In film, horror is a popular genre some people just don't understand. Growing up, I would immediately change the channel or close my eyes whenever the trailer for "The Ring" would show up. Now horror movies are my source for an adrenaline rush.
There are many different types of horror films as well. While there's the typical supernatural flick like "The Exorcist" or "The Conjuring 2" there's also the slasher genre, such as "A Nightmare on Elm Street" and "Scream". But thrillers are also considered part of the horror genre such as Silence of the Lambs, The Witch, and It Follows. Anything that causes the audience panic, terror or when the protagonist's main objective is to stay alive is classified under the horror genre.
The easiest way I can explain horror movies is like riding a roller coaster. We allow ourselves to be scared and excited because we know we're safe. Freddy Kruger isn't going to kill you in your sleep, you don't have to worry about being followed by something only you can see, it's not going to happen. Therefore we can enjoy the thrills and scares, and the adrenaline rush that comes with them.
Most importantly, people simply like being scared. These thrilling tales take us out of reality and take us somewhere frightening. We as the audience allow ourselves to be taken away from our mundane lives and into a world of fantasy and terror. In some way, horror movies make us feel better about our lives because at least we're not in the character's situation.
These films aren't just meant to increase your heart rate, they have lovable characters that makes us feel something. In order to make a character likeable, the audience needs to connect with them.
Take the film "Carrie" for instance. The plot centers around a timid outcast who's bullied by her classmates and Bible-thumping mother. Carrie is blessed with telekinesis and receives her vengeance during prom night, but in the end she's left with no one. Ultimately, Carrie just wanted to be accepted. This story is tragic, but engaging. Some horror movies don't have a happy ending, and there's nothing wrong with that because it's realistic.
There are many reasons why people are drawn to horror movies. They're entertaining and sometimes we need an adrenaline rush. Not only are these films scary, but they convey a lesson that isn't sugar coated, instead it's related to real life.