Why is it that some of us like to get scared? Isn't the world around us scary enough?
It's rather often that we rely on books, films, video games, and so forth as a means of escaping the occasional abrasiveness of our daily existence. A genre of literature and film that I tend to gravitate toward is horror. While certain detractors often dismiss the genre as little more than pervasive, occasionally grotesque faux-artistry, I would have to argue in the opposite direction: there is much more to horror than spattered blood and creepy crawlies even though films that feature such can be ridiculously fun to watch (the "Evil Dead" series is a personal favorite of mine).
There are some films along the lines of Ruggero Deodato's "Cannibal Holocaust" or perhaps Eli Roth's "Hostel" that were made for little more than the sake of exploitative shock value, to gross the viewer out to the point of repulsion. If you examine other works such as Darren Aronofsky's "mother!," Jordan Peele's "Get Out," or even (as absurd as it might sound) the "Saw" series, you might find that these films deftly weave poignant morality and touchy subject matter within their stories. "mother!" opts for a visceral means of relaying an allegory about the perpetual torment of Earth while "Get Out" both subtly and bluntly brings about a conversation on race relations.
Admittedly the "Saw" series got more than a little silly after awhile, but the first few films rather cleverly harp on the ways humanity tends to take life for granted by including a villain whose modus operandi is to teach his victims the value of life by confronting them with the encroaching prospect of excruciating death.
One of my favorite directors, a gentleman by the name of David Cronenberg, who crafted movies like "The Fly and Dead Ringers," sums up the idea of the value of horror quite nicely: "I think of horror films as art, as films of confrontations. Films that make you confront aspects of your own life that are difficult to face. Just because you're making a horror film doesn't mean you can't make an artful film."
Unpacking that a little, Cronenberg is insinuating that the horror genre is capable of far more than simple spooks; that by grabbing the viewer by the throat with carefully placed elements of shock and a powerful narrative, filmmakers have simultaneously allowed their audiences to escape while allowing themselves the opportunity to discuss certain subjects or even taboos that would otherwise be left in the vacuous annals of our minds.