It is no secret that today a great variety of people enjoy watching terrifying horror movies for a great variety of reasons. These types of films are so popular that the genre itself has been split into a variety of subgenres, ranging from monster flicks to slasher flicks to the ever popular zombie apocalypse flicks. There are even extremely popular and extremely long running franchises.
A lot of people may be surprised to see such popularity in a genre which purports to have the purpose of doing nothing less but scaring the proverbial pants off their audience. However, what might come as an even greater surprise to some people is the fact that this is hardly a new invention. Not only have filmmakers been making such scary films since the very beginning of filmmaking, but the scary stories themselves are even older than that.
The key to understand the inception of this type of genre is to look at the birth of 77 in the western world, the plays of ancient Greece. The concept that many such plays worked around, although none of them were considered scary, regardless of what sort of a chimeric monster formed the centerpiece of the action, was the idea of catharsis.
Catharsis simply means the release of negative feelings through such a medium. The idea is that the audience, by experiencing something scary, or something sad, is through the action of living the story through the actors in the play, purged of those negative emotions at the end of the story in one single release moment, known as the climax.
These techniques described above should come as no surprise to the discerning viewer of today. In fact, both classic films and the most recent entries in this genre use such techniques to give their audiences many different build ups and releases during the course of a film. By plumbing the darkest corners of our subconscious, the filmmakers can create truly terrifying visions.
Regardless of the viewer’s preferences in this day and age, whether or not he or she enjoys a particular sub-genre or all scary films regardless of their characters, the choices in horror movies are greater than ever. Accordingly, they are attracting a greater than ever audience.