It seems that Larry Rickels was right: the explosion of horror films has something to do with preparing the audience for surviving future traumatic experiences.
How else should we understand the Saw VI blood drive video above?
It's really great to see this because I think it lends some authority to Rickels' Winnicottian reading of the slasher/horror genre. If I understood him correctly, Rickels sees the popularity of horror movies as a group therapeutic experience. This group therapeutic experience relies on the impinging onto the viewers' psyches traumatic experiences. The reason for its popularity, he seems to be saying, is that the cumulative effect of these traumatic experiences better prepare the viewer. This gets echoed in the formulae of the films in this genre: those who survive in these slasher films tend to be understood as those that are deserving of the future.
Not that we're saying that people should delight in the torture of others, nor that there is any virtue in putting society on alert at all times. Rickels' reading of this phenomenon is gripping for me though, as it helps me to think about an area that I generally tend to ignore.