People like to joke at best and deride at worst the habit horror movie characters have of taking a peek when they really ought not take a peek at all. It’s a trope that’s often used as proof, at least in my anecdotal experience, of how horror movies are lowbrow and dumb. The thing is, curiosity is a fundamental human quality, and horror movies being fundamentally human*, curiosity is the greatest sin of all, more so than premarital sex or drug use.
This is a subject that’s been on my mind for over a year. You will find the motivating clip from Hellraiser II in my “recently watched” list on YouTube any day of the week. It’s a good scene**. It’s also instructive in the function curiosity serves in horror.
You can read my essay on the matter over at Polygon.
*Yes! They are! There’s nothing more human than fear of mortality.
**If you like watching awful people meet awful ends.