The Power of Horror Is Best Explained by Stephen King in This Interesting Clip From Eli Roth's History of Horror

Scream, one of the most influential horror films of the ‘90s.
Image: Dimension Films

Why do we like horror, anyway? Stephen King knows better than most.

In Eli Roth’s History of Horror, set to premiere tonight on AMC, is designed to explore why horror works and what the best stories in the genre are, from the perspective of Roth and a number of storied horror creators.


In this clip, via Entertainment Weekly, Roth talks with Stephen King about what, exactly, makes horror work for us, what power it holds and why we so frequently engage, recreationally, in stuff that is so counter to what we want in the rest of our lives.

“There are a number of pictures like the Friday the 13th movies, the Freddy movies, where you’re able to actually take your deepest, most anti-social impulses for a walk,” King says. It’s an interesting perpective, and one that he’s voiced before—that fear and violence are natural parts of the human experience, and certain types of entertainment can help us channel them and feel them in a safe way.

It’s an explanation I largely am sympathetic with. How about you? Why do you think we watch and read and play horror stories like King’s? What do they do for you?


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Julie Muncy

io9 Weekend Editor. Videogame writer at other places. Queer nerd girl.