Mystic Magic: What Goes Bump in the Night

Grace Cavanaugh ~ Staff Writer

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There seems to be a rise in popularity with the macabre and mysterious. Certain topics that never would have been touched on or were pushed into the shadows in the past are now on Netflix and in the Box Office.

The horror genre of TV shows and movies has been around since television was invented, it seems. The precursor to technology were creepy books filled with monsters and gore. There is an abundance of horror video games on the market.

What is our fascination with what scares us? Why do haunted mazes, jumpscare-filled games, and spooky soundtracks draw in millions of people?

For me, it is the thrill that sends chills down my spine and elicits screams that hurt my throat. I want to be scared silly. I think, for a lot of people, that is why they watch what they know will scare them.

A large group of my friends went to the theater to watch It when it first came out. We took up nearly an entire row in the back of the theater. I came late, so I was forced to sit on the end, which only made me more anxious because no one took the seats beside me. Instead, there was a dark, shadowy corner of the theater.

It itself is pretty scary. The unexpected appearance of the killer clown, the loud noises, and the creepy visuals all lend to making you jump out of your skin. It did not help that the guy I was sitting next to kept poking me or whispering a sudden “boo!” into my ear during tense scenes.

Sure, I was a little upset that he kept distracting me, but ultimately I was glad I sat beside him. He helped remind me that what I was watching was not actually real, and that helped me sleep that night. And then there was the alternative to that particular viewing, which was the guy on the other end predicting (and ruining) all of the scares.

With the growth of the horror genre comes some truly terrifying things, like Hereditary, The Haunting of Hill House, and Outlast, which will surely keep you up at night. There are also movies like Cabin in the Woods that make fun of the genre, bringing light to what should scare you. The terrible, low-budget horror movies you can watch with friends and laugh at are just as important to the genre’s popularity as the good movies.

While the thrill brings a lot of people to like the genre, I also think that community helps perpetuate the popularity too. Getting together in a big group to watch the new horror movie brings people together, because it is better with friends. Being in a group reminds you, too, that you are not alone in the dark.

The moral of this long-winded piece is: there is something in the horror genre for everyone, whether it is a terrible movie with bad graphics, or something that will petrify you. In the end, that is why horror is so popular. It brings people together against the monsters in the dark, and what is greater than that?