It’s the adrenaline rush and the wave of relief once the threat has past that makes being scared so much fun. People come away from these movies feeling really happy and relieved that the horror is over. They remember that they felt good after the movie and equate that to liking horror movies. We don’t like being scared as much as we like feeling good afterwards.
Fear is the emotion that we feel when you realize that your own well being is threatened. People, who go to horror movies, place themselves in the situation that the characters are in the film. They let their imagination run wild and think about the possibility that something like this could happen to them.
In addition to feeling good the adrenaline high often lingers long enough to leave the impression on movie goers minds that screaming and hiding behind the seats was a favorable experience.
For the male of our species, in particular, the attraction of horror movies is the ability to conquer something that seems threatening, even though it poses no real harm. They feel like the hero when they protect their girl friend or wife from the boogieman on the big screen. I think it might be an added bonus that they get to put their arm around us to help keep us feel safe.
There are some people who like horror movies simply because they like the gore and are totally fascinated by the blood and special effects. These same people could eat a sandwich during an autopsy and not think twice about it. For them the attraction is more than the adrenaline it is more of an intellectual thing. It is just something that interests them.
The producers and directors use music and sound effects to build the suspense during the scariest scenes. Can you imagine what some of your favorite horror movies would be like with out the music? Would Jaws have been as scary without the dun unt dun unt dun unt? I still have issues swimming in anything other than a swimming pool because of that noise. Or how about Psycho without the screeching sound from the shower scene?
I will never forget the shear terror I felt when I watched ‘The Hills have Eyes‘ I was 16 years old and I slept on my parents bedroom floor for two night because I was afraid to sleep in my own room. I was so scared when that movie was over I was shaking. For me the adrenaline rush isn’t worth the lingering sense of doom and fear.