Movies affect many people in many different ways, but only few can change the perception of an entire world. The horror genre as a whole has offered mankind a new look on their fears. Horror movies bring what we are most afraid to the big screen. They give our fears a face and a voice and give us new things to be scared of such as slashers, monsters, and even aliens. Horror genre as a whole can and has affected the world and they way we think far more than we know.
Psychopaths and serial killers have always been a fear of the average citizen. Movies like Halloween brought us emotionless maniacs obsessed with murder. We kept telling ourselves “it’s only a movie” but it became too real when the news lit up with real life killers like Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer. With not much info available at the time people had nothing to go on but associate these killers with the ones we see in movies. This for some numbed the outlook of the killers but for others made them more menacing than ever. Some horror movies were even made based off of serial killers. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was loosely based about the killer Ed Gein who made furniture and masks out of his victims, which in the movie is attributed to the character Leatherface. Recently murderers and psychos have been blamed as the product of watching horror movies but as Billy Loomis said from the movie Scream “Movies don’t create psychos; movies make psychos more creative.”
Slashers made everyone afraid of the killer next door but creature features struck people worldwide. When Steven Spielberg’s movie Jaws hit theaters, it changed the world. Sharks though we think them scary now were almost not thought about at all until Jaws was released. Sharks, once considered another creature in the ocean, have became one of the many faces of fear we know today. After Jaws came out people were afraid of the ocean but let’s go back in time to when people became afraid of space. On October 30th, 1938 Orson Welles read off an adaption of H.G. Wells book The War of the Worlds on the radio. Orson Welles sold his role as if he was reporting on actual accounts where alien invaders were taking over America. This caused mass panic and controversy because many people thought it to be real. Horror has given us a fear of the ocean and a fear of space but another thing they have touched on is the supernatural.
Recently the horror genre has focused mainly on paranormal and supernatural elements. Movies like the Exorcist gave us our most terrifying encounter with demons. It directly focused on religious beliefs and because of that movie many more possession movies have arose. Some people find these movies offensive because they feel it attacks their religious views. To others it's horrifying when they realize they believe it. Modern movies like Insidious, Sinister, and Paranormal Activity have restored our fear of the supernatural and have given us new ideas to be scared of. People see their religions as their strength but the horror community only sees it as a weakness to exploit.
The Horror genre is the most controversial and the most terrifying genre. The writers and directors of these movies create our fears and sell them to us. When we see our fear manifested before us it scares us but also gives us comfort. The more people watch horror movies the more they realize that the real monsters are man. History has shown us how much horror has shaped society and we can continue to watch many people create and give us something new to be afraid of.