Horror Flicks

The holidays are the time to get together with friends and family to celebrate old and new traditions. Most families have a ritual cookie bake or secret Santa or a favorite movie that brings everyone together. The past few holidays my cousins and I have developed quite the strange tradition. Rather than watch an uplifting holiday film or a family flick we all huddle in the basement and watch a horror movie. Yes, you heard me right a horror film. So what makes us on one of the best days of the year want to sit down for 2 hours and torture ourselves? Why does the idea of being scared and ready to jump at any moment sound appealing? Well I may have the answer.

Scary movies have been around since the beginning of time. Slasher films have been breaking boundaries and revolutionizing the movie world for years. However horror films do a little more than entertain you, they have the power to affect you psychologically. When watching a scary movie you know what you are getting yourself into, you want to be frightened. Your palms being to sweat, heart rate rises, blood pressure drops and muscles tense. Horror movies keep your attention and elicit various emotions. Psychology Today explains that we enjoy the tension horror movies bring such as suspense, terror, gore, sadness and shock. Like most movies we enjoy the unrealism and the ability to enter another world for the two hours of the film. There are four reasons for watching horror movies: gore watching, thrill watching, independent watching and problem watching according to Dr. Deirdre Johnston. The four viewing motivations are found to be related to viewers’ cognitive and affective responses to horror films, as well as viewers’ tendency to identify with the characters in the film. Lastly just the simple adrenaline rush. When we watch scary movies we are able to face our fears without doing it in reality.

Scary movies put us in a different world and make us feel a multitude of emotions. Whether it be with your cousins on a holiday or by yourself we all watch horror movies for different reasons.







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3 thoughts on “Horror Flicks

  1. Reetu Shah

    I thought your blog post had some interesting points. Since you did get information from 3 different articles, I would have loved to see you expand on this topic and really get into the concept. If that wasn’t the case, I would have liked to see a study or a study you thought of. Maybe it could be about the types of reasons why people watch horror movies and dive into that. Maybe a test on how scared people get while watching an exorcism movie for example. Just so you could relate it back to science in some way. I do like your topic though.
    I found an article from The Washington Post on the topic of why people get scared, by Rachel Feltman and Sarah Kaplan. I do find the concept of fear interesting. So Feltman and Kaplan explained how all of our bodies get a heightened response when something happens. They later explain how this had started way back with our ancestors. If they lacked this quick response, they probably would have died out due to a pack of animals attacking them or something. That is why we get such a sudden reaction when we hear a sound or see something unknown. This fear places us with hormones that cause us to be quick and strong. Due to adrenaline, our hearts speed up and our body gets tight. Feltman and Kaplan conclude by talking about how overall, people experience fear differently from person to person. Now some people like that type of feeling and some people don’t.

    Feltman, R, Kaplan, S. (2106) Dear Science: Why do people like scary movies and haunted houses? The Washington Post.

  2. Lucille Laubenstein

    This is an interesting topic because I am perplexed by this phenomenon. I could not begin to understand why people voluntarily put themselves through that king of psychological torture. This blog did a good job at explaining the psychology behind horror film audiences. After reading the bit of your blog, I looked for any studies which might have tested one of the specific physical reactions to watching scary movies. Specifically ones that measure people’s blood pressure during horror films, however I was unable to find such a study. Instead, I found many more physiological analysis of the type of person who watches scary movies. Like in your blog, scientists claim this is an effect of scary films, but where are the studies? Could this suffer the file drawer problem?

    However I would be careful when using phrases like “since the beginning of time”, obviously they have not literally been around that long. In my CAS class, we were told to avoid making such generalizations because it tarnishes the credibility of the piece.

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