floatingdino asked: Kris, I'm personally not a big fan of the horror genre (even though I enjoy Broodhollow) can you explain what makes it appealing? Is it enjoyable to be scared?
our species’ ability to master its environment evolved beyond our species’ ability to accept that, and so we are still afraid. when we lived in caves, we knew to be afraid of the dark woods because a very real and dangerous animal might live there. now we don’t live in the cave anymore, and everything around us is man-made. but the instinct to be afraid is still here, so we just move the source to be the closet or the crawlspace.
it is very human to enjoy being scared. rather it is very human to enjoy being scared in safety. when some weirdo on the bus menaces you as a kid, saying “i’m going to get you,” you freak out. unsafe! but when your dad does it, and you know he’s only going to tickle you, you laugh. why? it’s the same threat. if that weirdo tickled you, you’d still hate it. because a threat from a trusted person is safe play. this must be why animals play-fight, too. a good way to ready ourselves for actual danger is to evolve to think “safe danger” is fun.
i think comedy has the same roots. we are presented with something absurd and asked to make sense of it, and our response is not to panic but to enjoy it.
I sat in on a lecture once claiming that comedy has roots in the fight-or-flight response in people. As in, a lot of the feeling we associate with being entertained by comedy is a result of the adrenaline rush you get when you expect something to happen but something completely different happens, and this kind of chemical happening has a lot to do with why people have a habit of laughing when they’re uncomfortable or surprised, because it’s a mechanism the body uses to diffuse that energy it isn’t spending fighting or running away.
I dunno how true it is given I heard from an animator rather than a biologist, but it makes a lot of sense if you apply it to those same ideas of “safe danger” in horror entertainment.