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For example, just as Pascal Boyer (cited in Barrett, 2000) has argued that many religious entities thrive by being ‘minimally counter-intuitive’ – that is, they fulfil nearly all the criteria for a given category, but violate that category in one particularly memorable, attention-grabbing fashion (a random example would be Moses and the bush that’s in flames but doesn’t burn) – a similar account could explain the enduring appeal of horror monsters.
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There are other overlaps with religion based around the disgust-reaction and the far-reaching effects of our deep-seated fear of infection.
The term ‘psychological immune system’ is used to describe findings such as that people are more prone to racial prejudice when primed with reminders of infection.
They’re strong, they’re unstoppable and very, very hungry.
But digging deeper, these monsters may also endure culturally because they press the right cognitive buttons.
Modern-day hunter-gatherers, such as the Aché foragers in Paraguay, still suffer high mortality rates from snakes and feline attacks.