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What I remember at the time was that I kept going back to that book and trying to read another of the stories. As I look back, I realise I was challenging myself: literally ‘facing my fears’.
Over the years, I realise that much of my ‘enjoyment’ of horror stories – whether that’s horror books or movies – was for that reason. But as I matured and became less easily scared, I found that I enjoyed ‘testing’ myself against the experience. Reading or watching to see whether it scared me. Using horror almost as a ‘canary down the mine’ (although the mine would be the horror and me the canary). Searching to discover what scares me now! Not much does, admittedly – although the daily news does a good job!
But the search for my own, perhaps undiscovered, fears, is a part of the role of horror stories, for me. Like an exercise in self-therapy and self-discovery. I wonder how many other people share this approach?
Whatever your reason for enjoying (can we describe it as ‘enjoyment’?) horror fiction, there is plenty to choose from. And some absolute masters of the written word are responsible for some of the very best. We cannot mention horror without mentioning Stephen King, of course, but the list of writers is long, varied, and full of household names.
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