As my own neurosis became more subdued I found myself unconsciously drawn to female characters who exhibited signs of behaviors I had recognized in myself: repression, delusion, jealousy, paranoia, hysteria. But these issues didn’t magically disappear; they just became buried beneath business and activity, and came back to sideswipe me at inopportune moments.
We have more patience, or perhaps more empathy, for fictional characters than we do their real-life counterparts. Faced with neurosis in film and literature, we want to investigate rather than avoid. If watching horror films is cathartic because it provides a temporary feeling of control over the one unknown factor that can’t be controlled (death), then wouldn’t it make sense that a crazy person would find relief in onscreen histrionics?
House of Psychotic Women: An Autobiographical Topography of Female Neurosis in Horror and Exploitation Films, Kier-La Janisse