Fear is the Key

Haunted houses are split down the middle with todays society. People either love them or hate them. But whether it is love or hate, it stems from the same reason, which is fear. On the one hand, people hate being scared because life is scary. It is unpredictable, unethical, and downright brutal at times. Haunted houses bank on societal fears of many generations. Whether it be a monster or just a grisly murder. A combination of the two makes for a tongue-in-cheek entertainment, the kind you only see in film or television. I highly doubt there is a long-haired, ugly little child ghost or demon in a night gown decapitating innocent people. But there are awful things in world like innocent people being hurt or worse, killed. Creativity and imagination is key.

And that is where the fun comes in, which is what people who love this kind of attraction bank on when they show up. Ghosts and monsters are figments or exaggerations of people’s worst fears. They always represent something society or an individual is afraid of, whether it be normal or just weird and unique. One person could be afraid of the inevitable pace of death slowly making its way to them, not being able to be reasoned with, bargained with, or talked down. No matter what you do to dodge it or knock it down, it always gets back up to hunt you down and finish you off when it wants, hence what Michael Myers became in the Halloween films. A slow albeit unstoppable and deadly force that just doesn’t quit. This is imagination, a killer who cannot die, who will stop at nothing to harm you. Haunted house attractions live for this fear that grow in the hearts of humans.

Some people can cope with it better than others. Those people normally are the ones who flock to haunted houses. Because to be scared is fun, especially when you think it looks real. The more realistic and thought-provoking, the scarier. A customer can enter a haunted house and know that people will jump out and scare them, and to let their imagination run wild, they will start believing there are creatures out to get them. But there is always that one shred of logic they hold onto, which is they are just in a theme park attraction and they are in more control than they think.

That smidge of self-awareness is what allows them to have the fun they want and deserve. It also allows them, to a degree, to face their fears they have worked up in their own minds. Haunted houses are not supposed to technically “help” people, but they are useful to finding yourself, especially if fear is something that grips you at times. And if you are human, then that should be common.