Some of us enjoy watching horror films. The nail-biting films, scary stories told at the campfire, or stories written by Edgar Allan Poe are very popular among teenagers and adults. Have you ever wondered why?

Some time ago I went with my friends to a cafe, to gossip a bit. I don’t know how, or why, but the subject of our conversation suddenly changed into horror films, the ones with ghosts, to be precise. Kate and I kept talking about how terrifying the film “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” was, then Kate mentioned something about the short documentaries, real videos of exorcisms on YouTube, etc. It went on for a while, but what we failed to see was that the other friend sitting with us was truly frightened. Ellen asked us to switch the subject and we did, but it returned after a couple of minutes. This time Ellen didn’t ask, she began screaming!

ghost in owinska

The next morning Ellen said hello with a rather sour face. She was tired, weary, and pissed at me as she didn’t get a wink of sleep at night. I apologised for the whole discussion about the film, but, to my great surprise, Ellen admitted that before going to bed she had spent over an hour watching scary stuff on the internet. My jaw dropped to the floor in total shock, I was flabbergasted! Why did she do it?

Turns out there are quite a few reasons! Many scientists have been studying the subject, checking people’s reactions to scary stories and scenes. The majority of people who derive pleasure from watching horrors are, of course, young people in their 20s. The number of adults, however, is pretty impressive as well. As far as the first group is concerned, the reason is pretty obvious, but what about the rest?

Looks like the most important reason is the feeling of catharsis. We watch a film that sparks an increase in the heart rate, we perspire, bite our nails, but when it’s over, we’re still in our warm, cosy rooms, usually with someone by our side, who certainly would rescue us from monster’s claws if such need occurred. We survived, everything is fine, we’re relieved, we’ll live. What is more, since our emotions, even if negative, rose to a dangerously high level, when the film is over, we’re left with the excitement that strengthens pleasure we get from spending time with friends or family. We jump at shadows, refuse to go to the loo on our own…but the negative emotions turn into positive and all the pleasant things we do seem even more enjoyable.

What I find quite amusing  is the relation between who we watch horror films with, and how entertaining these films appear to us. Both men and women are more willing to dive into the world of horror, when they watch it with their partners. When one person’s eyes are wide with fear, the other one must be capable of facing the demons, throwing their arms around the poor, frightened one.

What more can I say? I don’t think I’d be able to watch “Paranormal Activities,”  “The Exorcism of…,” Steven King’s “It,” or “The Ring” again, even with my husband next to me. After all, he won’t be able to alter the images that I create in my mind while falling asleep. Wish he could!

The conclusion is short – feel free to watch films about ghosts and enjoy! Ellen and I opt out! :)

Do you like thrillers or horror films? What’s the most scary thing in the world? Is there anything that truly terrifies you?

Looking forward to your comments! :)