Horror stories and films have a way of preparing us to deal with actual threats (PDF), whether they be from man or monster… at least that’s one possible explanation for their enduring appeal.
One suggestion is that, like play, it allows us to rehearse possible threatening scenarios from a position of relative safety. “Movie monsters provide us with the opportunity to see and learn strategies of coping with real-life monsters should we run into them, despite all probabilities to the contrary,” says Fischoff. “A sort of covert rehearsal for… who knows what.” Despite its fantastical elements, Clasen explains that successful horror fiction is usually realistic in its portrayals of human psychology and relationships. “That’s where horror matters,” Clasen says; “that’s where horror can teach us something truly valuable.”