The question “why horror?” has been answered again and again. Studies have shown that, for willing participants, the voluntary release of fear is a healthy thing. What I have to say will not apply to everyone, then, because not everyone wants to be frightened. Many of us have recently been frightened, in a new, giant, eclipsing way. Those of us who love horror, then, have a greater need for it now.
For centuries, horror has been used as a spurning, inspiring emotion in art. Euripides
uses terrifying imagery and events in two landmark works: the Oresteia, an examination of how a democratic justice system can conquer chaos, and The Bacchae
, a bleakly violent warning to Athens as it approached catastrophic war. Far before such issues were accepted in public discussions, Oscar Wilde
wrote of the fear of sexual aberrance in The Picture of Dorian Gray
. Upton Sinclair
’s The Jungle