The best horror isn’t low-brow schlock; the most effective horror plays on the subconscious anxieties of its audience. Most people need some degree of delusion to get to sleep at night; denial of death, denial of change, the affirmation of safety, the affirmation of identity. Without willful ignorance a person would be overwhelmed by life.
Horror pierces that nerve within the controlled environment of fiction; where the stakes are imaginary but the emotional ride can feel real.
If a child’s greatest fear is parential adbandomnent, and a woman’s greatest fear is sexual violation by an undesirable, a man’s greatest fear is his disposability; a man is only worth as much as the value he is able to contribute- if this value dissipates, the man is rendered worthless.
The unconfident beta-male lives in a constant state of fear that he will be rendered worthless to his woman; apt for disposal and replacement. The beta-male fears the confident, experienced Alpha male. He fears a future where the attractive Alpha may take fleeting interest in his woman, and he fears a past where his woman has experienced what it’s like to be with a real man– she knows the difference and secretly snickers at the beta-male’s pathetic little cock.