ByMark Capehart, writer at
An academic lover of all things horror and folklore posting my thoughts and observations
Mark Capehart

No big intro of history this time just gonna get into it.

1. They encourage creativity:

Name the last romcom that was declared "truly original", or even a truly original action flic. Now yes the horror genre does have an abundance of cliches but we tend to embrace them and have fun with them more than any other genre. it is also where the fun comes from breaking the supposed taboos that are listed in some great book somewhere. That would be another good list come to think of it. Just think about it for a bit. Where else in film will you have such things as rampaging mushroom people.

Or, a screaming fetish doll in an apartment. (love this one and is the only segment anyone remembers from the Trilogy of Terror)

Heck, in horror even sheep get their creatively evil side shown.

Any genre that can get people thinking this outside the box, (and that is exactly what happened in the second got out of the box) is something that is very good for all people involved.

2. They empower women (just hear me out on this one):

Jump straight to the point on this one to avoid the incredulous looks. Name any other genre or world where the heroin has to save herself. Be it fantasy, scifi, action or romcom, the girl is always dependent on a man of some sort to run to the rescue. This is not the case in horror. This is nothing new either. Horror films have been doing this from the beginning. The staple of the genre is of course the heroic "last girl"

She is bold, beautiful and usually carries some kind of implement of destruction. Some may point out that she tends to run around screaming. Well, how do YOU react when you find your friends disemboweled by a psycho mutant alien...tap dancing!?! Furthermore, this lady of action tends to cross racial and cultural barriers (we can talk about who dies first later but that is usually a guy anyway so not really relevant to this argument)

No matter how you look at it, the girl is the one kicking most of the but in the movies. And they have also changed, for many, the image of the dream girl from the helpless princess in distress to some a bit more like this.

The phrase "fight like a girl" means something totally different to coming generations.

3. They stimulate the economy

Was at yet another con this weekend. Gonna be hitting two, sort of, next weekend. If i wanted to I could go to one every weekend. While there, any horror fan can find a plethora of industries being represented all built off the horror genre. And this is where the horror really helps the fiscal landscape. When was the last time you saw stuff like this.

Or this

Love this game!
Love this game!

Or went to something like this

for a film that did not delve into the fantastic. Now yes, it is true that Scifi and fantasy are also helping in this area but one thing that differentiates horror is its grass roots basis. It would be very hard to crowdfund something like "Lord of the Rings" but Saw or Blair problem! Just break out the laptop and start begging away. Heck anyone can make so much money just by selling the idea of their movie you hardly have to make the film anymore.

4. They are therapeutic

Haven't we all had days like this, where people just irritate us to no end and we gotta make nice-nice cause that is what society calls for. Well just watch a horror film and that is all out the window and you don't even have to spend money on a nail gun.

But Huey Lewis still got away.
But Huey Lewis still got away.

Next thing you know you feel a bit better about the day and no one is any the wiser that you are imagining how they would taste with pinto beans and IPA (In the mood for BBQ while writing this I guess.)

Hey, one of the staples of modern fun horror is to cheer on the monster and let all the annoying kids from high school get theirs while at the party you were not invited to. Now, put your feet up and relax...or should you? The our last reason goes against that rather passive behavior.

5. They help the evolution of the species

Lets face it, fear is a really good motivator. Both in terms of courage and logic. Horror films remind us, and provide solid reinforcement of said behavior in a setting that is conducive to strong learning. Probably the most basic choice we have in nature is, of course,


and she still fights in more recent shows
and she still fights in more recent shows

or flight.

Note the gender bend I put on this one.
Note the gender bend I put on this one.

Neither of these are promoted by feelings of romance or scientific curiosity, but good old fashioned primal fear. Were it not for this the cockroaches might have inherited the earth.

Bonus: they teach good morals

(Gonna do a full post just on this theme at another time) Even more so than the old "virgins live, sluts die" scenario the horror genre teaching that the epic joy of discovery and adventure come with a price. A big, often icky, price.

Well, there are some reasons. What do ya think?


How do horror films help us the most?


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