Sunday, March 9, 2008

"Why We Crave Horror Movies" Stephen King

I have never read any literature by Stephen King and now see that I have been providing a disservice to my developing mind...or maybe there is a reasonable explanation. In King's explaining essay, he candidly writes about the different reasons why people want to watch horror movies. One point that certainly echoed a fiber in my body was when King wrote, "It urges us to put away our move civilized and adult penchant for analysis and to become children again, seeing things in pure blacks and whites" (312).

Many times I have approached a horror film with a very cynical and rational attitude. However, when entering the world of fictitious gruesome murders and disappearances caused by the supernatural, one must put aside all rationale and let the mind immerse in the story completely. It is only when I allow myself to strap on my velcro princess sneakers, do I get the full experience of a scary movie.

King was absolutely right. Adults never see the world in a mere black-and-white complex. Yet, horror film does not allow for the gray area in between. It is to be interpreted by what has been seen, not by an a priori knowledge. Philosophers, theologians, lawyers, legislators, and judges all might have a hard time putting down their over-analytical brains. It could become quite the challenge to slide on those childish brain cells and welcome the "invitation to lapse into simplicity" (312).

After all, as King points out, we all are insane, just in different degrees. The philosopher might want to shut himself into a room for years without coming out until reaching his climactic enlightening-experience. Society may call that philosopher a hermit or just plain crazy.

King wants to stretch the point that in some sick and twisted way, we all can relate to the ax-murder who killed all his wives. While I agree that we have to leave room for the imagination and throw away a grand deal of sensible knowledge, there is a significant gap between being a cannibal and picking your nose. Does it depend on our degree of insanity to how we view the movie? Is King able to write such terrifying novels because he is a little more twisted inside than the normal being?

I can only come to the conclusion that yes, we are all insane, but in different ways. The philosopher that locks himself in the room for several years may be insane, but would he appreciate the horror film the same that King would? I think not. Our levels of insanity may be different, but so is the reason that stimulates our crazy actions.

Perhaps that is why I am unable to crave a horror film as King describes. I am the over-analytical individual who is not willing to categorize every situation in black or white. I like to think that sometimes there can be a gray, blue, violet-- even tie-dye side to the story. And perhaps my type of insanity is different from that of an addicted viewer of the blood-oozing deaths. Perhaps my type of insanity allows me to crave (dare I admit it) chick flicks and Disney classics. I’d rather view a child movie that is intended to be watched with a teddy bear in hand rather than the rated “R” films meant to be seen with a child mentality. If I am going to wear my pink shoes and tie pink ribbons in my pig-tails, then I should just watch the movie that would compliment this behavior.

While I completely understand King’s valid points, I find myself being classified as a different brand of insanity. Sorry, King. I do not crave horror films or your novels.

1 comment:

fitz said...


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Excellent job indeed. And good work on completing all ten entries.