The Plugged In Show, Episode 48: Horror Movies: The Genre That Just Won’t Die

It’s almost Halloween. And as sure as jack-o’-lanterns emerge, leaves and temperatures fall and children daydream about bags of free candy, so Hollywood reliably unleashes another battalion of horror movies every autumn.

You might think that in a year with as much real-life horror as 2020, audiences’ appetites for the theatrical variety might be dulled. But a quick glance at the movies released this month suggests otherwise. Indeed, it suggests that this frightening, blood-drenched and often spiritually dark genre seems as immune to a global plague as phalanx of hungry zombies.  

The question is, why? What’s the appeal of these films, especially during scary seasons in real life? Wouldn’t most folks rather watch, well, almost anything else?  Are there any positive things we can take away from this spooky genre? Or is it a movie category that’s simply beyond redemption, good for nothing other than being avoided?

We’re batting around those questions on The Plugged In Show podcast this week, “Episode 48: Horror Movies: The Genre That Just Won’t Die.” Below you’ll find links to some of the things we talked about in this episode to, ahem, flesh out your understanding of these movies. And if you haven’t yet carved out half an hour or so to listen to our team’s conversations each week, we’d invite you to glance through almost a year’s worth of our podcasts to find a title that piques you interest.

Adam R. Holz

After serving as an associate editor at NavPress’ Discipleship Journal and consulting editor for Current Thoughts and Trends, Adam now oversees the editing and publishing of Plugged In’s reviews as the site’s director. He and his wife, Jennifer, have three children. In their free time, the Holzes enjoy playing games, a variety of musical instruments, swimming and … watching movies.

6 Responses

  1. – I think part of the reason horror movies are so popular is that they tend to be very, very low budget. Peter Jackson made a bunch of these for at most a few million dollars (usually much less than that — some people here could probably afford the production costs for some of his films if they’ve saved up for a house or a nice car) before he did the live-action versions of The Lord of the Rings, and I think we’re also going to see more socially-conscious horror movies since Get Out and this year’s version of The Invisible Man did so well.

  2. – I know plenty of people that don’t like horror movies. I generally DO like horror movies, but I’ve become rather picky in my old age. Since I don’t really believe in supernatural ANYTHING, it has to be a really well-constructed horror movie that makes me suspend that disbelief. Take Robert Eggers’ “The Witch,” for example. The movie takes all that old folklore about witches and makes it real and deeply disturbing, especially rendered as it was in an accurately depicted colonial America. You can’t set a movie like that in modern times; no one would buy it.

    A lot of people like that adrenaline rush that a good scary movie can produce. After an adrenaline rush people can feel happy and relaxed, so being in a cinema and experiencing a scary movie is like simulating dealing with a real life threat in fake circumstances and also then simulating the reward felt after that experience. If anything, it’s just a safe form of escapism.

    1. -Yes, The Witch was terrific. Any director can gross you out or make you jump, but creating a foreboding atmosphere like that takes real skill.

    2. -I particularly enjoy suspense! I have a hard time finding horror/thrillers that I can enjoy because I personally have an aversion to some of the content (like gore, etc.) that comes along with it, just makes me uncomfortable particularly with my religious beliefs (I believe that we are sinners who deserve Hell but that Jesus died to pay for our sin, and rose again, and that His salvation and freedom from sin is applied to anyone who puts their trust in Him alone as the way to know God). Not saying all Christians have the same opinions about horror movies, just my own personal convictions.

      But I do see the appeal of horror/thrillers and look forward to A Quiet Place 2!

  3. – I love the Friday the 13th movies and most Stephen King adaptations as well as most of the Halloween movies and some also rans like Dr. Giggles, some of the Chucky ones and the very first nightmare on elm street, but some horror movies are just terrible like the scream, saw, and scary movie movies.

  4. – I had a wonderful Halloween birthday this year which included me getting some horror themed presents like two of Tyler Perry’s very best movies on DVD boo and boo 2. Also Stephen King’s creepshow comic book, Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet on DVD, Johnny Cash’s number ones 2012 compilation and Mitch Albom’s have a little faith in hardcover.