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Disaster Films In his poem Fire and Ice Robert Frost addresses the preoccupation humanity has with its own demise Some say the world will end in fire Some say in ice From what Ive tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire But if it had to perish twice I think I know enough of hate To say that for destruction ice Is also great And would suffice It is this fascination that is the subject of this paper specifically the allure of disaster films What draws people to see disaster films From seeing just one preview anyone can tell what the movie is about and what the outcome will be The climax is never in doubt Besides that why would anyone want to see a movie about ordinary people in somewhat realistic settings getting killed What then is the fascination that draws thousands to the screen to witness cosmic disasters and humanitys own self-designed catastrophes Morbid curiosity explains this phenomenon It is this curiosity about morbid events a phrase that Jack B Haskins of the University of Tennessee prefers to morbid curiosity due to the negative connotations of the latter that impels people to see disaster films 1 Gary Webb a disaster researcher from the University of Delaware calls this curiosity the Popular Culture of Disasters 1 Morbid curiosity can be manifested as three separate but related human experiences the thrill of vicarious risk-taking or the need of relief from boredom our search for solidarity and the mysterious impact of the evolutionary collective unconscious on our survival instincts On her web page Tenebrous Kate describes the first facet of morbid curiosity the thrill of vicariously participating in a cataclysmic event Its the icy tingle crawling over the skin as one reads an article detailing the actions of the Spanish Inquisition Perhaps its the wide-eyed stare of the viewer of a particularly bloodcurdling horror film
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