The Virtue of Horror Films

In “The Immorality of Horror Films” (International Journal of Applied Philosophy 20:2 [2006], 278), Gianluca Di Muzio argues that it is immoral to produce, distribute, or watch so-called “slasher” or “gorefest” films. Though I am sympathetic, I don’t believe that his arguments warrant his conclusion. In this paper, I will respond to Di Muzio. In particular, I will focus on what I take to be his core argument, which is based on the idea that these films discourage morally appropriate reactions to human suffering. Then I will examine two objections to Di Muzio’s position which he himself raises and dismisses, and I will argue that Di Muzio does not adequately refute either of the objections. Finally, I will conclude with some sympathetic remarks, and briefly consider what avenues we might pursue in order to argue for the immorality of at least some horror films
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