This is a thought that first came to me years ago while I watched the O.J. Simpson “low speed chase” on TV.
I was at my cousin’s wedding. We all sat and watched the “chase” for hours that evening while we waited at the hotel for the wedding the next day. Other people have told me similar experiences of that event. As I watched, I thought that nobody would go to a movie and watch someone drive down the road for hours on end. Yet many people did exactly that.
I thought about this question again when I saw part of the movie Human Trafficking http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0461872/ . This was a fictional movie, but, as I watched, I was more frightened by it than any horror film I had ever seen. The movie is about criminals who transport women around the world for prostitution and the police who chase them.
I think the reason I was so frightened was, that, while the depiction was fictional, I knew that it showed what millions of real people experienced in their lives. I don’t think there are any real people who have been chased around by a mummy or bug-eyed monster.
I am not sure I have a real answer to my question. Reality will always be of more immediate interest to people than any entertainment can be. The question then is, what do people want from works of fiction? It must be something that they can’t get from reality.