Telling Stories with Stephen King (Why We Crave Horror Movies)

13 Jul

I think that we’re all mentally ill; those of us outside the asylums only hide it a little better – and maybe not all that much better, after all. We’ve all known people who talk to themselves, people who sometimes squinch their faces into horrible grimaces when they believe no one is watching, people who have some hysterical fear – of snakes, the dark, the tight place, the long drop . . . and, of course, those final worms and grubs that are waiting so patiently underground.

If we are all insane, then sanity becomes a matter of degree. If your insanity leads you to carve up women like Jack the Ripper or the Cleveland Torso Murderer, we clap you away in the funny farm (but neither of those two amateur-night surgeons was ever caught, heh-heh-heh); if, on the other hand, your insanity leads you only to talk to yourself when you’re under stress or to pick your nose on your morning bus, then you are left alone to go about your business . . . though it is doubtful that you will ever be invited to the best parties.

If we share a brotherhood of man, then we also share an insanity of man. None of which is intended as a defense of either the sick joke or insanity but merely as an explanation of why the best horror films, like the best fairy tales, manage to be reactionary, anarchistic, and revolutionary all at the same time.

Why bother? Because it keeps them from getting out, man. It keeps them down there and me up here. It was Lennon and McCartney who said that all you need is love, and I would agree with that. As long as you keep the gators fed.

Why do we go to horror movies? As Stephen King puts it we are all a little insane/mentally ill. If your like me, you dread them but I still go ever once and a while. Do we enjoy the suspense or the actually what the heck is going on? Do we watch other people, made up characters, experiencing something out of the ordinary for our own entrainment? Is there something about watching something that we know is not real but to us as we leave the theatre, we know deep in our soul that what we saw could really happen.

(author’s note: Should I continue with this series? I feel like a lot of it is me taking quotes and trying to make them make sense. I just feel like I have done a lot of these lately. I don’t really know how much research I need to come up with an answer to my question, on why we tell stories? I don’t put a lot of thought into these post anymore. Any thoughts?)

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Posted by on July 13, 2012 in Telling Stories with


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