Is the love of horror something you grow out of?
I sometimes have my college-aged students read Stephen King’s famous treatise on horror called “Why We Crave Horror Movies”. It’s a great essay, and spawns a lot of discussion. Generally, the class is split between horror lovers and those who hate the genre. I have students read King’s essay in order to foster a debate on whether horror has a place in literature. This is one of my favorite discussions of the semester, since you never know what the students will say.
I re-read the essay recently, and suddenly picked up on a line that I had passed over before. King is comparing horror to roller coasters, and he says, “And horror movies, like roller coasters, have always been the special
province of the young; by the time one turns 40 or 50, one’s appetite for double twists or
360-degree loops may be considerably depleted.” That sentence stopped me in my tracks!
I’m nearly a decade past 50, and I’ve never enjoyed horror more than I do now. In fact, the deeper I dig into the genre, the more I discover. Last year, I started watching at least four horror movies a week and have not gotten sick of the genre yet. And there are plenty of horror novels on my shelves and on my Kindle.
I’m not sure why someone would age out of the horror genre. While it’s true that I don’t get as scared as I used to as a teenager, I definitely enjoy most of the movies I watch, even the silly ones with improbable plots. However, many times after watching them, I find myself thinking about the themes they present. For instance, I recently watched Funny Games, a particularly brutal movie with an interesting take on horror. It haunted me, both on an emotional and intellectual level. Immediately after watching it, I jumped on Reddit to see what others had to say about it. It made for a fascinating debate.
And maybe that’s what I love most about the genre: the community. I’ve usually found the horror community to be an accepting and thoughtful bunch. When you love something, it’s nice to be able to share your thoughts with other like-minded people. It’s the same way I feel when presenting my students with the King article. It’s a chance to discuss something that many people enjoy but seldom get to talk about.
What do you think? Will you ever grow out of something you love? Let me know in the comments.
2 thoughts on “Are You Ever too Old for Horror?”
We seem to be about the same age (based on what you wrote) and we both still love horror. I am interested in many other genres as well, but it doesn’t look like I will grow out of any of them.
Yes, I was very surprised by King’s take on that. I mean, he’s older than 50 for sure, and he still writes a lot of horror, lol.
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