by Terry Gerych:

Horror movies build suspense. The classic case is where a victim fails to flee, even though there’s obvious danger, or if he or she does flee, he or she clumsily trips and falls, stumbles, or crawls such that he or she is easily caught by a murderous assailant. The viewer is annoyed by the stupid or clumsy response, but mesmerized, and the filmmaker often milks the suspense for all it’s worth, dragging out scene after scene for several minutes, giving the viewer plenty of time to experience a suspense buildup and climax.

Reality provides a similar setting, except the murderous monster is replaced by a much slower acting and impersonal danger brought on by environmental degradation, resource depletion, and destruction of biodiversity. Instead of building up over a matter of minutes, the suspense brought about by our environmental transgressions plays out over generations, so that we don’t get to see the end result of our failure to respond appropriately to danger. We have become just like actors in a bad horror movie, either too stupid to sense apparent danger, or too mesmerized by horror or flustered by circumstances to flee effectively. As the ominous background music builds to a crescendo, we passively do nothing or only make clumsy ineffective attempts to escape.

Of course, there are differences between horror movies and real life. For example, in a horror movie it often seems that the victim could easily escape if only he or she would act swiftly and decisively. However, such a response would not serve the filmmaker’s purpose of creating tension, so the victim must remain rooted in danger. In real life, the danger we face is apparent to only a small minority, and the effectiveness of our response is dependent upon our ability to convince the vast majority that deadly danger is imminent and requires an immediate response. Our failure to do so may not be our fault. The biggest factor of the horror show we’re living in is the apparent fact that the vast majority of our species appears to be terminally delusional, unable or unwilling to perceive the danger we see. So we are just like the actors in horror films who annoy us so with their futile and inappropriate responses to danger, until it’s too late, and they are vanquished.