The Critique of Pure Horror – NYTimes.com

The Critique of Pure Horror – NYTimes.com.

Gray Matter

The Critique of Pure Horror

WITH gruesome television series about vampires, werewolves, serial killers and zombies earning huge ratings, and a new cinematic bloodbath opening seemingly every week, the cultural appetite for horror raises a curious question: why do so many of us enjoy being disgusted and terrified?

The question has long puzzled parents and mystified spouses, but it has also increasingly engaged the attention of academics. Scholarship on the horror genre has grown so much over the last three decades that a peer-reviewed journal devoted to it, Horror Studies, was started last year. While much of the field’s research is sociological or cultural, focusing on what scary movies reveal about the time or place in which they were made, a small library of books and essays has also tried to explain the visceral appeal of shivers down your spine.

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Read the full story here: New York Times

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