark humor: “What’s the difference between a truckload of bowling ball and a truckload of dead babies?” King asks, then answers with “You can’t unload a truckload of bowling balls with a pitchfork.”

Stephen King is a brilliant writer who knows exactly how to persuade his audience. Though it may be hard to believe, King speaks the truth when he says that “it may be that horror movies provide psychic relief … because this invitation to lapse into simplicity, irrationality and even outright madness is extended so rarely.” It is quite easy to become satisfied from reading one of Stephen King’s novels. The reader gets the sensation of being in suspense, being frightened, and even surprised, all of which the average person looks for in the attempt to be fearful. Stephen King writes in his article Why We Crave Horror, “It is true that the mythic, “fairytale” horror film intends to take away the shades of gray…It urges us to put away our more civilized and adult penchant for analysis and to become children again, seeing things in pure blacks and whites.” The function of a horror film is good old fun. It is for the audience to be thrilled, to make their stomachs turn and to make them remember their experience. If there is one man in this world who can give the thrill-seeking audience what they want, it’s author Stephen King.

Works Cited

LLC, ImagineEasy Solutions ,. “EasyBib: Your Bibliography / Works Cited List.” EasyBib: Free Bibliography Maker – MLA, APA, Chicago Citation Styles. Web. http://www.easybib.com/cite/view.

King, Stephen. “Why We Crave Horror.” Playboy Jan. 1981: 1+. Print.

MzKeddieB. “Why We Crave Horror Movies – Essays – Mzkeddieb.” Free Term Papers, Research Papers, Custom Essays, and Book Reports OPPapers.com. 10 Aug. 2008. Web. .

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