Dear Reader by BloodySpaghetti
Dear reader, I know you’re familiar with the “Alien” franchise and if you are not it’s probably because you are too young to know this popular franchise Well there is this picture floating around the internet of the Xenomorph and underneath it there’s a text saying, “Sometimes the scariest things in movies are based on our primal fears, so just what in our primal past could’ve inspired so many horror icons that possess characteristics similar to those of a Xenomorph?” Well the simple answer is nothing in particular, aside from the usual things that strike fear into our hearts, ei anything that reminds us of disease or death, claws and canines. The Xenomorph’s design was based off a painting by the Surrealist H.R Giger. the painting is called Necronomicon IV, and you can Google it. Well, what if I told you there is a real life Xenomorph like creature in our very own little planet. Sounds scary? Well it should not be, because said creature is only about an inch long and it’s a relative of crabs, krill and Barnacles. Why did I call it a real life Xenomorph, well because it’s parasitoid just like the fictional alien creature and it has an eerily similar appearance to the monster that we love so badly.
So, Dear Reader, could you explain to me why such a violent and horrific series has become so popular among us, after all it is a story about a bunch of people being hunted by a parasitoid extraterrestrial monstrosity with a hive mentality. This question arose in my mind when a friend of mine told me she is sadistic for laughing at a character she saw was being injured repeatedly on TV. Why do we love horror and violence so much? Well apparently, there are a bunch of reasons for that, Dear Reader.
We love horror and violence because these things are thrilling, a feeling that triggers adrenaline rushes in us, and we like those adrenaline rushes – they make us feel good, they improve our focus and at the right doses, the danger-induced hormone is great at improving our performances in any and everything we do. Other than that, Adrenaline is also in a way responsible for the fight or flight response of the body. Humans love experiencing this response in controlled conditions such as watching something violent or scary, or practicing possibly, health risking sports and so on mostly because after the stressing factor is gone, the human body is flooded with endorphins, which make us feel good, and in certain cases even high, due to elevated breathing rate.
Another hormonal reason we enjoy violence and horror is because we inherently love to fight, yes, humans are naturally into pointless fighting. The reason for this is rather simple, just like many other species need to protect their territory, mates and young, so did humans, that trait was just stuck with us, like many other things we don’t really need any more. The idea of causing or knowing someone else is suffering makes us feel good, because in our own bodies we feel like we were just protecting what is ours. This was also observed in mice, first a mouse was placed inside another mouse’s cage so that the so-called owner of the cage could fight off the intruder. Later a button was placed in the cage, a button that let the intruder to enter said cage again, what do you think the owner of the cage did with this button once he had been taught its use?
If you think the mouse avoided its use, you are horribly wrong – in fact, the mouse kept pressing the button just to have another mouse enter his cage, beat him up in matches of biting and boxing, all for the sport of it.
Hell, it seems like fighting is actually socially good for us humans, how is that possible you might be wondering, dear reader, Its good as long as it’s just a children’s innocent game. Seems like play fighting among children helps them, they learn actual fighting is not good nor it is pleasant at the action’s moment. In a way its comparable to a lion encouraging his cubs to bite him and pretending it hurts him to help his young learn their place as top predators in the food chain. I suppose play fighting also helps build trust in children toward one another as through those seemingly violent games they can find out whom they can trust with their safety and whom they cannot.
A final reason I would like to let you know about as to why we love horror and violence is probably the most sinister of them all, and I’m not planning to tell you something extraordinary here. We people, have this innate tendency to relate to others, all the time, literally all the time we compare ourselves to others.
I said it’s probably the most sinister reason for our fascination with the bad stuff, and now you’re probably thinking that everything I express from this point onward is nonsense because how can empathy and relation be sinister?
That depends on whom you relate to… simple as that.
When it comes to horror and violence, everyone would like to think that a normal person would relate to the victim of the violence, and that is true. We do relate to the person who’s put through pain and suffering, we do feel in a way bad for their suffering, but we also compare ourselves to that suffering person or character, we sit in our warm chairs and we start thinking things like, “how long would I last if I was there?” or “How would I react there?”
To explain my stance on this I would like you all to think if you have ever thought about being in a time from past or being part of a certain fictions cast. Give yourself about a minute to think about it, the answer is obviously yes. You did, we all did, I do it all the time. Its fun… it is relating yourself to others.
All this sounds humane and lovely, does it not?
What if I told you that we relate to the murderers and monsters too?
Oh yeah, we most absolutely do! Whenever we watch an action movie where the main protagonist is wronged at the beginning and gets his revenge at the end of the movie, we feel good about it, no matter how vile or violent his way to vengeance is, we experience a catharsis. The good guy won and the bad guy got what he deserved. This kind of simplistic view leads us. Scary, isn’t it? That’s not even the worst of it, in certain cases we justify random murder in entertainment. Jason Voorhees is a prime example of that, everyone agrees that even if he is the antagonist of the Friday the 13th series, he is probably the main victim of horrible circumstance.
In episodes of graphic violence, we can picture ourselves performing these acts as a way of relation to their performer. Sometimes our fascination with the intimacy in episodes of one on one violence borders on the sexual level because we are literally glued to our screens or books due to the anticipation of what is next. In many cases we criticize what we’re seeing or reading, I mean at least once we all watched this horror flick that we found so bad we thought to ourselves, “I could’ve killed this guy in a more creative better way”.
Now you are probably thinking, “What kind of a sick person would think that?” The answer is, healthy people do, and sick people actually act these scenarios out of their minds. Let me ask you this one question, which one are you?
So, Dear Reader, now that you know why people like horror and violence so much, I’ve a little advice for you, the next time you hear scary noises or you are sure you’ve seen something that shouldn’t be there quote on quote, know that it’s only your imagination, because now you know there are no such things as real monsters.
Well, aside from the one you are, that is.