5 The Aesthetics of Horror


  • Explore the psychological and emotional curiosity for and impact of horror art on individuals and society
  • Analyze the unique aesthetic qualities of horror art
  • Understand and utilize some basic principles of film and television analysis

Original Post:

I don’t like horror movie, but my friends really love it. Also, I am so curious about what will happen at the end of the horror movie because horror movie does not like other movies that have a “approach” from beginning to the end. You never know what will happen in the horror movie until the end. So why horror? I think that is because it is easy to make the unreal story real.  Also, like what Carroll talked about in his article, “the pleasure derived from the horror fiction and the source of our interest in it resides, first and foremost, in the processes of discovery, proof, and confirmation that horror fiction often employ.” In his point, he thinks that the process of looking for horror moment is the most attractive part for us.

In Rodney Southern’s article “Why horror movies are so popular in today’s pop culture”. He talks about that why we are so interested in horror movies and the reason that he gives to us is because “that natural high is at the center of why we love horror movies so much. It is a quick, natural, senses shattering piece of filmdom that will invigorate your senses and make you feel. That is the point of a great movie, after all.” “Fear is the quickest and most dependable emotion that movie makers can bring out in us.” Just like Rodney said in his article. We are riveted easily by those horror movies. That is because fear is our easiest emotion and that is what horror industry play on. I agree with him. In our lives, most of people never see a serial killer or something scared them and people are not familiar with fear. That is the best point for horror movie makers to create something we don’t know for attracting people. There is a horror movie “paranormal activity”, which talk about some scared events happened around people who live in a house. This movie is famous, because the place in the movie is just like where we live and we are familiar with it. Some things happen around people without any reason will scare people. That is what Southern’s point that “Fear is a rush”.  We are familiar with our place but we are not familiar with fear, so when something without any reason happened in our place where we are familiar that will scare us for a long time that thinks about what will happen in our real life. That is the reason why we love watching horror movie.

In Klus’s article “Why do we enjoy horror films?” he points out that there are two main branches of explanation of we enjoy horror films, which are integrationist and co-existentialist. Co-existentialist is one point similar with Carroll’s opinion. Also “In 1995, British philosopher Berys Gaut criticized Carroll’s theory and suggested an integrationist approach (Gaut, pp.284-289). Gaut argued that people complain when a horror film is not frightening enough and this should be taken to literally mean that people enjoy being frightened.” Klus believes that people love horror movie is not only for curiosity, but also for getting frightened. People enjoy being scared, just like “people would not want to be close to a wild tiger but can enjoy watching one in a zoo.”

Carroll, N. (2002). “Why Horror?”. In Neill, A. & Riley, A. (eds.) Arguing About Art: Contemporary Philosophical Debates (2nd ed., Chap. 17). New York, NY: Routledge.

Southern, Rodney,(Oct 22,2007). “Why Horror Movies Are so Popular in Today’s Pop Culture.” Yahoo! Contributor Network. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved  November 4th, 2012, from  http://voices.yahoo.com/why-horror-movies-so-popular-todays-pop-culture-600257.html

Klus, Helen. “Why Do We Enjoy Horror Films?” The Star Garden. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved  November 4th, 2012, from http://www.thestargarden.co.uk/WhyWeEnjoyHorror.html


“In Halloween Horror Movies May Cause emotional Problems In Young Children”  Dr. Schechter mentions that because “young children are unable to distinguish between and fantasy.”  Children may use the action that happen in the horror movie in the real world. That is the negative emotional impact on people.

Like what I said in my post, people love horror movie is because people enjoy being scared in a controlled situation.Also, People may feel curious about something that never happen in the real world and they would like to have a similar experience through movie. That is why horror movies are so popular. However, that may have negative impact on society.  If people watch a lot of horror movie, they may want to try it in the real world with a sick or unhealthy emotion, which is a big problem.

I understand horror movie has the unique aesthetic qualities. Before we define its unique aesthetic qualities, we need to understand what art is. According to my old post, “where is art”,  ”make the things one cares about special, shaping and elaborating the ordinary to make it more than ordinary, is fundamental to everyone and, as acknowledged as normal- encouraged and developed.” so horror definitely is art. It make unreal things real. so what is the unique aesthetic qualities of horror art? One element of horror movie is costume and make up. In order to make unreal things real and scare people, there are a lot of people working on costume. Their product has the unique aesthetic quality.


I understand that horror is art and so many enjoy watching it. However, I still do not like it and I will not start watching it. I will do more research about the impact that horror movie have and how to make horror movie more attract people.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital (2006, October 31). Halloween Horror Movies May Cause Emotional Problems In Young Children.

Universityof Minn (2009). Why we like horror movies. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=OMuFYX8SRLI.

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