Beginning about age 6, I watched whatever they watched: Walking Tall, The Towering Inferno, etc. Two films were particularly memorable: Deliverance and Race with the Devil. This early exposure fueled a quick and unpredictable trigger for irrational fear, and a life-long love for horror fiction beginning with Stephen King. Just a kid, I read The Shining and Carrie before the film-versions were released. He helped make me a reader, igniting my imagination and making me a curious observer of human motive; even then I noticed that heroes and villains were defined depending on the circumstances. Some of those reading and viewing experiences are frozen in time. I can still inhabit the memory of the original Halloween film when Michael Myers drives the stolen station wagon around town, seeking victims. At one point, a character yells at the car and Michael slams on the brakes. That scene still evokes a simultaneous desire to freeze and run.
I think good horror fiction inspires empathy and it awakens our senses to social ills. Isn't Carrie essentially a story about bullying? Think Rosemary's Baby, or The Babadook, or Get Out. These films encourage us to examine what has power over us, and how/why we use power. Think real-life horror: Trump, for example, whose story trapped us all in runaway train case-study on democracy's fragility. Yikes.
Thanks for the shudders, Mom & Dad. Now back to more movies.