The other night, I had the pleasure of stumbling upon a documentary by filmmakers Nicolas Kleiman and Rob Lindsay called Why Horror?. The film follows horror fan and father, Tal Zimerman as he explores various forms of horror entertainment in a search to discover why society is secretly fascinated by the macabre.
In his quest, Zimerman travels the globe to understand how horror and fear come into play in many cultural traditions. He visits Mexico to celebrate Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead where families gather to pay respect to those who have passed away. In Japan, he finds a club filled with horror fans, gathering to celebrate and discuss their shared interests. Showcasing a global attraction to horrific subjects, we discover that horror and emotions connected to it are deeply rooted in our human nature.
The film features interviews from leading creators and influencers in the genre as well. Filmmakers like Eli Roth, John Carpenter, and George A. Romero provide insight into why they feel horror cinema is so cerebral and emotionally appealing. Particularly enjoyable is an animated segment briefing the viewer on the history of horror films. Narrated by horror star and supporter Elijah Wood, this segment gives a thorough and enjoyable rundown of the peak achievements in horror filmmaking over the past century.
Zimerman also examines his personal relationship with horror. His family recounts stories of Zimerman absorbed in the subject from an early age. He spent his childhood copying the special effects from the films he idolized. Now, with posters from the films he admires hanging from his walls, he raises his child to appreciate the horror genre as he does.
We pass along our passions and hobbies from generation to generation, and a love of horror is no exception. By appreciating the feelings and catharsis we experience from terrifying subjects, we recognize the important role horror entertainment plays in our lives. Understanding its value, we have the power to create a new attitude toward the subject. Loving horror is nothing to be ashamed of, but instead, something to celebrate.
Why horror? Why not?
You can watch Why Horror? on Showtime.
Do you feel horror plays an important role in your life? How do you think horror entertainment has influenced our culture?
Leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!
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