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Why We Like Being Scared

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posted on Jul, 24 2013 @ 01:21 AM

Why We Like Being Scared

So I just came back from a movie with my 22 year old brother. We watched "The Conjuring".

Now, hilariously enough, this movie terrified him.

The conjuring is about a real life husband-wife pair of "paranormal investigators" who trail the country investigating paranormal phenomena. This movie is about a particular family whom the warrens claim was their most extreme case (it happened in 1973). I'll spare you the details.

Fact is, the people responsible for this production are scare scientists. How many people in the crowd are aware of this? How many people consider that their nerves are being whet like pavlov's dogs?

Anyways, after the movie was done, my brother was quiet. I asked him "It was a good movie eh? scary" and he was like " was ok", with an obviously disturbed look on his face.

On the way home, I keep cracking jokes, exaggerating sounds, or I would just randomly scream at the top of my lungs - I was feeling this titillation from the movie - while he gets angry and I laugh my ass off. When we actually got back to the house, he said "why is the light in the garage on?". I laughed to myself thinking "his nerves have been pricked and conditioned at least 40 times during that movie. Now everywhere he looks somethings seems to be awry". I said "the light was on when we left" - It actually was. I took a mental note of it when we left for the movie. But, he insisted, in his irrational reverie "no, it was off, I took a mental note of it". Funny how the mind can delude us, I think to myself.

When we get home, I sit him down, and I try to explain to this grown man why what he is experiencing is not only irrational and ridiculous, but scientifically engineered.

The movie is set in the 1970's - a particular amenable effect for a scary movie, as some of the best scary movies - exorcist, amityville horror, entity - were made in the 1970s; So, I said, this provided a powerful effect. Next, from the very beginning, they kept hitting the audience with scary scenes with small minute intervals in between. By the very end, I kid you not, I must have been startled 30-40 times. This of course requires that you have a play along attitude; even if you're a skeptic, having a good scare can be fun.

Having loud scary sounds come at you while the scene in front of you builds up towards an anxious moment - you can't help but be moved to the edge of your nerves in anticipation....
..Finally, your startled. It was a fun build up. But another part of you, despite the irrationality of it all, was a bit scared.

This movie was created by a big hollywood firm. Yet, the movies main leitmotif is Christian theological beliefs. Despite the inanity of this position, the audience is baited to play along, to take seriously whats being said. God, demons, possession, exorcism, talismans, astral bodies and vessels; the producers expect that you waive your right to wonder whether these things actually exist; at the moment, they do.

By the end of the movie, a quote pops up at the top of the screen from the real Ed Warren. I can't remember it verbatim, but the gist was: God is real, demons are real; the fairy tale is real. But it all comes from a more or less staunchly Christian perspective. As the end comes, the pictures of the investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren and the Perron family (the family being haunted) pop up on the screen. The final effect to make what you just saw feel more real.

After explaining this to my brother, he somewhat calmed down and understood the rationality of what I was saying. Still, he wanted me to wake him up from off the couch when I plan on going upstairs. He's still scared

People like being scared. There is something about it that just makes life more interesting. Most of the time, we unconsciously succumb to the urge because of the excitement and drama it'll elicit. We get carried away and lose awareness of the dull banal facts.

I'm not saying "hauntings" don't exist. They may well exist. But that is an altogether different question which should involve philosophical, theological and scientific considerations. It's a "loaded" question that should not be simplistically accepted on the facts by themselves. Questions like: what is the nature of reality? what does it mean? are implied. If demons exist - are they as powerful as depicted in movies like this, or the exorcist etc? Is that plausible? And running down this train of thought, you will probably come to the conclusion: Love is the basis of everything. I cannot see any demon possessing such strength over love. The universe expands; life flourishes. The world is full of infinite goodness.

But such thinking doesn't enter the minds of the mobs of people who see movies like this. As they leave, they discuss how scary it was - but in an upbeat fun sort of way. Tonight, they'll probably have difficulty sleeping. But in two days, they'll forget all about it.

posted on Jul, 24 2013 @ 01:58 AM
reply to post by Astrocyte

Sounds like you were picking on your brother, eh??

That's what I call a 'brat-head' -- I call my husband that all the time.

It is fun to watch a good scary movie.
Not so much gross scary but suspenseful scary.

We saw the previews for the movie, they looked pretty good.
So overall, did the movie hold up to expectations?
We may go see it......

posted on Jul, 24 2013 @ 02:01 AM
Thanks for the review, I was wondering about the "gist" of it.

Yes, go to the movies, wallow in fear... get scared by fantasy and illusion. It will keep your mind turned away from the real acts of inhumanity in the world.

posted on Jul, 24 2013 @ 02:05 AM

Originally posted by Astrocyte
People like being scared. There is something about it that just makes life more interesting. Most of the time, we unconsciously succumb to the urge because of the excitement and drama it'll elicit.

Of course. It's the same reason people go on roller coasters to scream with other people. It's a fun group experience.

I think something in this movie was particularly disturbing to your brother. We all have our weak spots when it comes to fear. Even the most rational, grounded people are afraid of something.

I think most of us live such comfortable, care-free lives that we rarely encounter true, primal, mortal danger--something our earliest ancestors probably knew all too well.

In modern times, I think fear is just a good way to shake us up and give our nerves a change of pace. People go out of their way to experience fear a lot of the time: going to cemeteries on Halloween night, sharing ghost stories around a campfire etc.

It gets the adrenaline and endorphins pumpin'. Sharing a scary experience is a good bonding ritual as well
Did you ever take a date to a scary movie? Now you know why!

edit on 24-7-2013 by NarcolepticBuddha because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 24 2013 @ 02:10 AM
Judging that the trailer made me jump, I can see why your brother was on edge, but as you say its all part of the ruse to make it more immersive for the audience.

I think the reason why we enjoy being scarred though is because of the modern world. We don't have to contend with Sabre-toothed Tigers anymore, and we don't fear forest spirits in the night. Humans have been so successful that other than each other, there really isn't anything that is a significant danger to us anymore, yet our biology still has those 'fight or flight' reflexes hardwired.

Maybe fear is something beneficial, something our brain craves to let our conscious-self know that we are still fighting for survival, even if usually that instinct is on stand-by.

(And I've ended up saying pretty much exactly what NarcolepticBuddha said at the same time lol)
edit on 24/7/2013 by Wyrdnews because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 28 2013 @ 12:26 AM
Yep... I like the movies that make me jump too...typically these days it involves a scene that takes me by surprise all of a sudden and I will jump about a mile out of my seat for a second. But then the moment passes and I giggle and its over... and then I want it to happen again.

I guess its a thrill for the moment... and surviving it perhaps.. the exhilaration that comes from that ?

With that said... the Horror movies don't terrify or scare me to my core. I don't leave and sit in a corner trembling over them.. I do ponder about the content of them. I can't remember the last movie or event that scared me in such a fashion.

I still do love em... though.


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