Horror is probably the least understood genre. Common misconceptions include:
All this is really only part of the story. Horror also operates on a deeper level; it explores the taboos of culture and humanity's repressed desires, and it is these explorations that generate both thrills and dread.
Academic and horror author Michael Arnzen says, "...horror is more like a game of peek-a-boo than a gore film. Good dark fiction is a form of seduction--it plays with the desire to both see and not see--tapping into that curious desire we have, to peer between our fingers while covering our eyes. It plays off the ambivalent desire to simultaneously censor and bear witness."
In addition to this strange push-pull dichotomy, "When horror tales explore and speculate about the unknown, they often also teach us about what we do know, even if only to point out the limits of cultural knowledge." and "By staging failures of intellectual mastery, challenging norms, and transgressing social boundaries, horror has the potential to revise and the potency to reshape the way its readers think." according to Arnzen. Wow!
Horror stories have probably been around as long as humans have been. As Arnzen says, "Horror stories document and illuminate the human condition across history and culture as much as any work of fiction." I'm convinced! :)
Horror writers, check out the Horror Writers Association which exists to promote and protect the careers of professional horror writers and host seeking to enter their ranks, while at the same time using its best endeavors to raise the profile of the horror genre in the publishing industry and among readers in general.