“Horror Movies are Cheating”

The title of this post came from a recent conversation with a friend and it helps to reflect upon a certain state of our culture. It will become apparent to any long reader of this blog that I have several major themes which all but overwhelm my other thought, particularly person, vocation, and marriage. By talking on the last I must talk about sex, because the current problem with marriage is a problem with sex.

But for horror movies: a non-scientific observation of mine is that those who go to horror movies do so with an intent that differs from the intent scholars see in the film. It has been more or less accepted position that teen horror films are, in same way, sexual morality plays, with the promiscuous members dying off and the survivor (traditionally the “Final Girl”, though this has been lately disputed) is more or less chaste.

But when men (particularly) see horror films with their girlfriends they do not absorb the ‘anti-sex’ morality the theoretician see. There are two sexual things a horror film does: first, as the girl is startled or frightened, the guy is given an opportunity to place his arm around her. Second, and the subject of this post, being frightened by a horror film releases endorphin, just as sexual excitement does. By taking a girl to a horror film a guy can, to one degree or another, short-circuit the beginning of a specific sexual encounter (the horror film won’t break the chaste girl but primes latent sexual intent).

It was in response to this idea that it was said that “Horror movies are cheating,” making it easier for a guy to get what he wants without satisfying the other. It is not simply horror films, but our culture at large that engages in this concept. The problem grows from the fact that modern culture has largely divorced sex from person. We engage in what is needed for sex, rather than considering sex as it properly is, belonging to man, body and soul. More on this whole thing later.

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