From a Biblical standpoint, horror entered existence with the story of Cain and Abel. Two brothers. No inherent conflict hinted at until—both made offerings to God. Abel’s was accepted and found good, Cain’s lacking. Why? Because Cain didn’t put his best effort into it. He held back. I imagine he did this with a lot of things in his life. Being secretive doesn’t just happen one day, it’s part of a person’s character. Can’t you just see Cain skulking around, upset that his parent’s paid more attention to his younger brother than him? Jealousy can run rampant and well, violence erupts. No one envisioned that one day Cain would slay his brother but the roots had to have been there since Day One of Abel’s birth. Perhaps Eve noticed this when the two siblings played some game, or Adam when he taught them each the job they would undertake (Abel—farming the land, Cain—taking care of the livestock).
You can be sure that tempting Eve in the garden with the fruit from The Tree of Life wasn’t the last time Lucifer entered the family’s lives. Can’t you just see him there, hiding, playing on Cain’s fears that Abel would take everything that he loved away? Pushing him, prodding him, planting the seed that would cause him to one day murder his brother? Evil lies in wait for good. It always has. That I think sums up why the genre is both appealing to its readers and repulsive to others. Those who are drawn to it want to confront this darkness in whatever form it comes in (clowns, terminators, corpses, etc.) and destroy it. We want to see The Mummy blown back into the tomb it came from, the silver bullet take down the fearsome werewolf, and the little girl freed from the devil’s possession. It’s a sense of closure for us, to know that the good guy/girl does win in the end which doesn’t always happen in real life.
Since the dawn of time, many people have sat around campfires telling stories. About ghosts. Monsters. Hitchhikers. We listen with bated breath because we’re all looking for a way to protect ourselves, to shine a light down into the pit to expose the evil that lies in wait. It’s about survival. Some of us are looking for a way to beat back the zombie apocalypse. Every country, every group of persons, every religion has its beliefs. To me, horror isn’t about fanning the flames and showcasing the grotesque. It’s about standing together when things go south, having a goal in common, and when everything’s said and done, killing the virus before it becomes airborne.