T O P

Why do people WANT to read disturbing plots?

Why do people WANT to read disturbing plots?

Ingethel

I guess the appeal of disturbing horror is similar to riding a rollercoaster. You get to experience terrifying and heart racing moments without any physical danger. Life’s a journey bro, you need to experience as much as you can as safely and appropriately as you can 👍🏻


Metaforeman

That was my working theory too. I started with the notion that dreams serve a purpose (evolutionarily speaking) to safely educate based on real experiences and that nightmares are the flip-side of that—an environment to simulate messed up scenarios, safely. Thing is, I know people who have had hellish lives who still exclusively read horror and disturbing fiction. I guess the moral of the story here is: humans are hella complicated and there’s no single reason.


kdubs

there's something interesting in the macabre, idk. just trying to grow my brain and reading about something i'll (most likely) never experience or truly understand seems like a decent idea.


Metaforeman

Good aim, growing your brain. I can get behind that. Wish *more* people would do that. Hah.


Schezzi

I think there's an element of the taboo to it. It can feel to some like an outrageous or rebellious act to consume confronting entertainment (particularly when having sheltered sedate lives whereupon such content is not going to be triggering or personally traumatic). Moreover, that's tempered with the comfortable knowledge no one is actually being hurt by this act of rebellion or the satisfying of morbid fascination, plus the reassurance that this is packaged as entertainment and is therefore distanced from reality.


Metaforeman

So I suppose it could be considered a product of living in a safe and civilised society. Or at least, that’s part of it. Makes sense.


Smokelodile

Curiosity usually. It's the same as when passing an accident driving down the road. One knows one shouldn't stare and part of one doesn't want to, but there's also that part that just needs to know. Which is why crowds gather at these things.


Metaforeman

Humans, man. I guess it’s a deeply embedded instinctual fascination. Can’t say I haven’t slowed to see an accident before, as shameful as that is to admit.


Smokelodile

I think it comes with being a naturally social species, it's the same when something good happens to someone, even when you don't know them you want to congratulate them and see it.


Metaforeman

Well then, this was surprisingly enlightening. Thank you, good sir. Never thought about the opposite end of the spectrum and our fascination with that. Watching someone react to winning the lottery is a good example of that I guess.


geomagus

I like horror well enough, but *disturbing* isn’t something I seek out. As to why people do: A good book should make us think, or make us feel, or both. Horror as a genre is often designed to make the reader/viewer feel (fear, disgust, revulsion, etc., and maybe relief at the end). For some people, feeling anything can be better than feeling nothing - the banality of modern life is draining, after all. For others, that fear contrasts with (and thus accentuates) what they experience day to day. Beyond that, I couldn’t say.


tangential_quip

So I don't consider myself someone who looks for disturbing plot but I have probably read too much James Ellroy and Cormac McCarthy to argue against it. The only answer I have is that there are great authors who, even though they delve into the disturbing, are great at their art. And, as a reader, I try to appreciate that art even if the story might be disturbing. I just don't reread those books.


Metaforeman

Well put, I appreciate that and relate to it. I read Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet with expectation of just a historical fiction and not much else. It’s kind of a bummer to read, but it’s very well written. Enjoyed it, would even recommend it, though I’d never read it again. Heh.


whoisyourwormguy_

There's people whose favorite tv show is Law and Order SVU, so at some level they want to watch sexual crimes vs some other law show. Probably just the excitement/adrenaline/storylines in the shows, idk. Maybe they can be happy when the people are caught and feel relief that the world is better without actively following real sex crime news. Lots of people like watching serial killer shows too, maybe the iceberg idea of the mind is true with our unconscious wanting to watch these.


qwertash1

Large part of the human experience why not perhaps the larger part


contrarian1970

Randomness...I believe that's what it all boils down to. If the plot is not obligated to follow any sort of formula and something disturbing can happen at any time then the book, movie, or television show can be more interesting. It's important that the disturbing moments are not the entire point though and every other plot point was written around them as filler. I had a friend tell me that Game of Thrones was a great show simply because any character could die at any time. No. I'm sorry. That's not enough for me. Artificially unhappy endings can be just as boring and cliche as artificially happy endings are.


kaize_n

I like reading disturbing fiction to desensitize myself for a more disturbing nonfiction lol. But seriously, reading disturbing stuff helps me understand more why some people/things are just downright messed up. Kinda makes me appreciate life more i guess


Metaforeman

The more I think about it, the more I think I get what you mean. I used to watch Liveleak videos a long time ago back when almost anything was posted. Witnessed people doing some pretty messed up stuff to others and it definitely gave me an appreciation for my life and the society I live in.


Saramagian

Curiosity. We know something bad would happen in the end, but ironically we want to know the mystery behind all those horrors at same time. Sometimes the curiosity prevails the horror despite all those warnings and instincts, as Pandora opened her jar in the end.


Metaforeman

Curiosity is, curiously, something I hadn’t considered. I mean, outside of a general morbid curiosity. I suppose many disturbing plots serve to deepen the wider plot, now that I think about it. Thanks!


big420xdxdxdx

Something that makes you go NO WAYYY OR EWWW shock value is fun it makes you high when you read


Metaforeman

I guess that’s a pretty visceral thing, I had the same sort of fascination with the movie Hostel when I was a teen. A sort of “I hate what is happening, but I can’t stop watching” kind of thing. I actually understand that. Thanks!


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Metaforeman

Relatable. I was in love with Game of Thrones and had a morbid fascination with that Ramsey Bolton character, though I always put that down as a desire to watch him be killed because he deserved it.


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Metaforeman

Yeah, he was (as people from my hometown of Belfast would say) “a wee dick”. Heh heh. We prided ourselves on having many scenes for the GoT TV series shot here, right up until the last season. No one has mentioned it since, *strangely*.—That sort of thing always happens to Belfast, same thing happened with the DeLorean car from Back to the Future that was made here and then discontinued after people realised it was badly designed. Anyway, I get what you mean, they served the plot just as much as they served to elicit mild horror and tension.


ClarkDungaree

Cause it rules


champdo

I guess it depends on what you view as disturbing. The most disturbing book I ever read was called An Evil Mind and I had no idea how gruesome it would be until I started reading it. It was gripping even with the gross shit. Other books It seems like I have more mileage than most people. I’ve seen people talk about how disturbing Pet Semetary was but it wasn’t too bad to me.


GrudaAplam

Who wants to read disturbing plots? I want to read disturbing scenes.


boywithapplesauce

People used to go to freakshows. Feelings of shock, horror, disgust, discomfort and discombobulation can provide a thrill to some people. It's like a child's fascination with monsters. There's also a love of challenge. Some folks are comfort readers. They want to soak in the formulaic and the expected. Some people want to be challenged. They find it stimulating. This may be an intellectual challenge, or a challenge that confronts them with unsettling images and ideas. Ordinary things put them to sleep, so they crave the unexpected -- the transgressive. It's an ordeal, perhaps, but overcoming it is its own reward. It's not dissimilar to the arduous ordeal of climbing a mountain, and exulting at the summit.


CliffExcellent123

Because it's a way to help you think about process those harsher emotions in a way that's safe. Fear and disgust and anxiety are important emotions too, I don't just want to explore the happier feelings