From Dracula to M3GAN, horror movies immerse us in a uniquely visceral experience that delivers a kind of adrenaline rush akin to riding a roller coaster. We enjoy these scary films because they allow us to delve into the dark side of the human psyche with the reassurance that no real harm will befall us. We may still find ourselves double-checking our locks at bedtime, but as director and screenwriter Wes Craven noted, “Horror films don’t create fear. They release it."
What distinguishes the best horror films is their ability to make us acutely aware of our own mortality and humanity while simultaneously playing on our sympathies. Regardless of the nature of the villain, be it human or supernatural, we forge a connection with the protagonists as they attempt to survive, escape, or retain their sanity.
Within a genre that features everything from zombies and extraterrestrials to malevolent spirits and serial killers, horror movies share a common thread of exploring humanity’s vulnerability and resilience, as well as the enduring flicker of hope we cling on to, no matter how dire our circumstances.
Here are eight hope-filled quotes from horror films that reflect the importance of preserving our humanity and holding on to the promise of a brighter future, even in our darkest hours.
Just so you know, I never felt like a loser when I was with all of you.Beverly Marsh (Sophia Lillis) in “It,” 2017
Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, It tells the story of a group of young outcasts from the fictional Derry, Maine, who confront an evil shape-shifting entity that takes the form of a terrifying clown named Pennywise. The kids must band together and face their deepest fears and traumas to overcome the malevolent force and protect their hometown.
Look, the boogeyman can only come out on Halloween, right? Well, I’m here; I’m not about to let anything happen to you.Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) in "Halloween," 1978
This classic horror film directed by John Carpenter follows the story of Michael Myers, who becomes a relentless killer after escaping from a mental health facility. In a terrifying game of cat-and-mouse, he returns to his hometown to terrorize babysitter Laurie Strode on Halloween night. Laurie, one of the original horror “final girls,” shows immense resilience and resourcefulness in her fight for survival.
We gotta stick together, Sam. We gotta stick together, bro.Michael Emerson (Jason Patric) in “The Lost Boys,” 1987
In this classic Joel Schumacher horror comedy, single mother Lucy Emerson moves her sons, Michael and Sam, to a small coastal town in California. The boys soon discover their town is inhabited by a gang of vampires whose leader is determined to bring Michael into their fold, and Sam enlists a pair of vampire hunters to save his brother.
You shouldn’t feel so responsible; you tried. You did something — that’s what counts.Liz (Kate Ashfield) in “Shaun of the Dead,” 2004
In this horror comedy written by and starring Simon Pegg, Shaun is a slacker who must fend off a zombie apocalypse while attempting to rescue his loved ones. The film pays homage to George A. Romero’s classic Night of the Living Dead zombie films while infusing the plot with plenty of British wit and humor.
I love you. I have always loved you.Lee Abbott (John Krasinski) in “A Quiet Place,” 2018
Evelyn and Lee Abbott and their children struggle to survive in a world overrun by alien creatures with an acute sense of hearing in this science fiction horror film. To avoid attracting the terrifying creatures, Evelyn and Lee must raise their children in total silence. This line, delivered in sign language, signifies the unconditional, sacrificial love of a parent for their child.
I think I can go now. Just needed to do a couple of things. I needed to help someone; I think I did. And I needed to tell you something: You were never second, ever. I love you.Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) in “The Sixth Sense,” 1999
This supernatural thriller, written and directed by master of the twist ending M. Night Shyamalan, tells the story of child psychologist Malcolm Crowe as he begins working with Cole Sear, a troubled young boy who claims to see and communicate with the dead. As Malcolm delves deeper into Cole’s world, he makes a shocking revelation about their connection.
I’m into survival.Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) in “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” 1984
A supernatural horror classic written and directed by Wes Craven, A Nightmare on Elm Street follows a group of teenagers who are terrorized in their sleep by Freddy Krueger, a sadistic child killer wearing razor-tipped gloves. Krueger’s violent actions in the teens’ nightmares are manifested in the real world, leading them into a desperate battle for survival against the malevolent entity.
You gotta enjoy the little things.Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) in “Zombieland,” 2009
Starring Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, and Emma Stone, this horror comedy follows the adventures of a ragtag group of survivors in a postapocalyptic world overrun by zombies. As they navigate their way across the United States, they form unlikely bonds and use creative strategies to not only stay alive but also enjoy their lives along the way.
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