In honor of Halloween, let’s consider what makes a horror movie so horrifying. In nearly every case, the “horror” is a fear of death (or, to a lesser extent, physical pain). Almost all horror movies involve a killer who is tasked with dispatching innocent people; those films that focus on different “horrible” aspects typically fall into different genres, like the “psychological thriller.” If one delves deeper, he may find that the fear of death is, in actuality, a fear of the unknown. Even those who confidently believe in an afterlife wish for their safe and familiar existence in this realm to continue. But the typical description of horror movies is growing tired. There are some things that aren’t really considered “horror” that should be.
In some films, the lives of loved ones are threatened rather than the life of the main character – but this again is the fear of death, or the unknown. The main character wants that relative/spouse/etc. to stick around not only because of their relationship, but because he or she cannot be sure what’s going to happen him or her. Even those films where someone loses all of his or her wealth should be considered horror; without financial security, one begins to starve and again faces death. War is frightening, so war movies should be considered horror. Sometimes love is even scarier – many romances would fit well in the horror genre.
The next time someone asks you to put on a horror movie, play “Gone With The Wind.” Just the thought of sitting through that crap again scares me to death.