Escapism Through Horror
How Horror Films Help Me Get out of My Head
People watch horror films for many different reasons. Maybe they like the idea of being scared s***less, maybe their interest lies in the special effects and the creation of gore, or maybe they watch horror because they believe in the paranormal/supernatural. Whatever the reason, the horror film industry is huge and new titles are being released every month.
My main reason for watching this genre over any other is that I find that it provides me with a true form of escapism. Good horror films, such as Evil Dead (2013), The Taking of Deborah Logan, IT and many more help me to completely forget everything in real life, and focus solely on the story, the gore, and the scares that are woven within each movie. I find myself drawn into the plots of horror films, keenly watching all the twists and turns that are created and how they play on basic human fears: the idea of being trapped, the dark, the unknown. For the time I am watching a film, I can zone out, become embroiled in a world of ghosts, demons and monsters and just forget everything. I can let go of my fears for a little while and experience fear on another level, in a much more controlled yet detached manner.
The particular choice of horror over rom-coms or action is something personal to me. I have had horrible things happen to me in my 23 years on this world, and horror seems to give me an outlet that piles gore, fear and terror into my mind, thus giving me very little room to focus on the "real-life horrors" that plague me day to day. This may not be a good or even healthy way to deal with problems, but it allows me some relief from my depression and PTSD. The horror on screen can be brutal and gross, but it pulls my attention away from what is going on inside my own mind and makes me focus on something outside of myself.
That being said, there is a HUGE pitfall for me in the horror genre, and that is the sustained and relentless use of sexual violence as part of the plot. Films that spring to mind are the likes of I Spit On Your Grave or A Serbian Film. I am well aware that it will continue to be used as a scare tactic in the genre, but it links to closely to what myself and others are trying to escape from and can in many cases be completely unnecessary in terms of advancing the plot or adding to the story. It can ruin a good film or series for me: I cannot watch anything that shows any form of sexual violence - implied or shown on screen, as it will cause my PTSD to spiral out of control. There are so many horror films I have just had to turn off because of this, and I feel like sometimes it needs to be more clearly detailed that the film contains this kind of crime. IMDB and Wikipedia are my first port of call before any film now to check the plot, which can ruin any interesting plot twists. Having to make sure that the film isn't going to cause issues is a drag, and makes the whole process a little less fun.
However, even with the major flaw mentioned above, this genre is still the top of my list, and I will continue to use it as a way of escaping both the mundane and horrible aspects of daily life. I hope that 2018 brings more great horror films to our screens, with original plot-lines and fantastic jump scares.