French playwright Antonin Artaud, purveyor of the Theatre of Cruelty literary theory, believed that the only way to shatter the falseness that the theatrical audiences of his time had been coaxed into monotony with was to confront them with violence – but in the 1930’s could Artaud have comprehended how his theories would have a parallel echo in the modern world of horror movies. Psychologists have been curious for a long time about what exactly it is that attracted droves of people to horror movies, especially the really overtly violent ones. On one level it does make sense to think that these are the films that shock us out of not only the humdrum of movies with more pedestrian plots but also the tedium of life in general – why worry about your SAT score, taking out a second mortgage, or whether Kate Hudson will get a date in her new RomCom when you can bask in the fantasy of mowing down an undead horde with your boomstick and chainsaw hand? Loving horror movie violence may seem weird to ultra-Conservative politicians, but the truth is that the morbidity is well worth enduring for the catharsis and the euphoria and is far cheaper than medication.
October 29, 2013