Why Does Horror Turn Us On?

ONE MONTH COUNTDOWN!! September 17th ya'all will see all of me, face and all nowadays--on the blog on my birthday!

You knew I’d have to ask this some day. We’re all horror fans, but why does it kind of…turn us on? Is it because we’re in the dark watching it, clutching the person next to us? Is it because we’re seeing something we shouldn’t be seeing, like walking in on mom and dad’s sex? Is it the creepy music and the dark scenes that made us think of making out? Maybe it’s the sexual symbolism, like a knife stabbing into flesh?

I review my own experiences with sex and horror by recalling the first time I was titillated by a horror movie. I was probably 8 or 9 when I saw on TV a movie called “The Shuttered Room” with Oliver Reed. I had a huge crush on him. Can’t say why the hell I did. For a young kid, I wasn’t into those baby faced Cassidy boys or the like. I was into Kirk Douglas and older, weathered, hardened men. Well, that’s for another post.

The movie involved this unsavory character played by Oliver Reed stalking the pretty woman who had come to the New England island to claim her inherited estate. There were some cat and mouse sexually tense scenes mixed in with the lightweight horror and suddenly this scenario of stalking and predator and prey had me hooked on horror and relating it to the process of procuring sex.

Later, it was the movie “Legend of Hell House” that got me really excited. The concept of a psychic medium parting her thighs and offering her body up to a ghost to satisfy his human needs so he can rest in the afterlife added a new dimension to interacting with the paranormal.

The slashers of the late 70s/early 80s like “Halloween” and “Friday the 13th” quickly equated sex with dying. Well, aren’t climaxes happily referred to as the “little death”? Cautionary tales aside, it seemed like having sex involved being so oblivious to the dude with the knife behind you that it put the killer in a kinky voyeur point of view and, once again, titillating.

I’ve said it before and it’s true; horror and sex—they’re both all about the climax. There’s something primitive and similar between the anticipation and breathlessness of being stalked and sexual encounters. You never quite know what the killer might do, or your lover. It could be fast and hard or slow and tormenting. You could be pleading and you could be screaming.

Hey, you wanted to read this post, I’m giving it to you!

It dawned on me how much I had subconsciously been aroused by horror when I began to get a mysterious 6’2” tall Michael Myers at my door each Halloween for years. He carried a pillowcase and the most authentic and worn costume possible. He was really and truly Michael. He was not a trick-or-treater. He was someone who seemed to either target my house or got turned on by scaring people. His pillowcase was empty when I put candy in it and since I live midway down the street, it seemed a strange place to start his trek. The thing is, he never said a word, just tilted his head, his huge knife gripped in his hand at his side. His size, his speechlessness, his tilted head and shining knife somehow make me giddy. I fantasized long after he’s gone about him stalking me down the street with the mask and the knife and only the sound of his heavy breathing….

So, what was the first horror movie that kind of turned you on? Come on, you know you have one....


  1. Vamp from the 80's ,and Night of The Demons,and I don't know why ?
    Okay, I know why .

  2. Love your theory on climax and dying. Also impressed that you used the word – titillated.

  3. Max; I agree Night of the Demons--if I were a dude, that would do it.

    Hey, titillated is seriously perfect for this post.

  4. Well, let me see... OK. The horror sequence most notable to me for sheer erotic/creep factor is the female werewolf transformation scene near the end of Trick 'r Treat (2009). It's one of my all time favorite horror/Halloween flicks, and the scene is equal parts grotesque and arousing. Yikes!

  5. HalloweeNut;
    Oh, I agree--that was really erotic. Good choice!

  6. I still love the Friday the 13th series, especially numbers 4, 2 and 3 as they had great naked bodies. I loved the skinny dipping scene in number 4; there is just something sexy about skinny dipping in the woods at night that excites me.

    Of course there is also the lascivious ladies in Trick 'r Treat that got a rise out of me. Anna Paquin as Little Red Riding Hood is not a bad thing.

    Great post! Thanks for "brightening" my Tuesday. Of course this is going to make it much more difficult to concentrate.

  7. M;
    Yes, you might not want to read these sorts of posts at work. You may not be able to leave your desk.

  8. Ha! That's like putting a plate of doughnuts in front of a kid and telling him he can look, but can't touch or eat any. If I see a post like that, then I've got to dive in!

    Besides...I need some thrills in my life.

  9. M;
    You might enjoy this one then--if you dare.

  10. The original Halloween. Teens babysitting exc.. The first Friday the 13th also. I was fairly young when I saw these. I have an award for you swing by and see me!

  11. Becca;
    I think we all cut our sexual teeth on those late 70s slashers, huh?

  12. Hannibal movie. When Lecter eats Krendler's brain. This is turn on for me.

  13. Echo;
    I have to admit that I've seen a freaking lot of horror movies and the most twisted things imagineable and yet that one scene so upsets me I can't even think about it. I don't know what it is, but it's so surreal and so grotesque. Ewwww


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