There is no other motivator that can match fear. It allows you to become more instinctual than any other emotion currently available, even love. It allows us to get away from a bad situation, to feel something that isn’t fundamentally a common feeling in daily life. You feel fear of horror and it makes you seem like you survived something that was out for your existence, your wellbeing. There is even a reward at the end of the horror-filled tunnel, one of persistence and the feeling of being alive.
Fear does have its drawbacks, like a weakened immune system, fogged memory, and mismanages the way our mind reacts to certain stimuli. Fear, like all the other emotions, does not start because we choose to be scared; it is a response from our body.
Now, I am someone who does not have a degree in psychology or a medical degree, so this is all based on my understanding of others’ research. The links I will be giving for this article are what I have found and if you have any further ideas or understanding, a comment and further links are welcome, even if they are of your own.
Why can’t you be happy?
From a previous blog I wrote about, A Ghost in the Making: A History, you see fear because of what you know of what could be scary. Looking down a dark hallway to someone who has never experienced why it could be scary wouldn’t think a monster is settled in the shadows, waiting to jump out.
This isn’t denial or changing the way you think so the fear is lessened, but more so just ignorance. You would not call this a bad thing, since fear can harm the human body. You would see fear because the experience is something you may have seen before, whether it be in person, on a screen, or in a book. This creates the mindset that “ignorance is bliss”, and that mindset is good in certain situations, like trying to get up the basement stairs with the lights turned off.
In a case that everyone is involved in right now, the pandemic is a great example of a crisis. It is something that could happen in anyone’s life and there is fear that it could kill anyone close to you. As bad as the pandemic is, it really is a great way to see how fear is controlled in the world.
Humanity is not above self-deprecation, not even for fear of horror.
You can track when many people just gave up via the internet. Stories involved in fear have evolved into its sibling: dread. The caring world became angry and the silence that typically is shoved under the rug is louder than Inception’s ba-oom sound effect.
But, going about a year into the pandemic, you saw people not fall into fear, but into teasing themselves into a hole of despair. Media on menacing maladies aren’t scary anymore because they are relatable. Zombie movies are the joke of entertainment. Even Yellowstone erupting is seen as a punch on a Bingo card.
Pandemics have always had some sort of influence on how people react. You can look at the bubonic plague and see that people stopped feeling their basic, everyday fear and started anew with another. The fear that the plague would ruin them financially, kill everyone they loved, influence how they feel, their faith, their ideals.
The world isn’t scared, anymore, by the ‘could be’. You don’t see a jump scare and feel fear but take it as a cheap ploy because you’ve seen worse. To make matters worse, movies now are more afraid of not being ‘woke’ enough and take the momentum from a group not silent anymore to fulfill an agenda that is not theirs.
These occurrences alone lessen how we feel about horror.
Our idea of what horror really is is now skewed from a massive newer influence of panic and how we handled dealing with it. Seeing a constant wave of death and destruction has changed the view of average person on what fear really could be.
I am not talking about PTSD.
Yes, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can have a trigger on major global events, but that is not what I am discussing. What I am talking about is what we feel with crisis and how it affects how we see fear. Fear causes an instinctual reaction where the body goes into a ‘fight, flight, or freeze’ mode. Crisis has about the same outcome and feeling this under a long duration of time hurts our chances of having true fear.
It makes you tired, short-tempered, and unwilling, which is common amongst mental illnesses, but this isn’t about that. You don’t feel normal fear anymore. Insidious is now an escape away from the struggle in the real world. You’d probably invite the demon in just to have some company.
It’s just not scary anymore.
True horror media is changing around us. Horror media has remakes on remakes because a new idea needs a new look on what we fear, now. Movies like Ouija, Annabelle, and Oculus are still welcomed because ghosts, spirits, and demons are the constant unknown, but they aren’t so scary when you think your problems are worse than a murderous mirror.
Then, there are movies like Get Out, Mom and Dad, and Carriers that could very well become real and they spark a different kind of reaction. It isn’t fearful because it’s relevant.
You don’t feel fear of horror anymore and that is a problem.
Fear is a great motivator. It allows you to understand what can cause harm and how to prevent it. You base your parameters on what you are afraid of and stand by what you believe is true. You seek information on every perspective of the fear to comprehend it more, so you aren’t scared the next time around.
Humanity needs the jump scare and the distorted dark haired girl climbing walls because without fear, you do not strive to get an understanding of how you can grow beyond what you have.