Why do people like scary movies?

Scared man sitting on a sofa watching movie

Horror is the all-time favorite genre to go for when you cannot decide what movie to watch. If you ask a person if they have ever watched a horror movie and reply with a no, it is a lie! According to a study, the kick or the adrenaline we feel while watching scary movies filled with moments of intense fear on screen makes us active and pumping. It is the same reason why Halloween is looked forward to the most. The phenomenon began in the 1930s when the talkies would show segments of scary movies like Nosferatu, a german expressionist adaptation of the novel ‘Dracula.’ Scary movies have been the most-watched genre under any circumstances after romance and action. Why do we flinch and watch horror or scary movies without a stop? People love to be frightened and active to get an immersive experience. This war between the known and the unknown has made us conclude several conclusions related to horror movies being the most watch genre. Fear, according to psychoanalyst Carl Jung, is the very reason humans exist and fight dangers. To fear something means the individual knows what is evil and dangerous for his or her existence. Scary movies always tap on this theory.

Critical Ingredients for making a Good Horror Movie

If someone tries to differentiate a good horror movie from a bad one, then these are the qualities you must look for-

  • The scary location sets the theme of the movie.
  • Disfiguration factor, or how many grotesque and gory visualizations the movie has.
  • The suspense that gets enhanced with the spooky shots and lighting
  • The background music is essential. The Conjuring movies wouldn’t have been famous without the right amount of background music that brings us to the next point,
  • Without jump scares, horror movies are empty.
  • Creepy horror movies with creepy lighting and shots. Without the intense and fast cuts and changes in lighting, a scary scene never impacts a person.

Why do we crave horror movies?

We crave horror movies for psychological reasons. According to research, three factors cause creepy horror movies to be watched a lot- Tension or the build-up to a scary scene is enhanced with the suspense, gore, mystery, terror, shock, etc. The second factor is relevance; that is, how the very question of a character’s ability to survive is questioned. The emotion of fearing death becomes prevalent where the viewer starts associating with the character like they are with them. The third factor is the unrealism or a world where we can get a glimpse of danger from the unknown. Unrealism is satisfying when a real-life situation gets blended with unrealistic dangers. The protagonist is the person the viewers relate to the most while watching scary movies. For example, if someone watches Evil Dead, they will rewatch it as all the characters understand what supernatural force is trying to kill them. Creepy horror movies are hard to stomach but are also watched with equal amounts of interest and curiosity.

Why do people continue to watch the movie, which scares them?

It is better to watch a protagonist suffer in unrealistic and scary movies than you venturing out to look for such things! The viewers understand that the setup and the stories derived and made for horror movies are mostly unreal. It creates a psychological distance between what they watch and what is real, yet, one can feel the tension and emotions the protagonist in the movie goes through. This constant verification of real and unreal people makes people watch scary movies that make their spine chill. Horror movies are available in different types. One such variant is psychological horror. Psychological horror movies are thrilling and scary to watch as they involve showing no ghosts but hallucinations that cause characters to get freaky and scary. Scary movies make us feel scared simply because of the horror that emits from the movie. One such inventor and master of psychological horror and thriller movies is Alfred Hitchcock. He opened a whole new avenue and created waves with his most popular psychological horror/thriller called Psycho. There are four reasons why people continue watching scary movies. Among the teenagers mainly, it was found that movies warn them to watch a movie with gore or adult content despite rating systems of movies. They will still watch scary movies compared to just an r-rated movie for the following reasons- the gore, the thrill, the independence, and watching a problem being faced by the protagonist head-on to fight for themselves.

The people who watch scary movies for the gore have a motivation where empathy is comparatively low. At the same time, they seek a rush through feeling high sensations and identifying with the killer. People who seek scary movies for the thrill are the kind who will empathize with the victim as well as identify with them while enjoying the tension and thrill. People who seek independent reasons watch scary movies to bust some difficulty they face in real life by watching a horror movie where the protagonist will fight off the scary ghosts or the evil forces on his or her own. It motivates the viewer to feel empathy, relatability, and the strength to overcome their real-life fear. Some people watch scary movies to feel helpless; that is, they negatively affected the impact, yet kept watching. As much as the cinematography is played around within such movies, the real element always remains the horror.

Best horror movies of all time

Here are some recommendations for people who want to feel the creepy crawlies late in the night-

  • Psycho (1960)
  • The Exorcist (1973)
  • Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
  • The Shining (1980)
  • Alien (1979)
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
  • The Conjuring movies trilogy


If you are willing to watch Scary movies, start with the trilogy of Conjuring movies. It is not as intense as the other R-rated horror movies, yet scary enough to make you feel the thrill. Some people may not like watching scary movies but do not miss a chance to watch one if they are with a bunch of friends or family, hiding behind a cushion not to watch that scary scene!


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