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Abstract

Why does the horror genre serve as a source of pleasure, given its aim to induce fear in the audience? I examine two general solutions to this phenomenon, referred to as the paradox of horror, which differ based upon their position regarding the possibility of deriving pleasure from fear. Each of the possible solutions contains significant flaws. I argue that, by adjusting a meta-theory originally proposed by Susan Feagin, it is possible to craft a solution that addresses the paradox while preserving the idea that, at times, fear can be enjoyed. The article concludes by considering the moral status of macabre fascination, which is often subject to recrimination. Given that such fascination is a driving force behind the willingness to engage with horror, does it follow that these works ought to be viewed as morally problematic? Drawing upon the concept of a moral saint, I argue the lack of macabre fascination is problematic. Exercising this fascination is beneficial to the development of character traits. Thus such indulgences are, within reason, morally acceptable.

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