Gory Fascination: Why Is Horror So Addictive?

Last updated by Katie M.

From serial killers, gruesome crime stories to horrific fiction there are certain seemingly twisted topics that we can't get enough of. Indeed, being confronted with horror and terror seems to excite our brains to the point of giving us goosebumps. Although it makes us feel uneasy and puts us on edge, many of us are totally obsessed. This dark universe draws us even the sweetest and most innocent amongst us in, but why does it have such a strong hold over us? Why do all things scary and terrifying fascinate us so much? Let’s get some answers.

Gory Fascination: Why Is Horror So Addictive?
Contents:

For centuries, people have always been terrified by ogres, children-eating wolves in fairy tales, vampires and more recently by movies such as the Exorcist. As well as a whole range of series showcasing murderers and monsters: The Walking Dead, Dexter, Mindhunter, American Horror Story, etc. So why do we enjoy being confronted with horror? How can this fascination for evil and gore be explained?

Why are we so fascinated by gory things? - What is the psychology behind it?

What happens in our brain when we’re confronted with horror? Researchers have found that when faced with gruesome news stores, we experience both suffering and pleasure. In fact, in our brain pleasure and pain work together, and it’s impossible to separate the two.

The brains pain pathways allow us to sympathize with victims of pain, but at the same time, the brain’s pleasure pathways are also activated. That explains the confusing feeling of fascination and repulsion.

Fear is a cathartic pleasure

Why do we slow down in the car to try and catch a glimpse of the victims of car accidents? Why do we read a Stephen King novel for pleasure or watch Hannibal Lecter feasting on a brain?

Firstly, our attraction to gruesomeness is a sign of our empathy; we experience someone else’s suffering, whilst reassuring ourselves. By watching victims, we ward off our fear and so, as a result, are not victims ourselves. We confront death to feel more alive.

Being a witness to gore allows us to create catharsis, in the psychological sense of the term, meaning we externalize our trauma. At the cinema, the theater, in literature and within our own material comforts, we impose fear on ourselves: knots in your stomach, a dry mouth, chills, goose bumps, jumping through fear…all whilst knowing that we can put an end to it all and look away at any time we want. We hold our nerve, whatever happens, it’s not real but purely fiction.
scary bike

According to some specialists, it’s our feeling of powerlessness when confronted with real-life tragedy that pushes us towards gore, which we can control and which allows us to look away.

Why do we have such a fascination for serial killers?

Real-life monsters and fictional heroes, the serial killer is a huge reason why we are attracted to gore. In between fascination and condemnation, it replaces the popular werewolf and vampire figures. It represents danger to the community and actually strengthens that community.

Their abnormality reassures us of our own normality. However, the fact that they seem to be everywhere forces us to take a look at ourselves. Would we too have been capable of committing those crimes? Serial killers therefore represent the boundaries we are unable to cross, for fear of losing our humaneness.

Editor's opinion - Liking horror isn't a negative thing

Overcoming a situation that was very stressful for our brain gives rise to a gain in self-confidence and an enviable positive feeling; a cocktail of emotions that allows our brain to take advantage of a priori negative facts.

🤗 Understand yourself, accept yourself, be happy... Let’s do it here and now!

#BornToBeMe

Liked this article? You might also be interested in:

Article presented by Katie M.

Discover the world through my eyes.

Read our latest articles here:

How To Make A Narcissist Fear You?

Now, I know what you’re thinking, scaring a narcissist is impossible, so, let me stop you right there because it’s totally false! Getting these awful manipulators to fear you is no easy challenge, however, there are certain things you can do that will help you turn the tables on them in no time. Letting these abusers know that they’ve met their match is the first important step toward the road to recovery, so I hope you’re ready for the journey. Here are 10 ways to scare a narcissist

What Exactly Does It Mean To Be An Extrovert?

I wish I could say loud and clear that I’m an extrovert, but not at all. I belong to the opposite team, the team of introverts. However, even though we don’t operate in the same way, that doesn’t prevent me from being surrounded by extroverts. I myself have a few moments when my introversion gives way to my extroversion, when I feel good, surrounded by a few people that I know well. So how does extroversion work? How is it different? What can you do to get on well with an extrovert? Let me explain.

