The Horror Picture alleviates pressure on society, supporting authoritarianism.

Cinema is a medium for the grinders of daily life; an escape from the mundane. The Horror genre is a necessity in society; it’s through the horror picture, where a social class member receives a humbling relief of exhilaration, followed by a sigh of gratitude, as they exit the theater. Horror films must never cease to exist as a result of the service it provides for humanity. To paint the picture, one must first examine the life of the working class.

Portrait of American actor Robert Englund as ‘Freddy Krueger’ of the ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ series of movies, circa 1989. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Let us relate to the momentum generated by the worker. The daily, weekly, monthly and annual nine to fiver is in a perpetual pursuit of adding another year on the books with sights set on a tenure, travelling in cruise-control; in the zone; the swing of things. Though what happens from 5PM on a Friday until 9AM on a Monday plays a degree of significance upon the employee’s psyche, the momentum generated from the days and years prior carries the weight with a tremendous force that causes the grinder to push through another incessant work week, regardless of any anti-authoritarian engagements over the weekend. With this energy, they arrive at year 5 of their j-o-b, where they’re content with a raise in compensation, and satisfied with their regular routine.

In the shower scene from the film Psycho, Marion Crane (played by Janet Leigh) screams in terror as Norman Bates tears open her shower curtain. (Photo by Bettmann via Getty Images)

It’s Friday night, somewhere amid year five. Said worker has had a hell of a week (for the worst). Chewed up, spat out, ridiculed, undermined, scoffed at, disrespected, harassed. But, it’s payday. Time for a release. Brews? Chicks? Not tonight. The worker is feeling unlike himself. The aforementioned activities could drain and deplete him into a depression spawned by indulgence. Plus, he’ll fail anyway; work-related stress has disgruntled him; it’s induced a fearless state of mind. A pseudo-personality has temporarily taken over in a mind that would be fearful under ordinary circumstances. He longs for an activity that exemplifies his inner torment. To the movies we go.

American actress Sissy Spacek lays waste to the Bates High School Senior Prom as the telekinetic protagonist of Brian De Palma’s horror film ‘Carrie’, 1976. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

IMAX, Dolby, popcorn; ICEES–the whole sha-bang at the multiplex. Snuggled in a leather recliner, primed and prepped for an exercise in voyeurism. The actors, naked on the screen, the viewer spying on them through a window of light in the comfort of the dark. In comes the eerie score over tantalizing opening credits invoking goosebumps on the werewolf arms and chest of the worker (now moviegoer) squinting at the silver-screen with anticipation of a scream, blood and terror. Relishing the torture and relinquishing guilt or remorse. Screw that customer who yelled, the boss who ridiculed, the co-worker who undermined, the manager who condescends, the client who swears and harasses, the security guard who clowns or mugs. It’s them up there on the screen now, getting eaten by a wolf, bit by a zombie, sucked by a vampire, haunted by a demon and slayed by a killer. Regardless of the sub-genre, the Horror picture provides a release for the working class citizen. It relieves his pain, and more importantly, it re-instills the fear that was lost from being overworked; the fear that would’ve otherwise remained stagnant, had the pursuit of their tenure unhindered any ounce of self-honesty; selling the soul to self-deception in exchange for a ticket to the corporate amusement park of salaries and commissions with bi-annual lavish vacations.

A poster for James Whale’s 1931 horror film ‘Frankenstein’ starring Boris Karloff. (Photo by Movie Poster Image Art/Getty Images)

The end credits roll after multiple rushes of adrenaline have burst through the moviegoers spirit. The soul is humbled, the heart opened; eyes wide, lips shut, ears to the ground as they walk out of the theater into the midnight. Throwing a look over their shoulder, alert; guard-up. No longer walking tall on Earth (the way they’d entered). The Horror picture has grounded them back to reality. They’re relieved; emotions purged. They’ve been stimulated, and prepared to re-enter society, while looking forward to returning to a job they don’t enjoy on Monday morning because they’ve been disciplined to respect authority, and the Horror film only assists this authoritarianism with a flare of panache and comicality.

written by ardalan pourvali

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