Why do we love Horror movies? What is it about them we find so consistently fascinating? Is it the childlike thrill of the dark? A secret love for things that jump out and go "Boo!"? Or is it something deeper - a catharsis, say, a way of facing our fears head on, only to emerge, two hours later with a silly grin on our faces, into the light? The fact is, most of us like to be scared on one level or another. It's the adrenaline you feel, that thumping in your chest when you're forced to step outside your comfort zone. This is true whether you're jumping from a plane, climbing a rock face, or riding a roller coaster - you get addicted to it, like a drug. Horror films affect us in much the same way.
Even so, Horror movies tend to illicit different reactions from the people watching them. It's hard to feel threatened by Dracula, for instance, if you don't find vampires particularly frightful or menacing. The shark scenes in Jaws may turn your basic aquaphobe to a quivering mess on the floor, but the effect will be decidedly different for anyone who's spent a great deal of time out on the ocean. From the silent Expressionist films of the 20s (The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, Nosferatu) to Universal's classic monsters of the 30s and 40s (Frankenstein, The Wolf Man) to the slasher flicks of the 70s and 80s (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Halloween and their countless clones) and finally to the J-Horror and "torture porn" films of the Noughties (Ju-On: The Grudge, Hostel), the genre has been fractured and splintered into so many subcategories that there's practically something for everyone. The question becomes: What kind of Horror fiend are you?