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In reading Stephen King’s work on our craving for horror movies as a deep seeded desire for seeing violence, hate, and the menacing of others, an alarming number of agreeable points were made. Each paragraph and every sentence is well condensed into a work that analyzes the human condition quite accurately- wasting no time to get the point across. Not much less should be expected from King, though. His expertise on the matter made it very plain as day why he could see this trend in human nature and just why we love the work he’s most known for representing.
To rephrase King’s piece on our love for horror, one has to look into the biological creature that is our human brain. From the start of our species to where we are now, our physical makeup remains mostly the same- especially instinctually in the brain. Sure, our time in civilizations has allowed us to create standards for social behavior and a moral compass against the most basic crimes like violence and cruelty, but in our core we remain the same creatures that took pleasure in watching two men enter an arena, and one leave alive. Though over time societal standards and values have driven us to repress this desire to see violence in reality and publicly, we take much less shame in openly enjoying a fictional piece like Friday the 13th. The lust for violence is in us just as much as our love for pro-civilization feelings- it’s just a matter of turning ourselves over to our “mentally ill side” when the time is right and the audience is minimal. To its essence, King’s work basically explains that we’re all a little mentally ill- and horror stories are where we must embrace it.
Where else can this inner mental illness be applied? Well, to start, why not look at the modern form of Gladiator rings: UFC fighting. For the more theatrical presentation, modern wrestling channels get the same point across. Whether they be actually performed or simply dramaticized (Looking at you, wrestling), these programs are a means for us to get unbelievably excited over what is essentially two people trying to kill each other with some rules in the mix. See, this is where the civilized element comes into play. There’s a line to be drawn with this mental illness of ours, though. When it drives us to act upon violent tendencies and commit murder, then “we clap you away in the funny farm” (King 526). But, if it is only a simple satisfaction in watching a diabolical spree unfurl at Camp Crystal lake, then you’re safe enough that “you are left alone to go about your business” (King 526). In modern times, we’ve learned to push our desire for the real world violence in a cynical and boarded off corridor of our minds- but while that’s tucked away, we let it show in fiction like we were deranged as all getout.
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