First in order to be able to understand how horror movies affect a human being we have to go back to where the first traces of horror originated. Thousands of years ago, with our hunter gatherer ancestors. Of course they didn’t have specific entertainment designed to enlist fear into them. They instead had the fight for their lives from much bigger predators attempting to feast on them. The nature to be afraid has no historical or cultural background. It is simply human nature and awareness.
As early humans hunted and foraged for food they had to constantly watch out in order to spot that they in turn were not being stalked. We as humans were designed to be afraid in order not to die but not just of anything, animals (Jarrett). In horror films or any story think, who is the protagonist? It is not guns or knives or any type of technology. It is us, animals for the most part. Ones brain does not see a gun as such a dangerous threat.
“The right amygdala, a brain region involved in fear learning, responds more vigorously to the sight of animals than to other pictures such as of people, landmarks or objects (Jarrett). The reason is because the threat that comes from being attacked and eaten by animals has been imprinted on our brain as of thousands of years ago and there is proof. In the article Jarret mentions research done by Nobuo Masataka, where young children looking at a computer screen were able to spot a snake ready to strike faster than the colorful flowers in a field. This is why characters like Freddie Krueger, Leatherface and any other movies about eating humans is so successful. They press the right cognitive switch and expose an old primal instinct.