This past week was the ever popular “Shark Week” on the Discovery Channel. And well, don’t we all love Shark Week? Hours of the most dramatic programming possible about the most efficient predator possible; what’s not to love? Well, it got me thinking.
I myself am vaguely arachnophobic. I’m not one of those people who have a panic attack looking at a photograph of a spider. I’m just more creeped out by spiders than the average person is, I’d say. But, because of this, I’m also extremely interesting. I know the species that live in my area, which ones are poisonous and which ones aren’t. If I know a species isn’t poisonous and can’t hurt me, I can even find watching them kind of exciting, because I’m just a little bit afraid of them.
Most of us have the compulsion to look at something that frightens us at a safe distance. It’s the same reason why people rubberneck at traffic accidents and go to horror movies.
It’s also the same reason horror is one of the most popular fiction genres, and why writers like Anne Rice and Stephen King are best sellers. So, when I’m staring at a spider for a cheap thrill, or watching Shark Week, I think about what draws us to the horror genre. Maybe it’s the rush of engaging our “fight or flight” response while knowing that we’re not really in danger. Maybe it’s because it makes us feel like children, telling each other ghost stories by flashlight in a dark tent. It might even be Schadenfreude.
Maybe it’s a mixture of all of these. Or maybe, we all just like things that go bump in the night.
Do you like things that scare you? What are your favorite horror stories? Did you watch shark week? Or do you just stare at things that frighten you?
Leave me a comment!