Jenna Ortega Is Right, Horror Movies Are Therapeutic
For many fans of the horror genre, horror movies are not only a form of escapism, but also a way to solve real-life problems.
It's safe to say that 2022 is Jenna Ortega's year. She started the year by showing that a new generation could take over the Scream franchise with a successful outing that seemed to pass the torch from the original cast to the new one. She wrapped up with the record-breaking Netflix series Wednesday, the horror follow-up to The Addams Family's Wednesday Addams.
While promoting the show, Ortega appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, where she gave an interesting take on horror after the recently released next trailer for the Scream saga . Ortega told Fallon, "I love horror movies. I don't know what it's like to have blood in your face and run around screaming bloody murder. It's really therapeutic and very entertaining."
Say Horror The movie is therapeutic and might be an interesting look at it for someone who isn't into the genre. How can blood and guts and watching people get murdered be therapeutic? What good is being afraid? For fans of horror films, Ortega's words make a lot of sense. we are all like this Feel.
Horror Movies Allow Us to Feel Fear Without Consequences
While some see horror movies as a source of anxiety, others see them as an anxiety release. This is partly because, in our fear, we are in control. When the possessed Reagan (Linda Blair) spins her head all the way through The Exorcist, it's a terrifying image, but nothing really threatening. We're safe when Michael Myers stalks Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) on Halloween. Boogeyman can't see us. He is not chasing us. This applies to zombies ripping through plank doors and ripping out their guts, masked killers rampaging teenagers in the woods, or aliens attacking in the darkness of space. We know it's not real, so it's like a roller coaster, but without the threat of injury. Bad things in movies can't get us.
The release of adrenaline makes our bodies jittery. That's why when watching horror movies, many people scream when they see scary places, and then immediately laugh out loud. It's not because they find the scene funny or unrealistic. That's it. Our senses were heightened and we were just freaked out, screaming, jumping, and waving our arms. laughter is Realize this and the downfall.
Ortega even mentions this in an interview where he tells Fallon about Scream:
"The cast and crew, they’re my family and we can never take anything seriously. So, Ghostface could literally be in their monologue, and we’re having to restart because we’re all laughing so hard. It’s a mess… In the fifth [Scream film], I was, like, army crawling in the hospital and I would just, I would hide my face because I was laughing into my hands."
Even those who make such a dark and graphic film cannot avoid laughing in horror. Take a behind-the-scenes look at any horror movie or making-of documentary, and most of the time you'll find actors breaking down in one scene or talking about their laughs with their co-stars. They're living in the kind of rush we can only experience through screens, but they're also experiencing therapeutic release from it.
Horror Allows You to Detach From the World
On a more serious level, many people turn to horror movies when they experience some trauma in their lives. Yes, comedy movies are a great way to escape the ills of real life, but so are horror movies. You'd think that if you just lost your job, if you're going through a breakup, or similar stress levels, the last thing you want to do is watch the most stressed type. How can watching something about evil, killers and murdered people possibly make a grieving person feel better? But what do we turn to when we're feeling down? Of course, we can put In a mindless comedy or action movie, but we're just as often turned to horror. How many times have you gotten frustrated and then played your favorite horror movie from the past or played the latest offering you haven't seen yet?
How often do horror movies make us feel worse? This is rare, unless you're watching something particularly dark with a very unpleasant ending (if you're really depressed, maybe don't watch The Mist or A Serbian Film.) Instead, after watching a horror movie, we feel Much better. Part of it is from that release. We are very nervous. Horror took it away. But it's more than that, mentally and physically.
Mentally, when we watch a movie, we detach from ourselves. It's an escape. But especially for horror movies, it's a different kind of escape because we can put everything we're going through on the characters on screen. When the end credits roll, it's with them now, even if it's just for a few minutes or hours. Our misery stays with them for at least a while, giving us a respite to breathe and relax.
If you invest in a horror movie and don't let your mind wander, within 90 minutes your worries will be forgotten. You are not thinking about how you need to find another job to replace the one you lost. You don't think about how heartbroken you are because of a breakup, money woes, or a sick parent. That part of the brain is turned off. Instead, you invest in the character of the movie. Scary is where we invest the most in the characters because that's where they're most threatened. In comedy, they are the vehicle for jokes. In action, the good guys always prevail. But the scary thing is, anything is possible.
The Stakes in Horror Movies Are Real
All your real life worries are on the main character, your investment in their survival. No one was worried that Spider-Man would survive the latest sequel. But we worry about who will survive the next scream. We wonder if Laurie Strode will survive Michael Myers in the end. Will Savage or Smiling Heroine succeed? It's unpredictable. Good guys don't always win. In some of the examples just given they prevailed, in others they didn't. So we put all our real life worries and anxieties into it.
Physically, it goes back to the roller coaster effect. It's an urge that doesn't hurt us. Horror is the genre that makes us use our bodies the most. A good drama might make you cry. Great action movie that will make your heart beat faster. A classic comedy that will make you laugh until your body hurts. Horror can do it all, plus scare you, the strongest feeling you can have. The scarier the better. We're always told that exercise is a great cure for depression. It releases endorphins and gets your heart pumping. Horror movies are like an exercise without ever leaving the comfort of our couches. Most importantly, it gives our brains a rest.
So next time you're feeling down, watch Jason Voorhees disembowel some teens. Watch as a child possessed by a demon wreaks havoc. Witness monsters destroying a city. Absorb the blood and guts and let it take you. It might make you feel better.