Do we actually like being scared? Do we enjoy watching disgusting things? I believe the most natural answer would be a forthright “no, we don’t”, yet there seems to be cases when, confronted with a frightening vision or a revolting spectacle, we do not run away, but instead sit down and endure the show. One could almost say that we enjoy such an experience. But this looks like a contradiction, for we enjoy, and we do not enjoy, one and the same episode. This is what has been called The Paradox of Horror: how is it that we are attracted to something that we find repulsive and/or scary? The problem consists in explaining the reason why artistic representation of events and objects that we naturally deem to be aversive can capture our interest or even give us pleasure. It would be hard to deny that the horror genre—in all of its different media, from films to novels, from paintings to music even—has a consistent fanbase: people produce and consume such media, pay for it, wait for it anxiously, and sometimes even judge some of its best works as veritable masterpieces of art in general, regardless of
genre. I myself, an avid horror aficionado, cannot deny the fascination that the genre can exert on us: the passion, the thrill, the racing heartbeat, the sweaty hands, the dry mouth, the shiver down our spine that electrifies our whole body. Nonetheless, the mystery remains, for if I was to experience something like that in a real-life context, say, for example, finding a dreadful alien hiding in a cornfield or watching an innocent girl turn into a vicious wolf and devour her lover in front of me, I would be deeply horrified. And I would not dare to say I would find it enjoyable at all: I would be disturbed, petrified, shaken to the core. Certainly not something we would like to go through. Hence, the paradox.
In this brief paper I will tackle this problem once more. First, I present Noël Carroll’s insightful and thorough theory of horror elaborated in his book The Philosophy of Horror (1990). Next, I introduce a series of critiques to the theory given by Berys Gaut (1993), as well as the responses given to them by Carroll (1995). In the fourth section I present my critiques to both views and introduce my own theory of horror, the cheap thrill view, which takes from some important aspects of both aforementioned theories but offers a different, though certainly quite common-sensical, solution to the paradox. I argue that the problem is solved by accepting that we do enjoy the negative emotions we experience in relation to horror: we take a certain pleasure in the thrill of it all, and we do it because it comes for cheap; were we to experience the same thrill outside the realm of artistic depiction, the price for it would be too high to pay. Nevertheless, art gives us a safe environment where we can, quite literally, indulge in nightmares.
 In the case of cinema, for example, there is an undeniable prejudice against horror films, evidenced by how many examples of the genre have been recognized with a nomination for best picture by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; since 1973, when the magnificent The Exorcist became the first horror film to earn an Oscar nomination for best picture, only four more horror films have achieved the same honour: Jaws (1975), The Sixth Sense (1999), Black Swan (2010) and Get Out (2017).