Horror is something everyone will meet at several times in their lives. Maybe you will watch a cruel horror movie which presents unnatural and appalling creatures, or maybe you are going to read a horror fiction, which chills you to the bone. Or maybe you will meet the horrors in real life – losing a loved one, perhaps. Horror does not have to be something we read or watch in a movie, it is also about the things we cannot see. But even though we have horrors in real life, we watch or read something even worse on purpose. Why do we do that – and why do we need horror? Stephen King discusses this exact thought in the essay Stephen King’s American Nightmare – An introduction.
King works entirely with the readers emotion to remind us that horror is not only movies and books. Horror is real, and we need to cope with it in some way – and this could be with fictional horror. If you fear anything, an out-letting of these emotions might be needed: ‘’The dream of horror is in itself an out-letting and a lancing…’’ (P. 2 l. 1-2), because if you feel bad about your appearance or you feel cruel, watching a horror movie might make you feel better when you see something that is much more worse than yourself. But then again, some might say this could make it worse. King wants to prove something else; we are told by our parents or friends to keep ourselves away from horror movies, because fear splits us from the crowd – but those who do keep themselves away from horror movies, do they feel any better? Our fear is our own and we might know how to deal with it: ‘’The answer seems to be that we make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones’’ which is one of the reasons King believes that we need horror.