Everything You Need To Know About Hyper-Empathy

Sometimes you’re devastated by your best friend’s break-up, sometimes you’re euphoric about your sister’s pregnancy... Sometimes it feels like other people’s emotions are invading you, so much so that you feel like you’re experiencing what they’re going through like it’s your own life. Have you ever felt this way? Maybe you’re affected by hyper-empathy, a characteristic not dissimilar to hypersensitivity. But what exactly is it? How do you distinguish between the two? And above all, how do you know if you’re hyper-empathetic? Let me explain.

8 Reasons Why All Narcissists Are Hypocrites

If you know anything about narcissists, you'll surely be aware that they are extremely overly judgmental and critical, especially towards other people. Their faultfinding stems from their perception of ultimate superiority, and therefore legitimizes them in holding people to intimidatingly high standards. However, although they may believe they are pretty much perfect, the reality couldn't be any more different, yet they are slightly more forgiving with themselves. That's right, they are huge hypocrites and go from one extreme to another in a split second. Here we discuss the reasons behind their hypocritical behavior.

Are Narcissists Born Or Made? - Let's Settle The Debate

There you have it, the nature vs nurture debate is back, only this time I want to focus it on those deviously manipulative personalities we refer to as narcissists. Now, evidently these folks get bad press and rightly so because they are often at the root of plenty of harm, but is it really their fault? Can they really be blamed for their terrifying and perhaps inherent traits, or are they simply just products and in this case victims of their environments? Let’s settle this debate once and for all and figure out how and when this disorder becomes apparent. So, are you born a narcissist or is it developed?

Why Do I Feel Bad When People Don’t Message Me Back?

Friday night rolls around and after a hard week you were expecting to have a drink with a girlfriend, but she seems to have left you hanging on read... To make matters worse (and the humiliation?) you even saw the little typing sign appear, yet you never received a reply. Well, if that’s the case, obviously you or your "how about a drink tonight?" didn’t deserve an answer. Let’s take a look at why some people don't reply to messages, and why when someone doesn't reply to your text, this makes us feel so bad.

How Does A Narcissist React When They Can’t Control You?

You probably know by now that narcissists only ever look for one thing and one thing only; and that’s control! Whether in their personal or professional life, folks with this personality disorder need to be in the driving seat and the one calling the shots, otherwise all hell breaks loose. Although their cunning and manipulative nature means they are often hard to escape, it is still possible to turn the tables on them and take the upper hand. Yet, you’ll need a thick skin to do so because when they feel their power slipping away, they become even more dangerous and abusive; here’s how they react when that happens.

How To Get Revenge On A Narcissist?

Narcissistic abuse is one of the most horrific challenges anyone can ever go through in life, but that’s not to say that their reign of terror will last forever. Evidently, breaking the cycle of abuse isn’t exactly straightforward, however, once the discard phase has been activated and victims realize that they can walk away with their heads held high, the revenge phase can commence. Unsurprisingly, getting even with a raging egocentric narcissist needs to be carefully planned, but ironically, their self-centered personalities expose to many axes of revenge, which will evidently really get to them…

How Do Narcissists Behave Sexually?

As with many things in life, narcissists also have unhealthy relationships with sex and treat it as nothing more than a self-gratifying activity. After all, manipulation, control, and emotional abuse are their so-called trusty weapons that they hide behind in most circumstances, so why wouldn’t they call on them in the bedroom too? The bottom line is people with this personality disorder are used to getting what they want and will only ever put themselves and their pleasure first, which doesn’t bode well for a healthy sex life. Discover how they behave in the bedroom and what you should do if you are involved with one.

Can A Narcissist Become Obsessed With Someone?

Now, narcissists are known for demonstrating a worrying lack of empathy along with deviously manipulative traits, oh, and before I forget to mention it, HUGE egos too. Yes, that’s right, they love spending hours looking in the mirror and being told how fabulous they are. To put it in other words, people with this personality disorder are firmly in love with themselves, to the point of being totally obsessed with their so-called perfection, but the question is, can they put their self-admiration aside enough to become preoccupied with someone else?

Wengood's favorite tunes 🎵

How to detect a narcissist


"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." 

- Oscar Wilde


How to soothe an anxiety attack