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The reasons behind the popularity of horror movies

Sigrun Dancke Skaare Horror films teach us how to deal with our own anxiety, according to research.

  • Overall, the horror genre uses our historical heritage of fears and instincts to scare us which is why many people are fascinated by the genre;
  • However, in popular culture — and especially in the world of film — evil is presented as an independent phenomenon through the horror genre.

It acts as a means to fend off boredom. Thus, some people jump off mountains with parachutes, while others go to amusement parks to enjoy roller coaster rides. Horror film enthusiasts watch films.

  • My research suggests that horror works by exploiting an ancient set of biological defence mechanisms—an evolved fear system;
  • Even the majority of individuals who watched the tape in its entirety found the images disturbing.

Explaining evil Another reason we are drawn to the darkest of film darkness is that the horror film is a way of unravelling evil. One subjects the evil actions to scientific or psychotherapeutic explanatory models," says Birkvad. We are familiar with the diagnoses from, for example, forensic psychiatry where different psychoses or personality disorders are assessed from a psychological and social perspective. In society as a whole, little or no discussion revolves around evil anymore.

We simply do not believe in the demonic as a force in itself, perhaps with the exception of some extremely religious environments, Birkvad points out. However, in popular culture — and especially in the world of film — evil is presented as an independent phenomenon through the horror genre. Ideas and myths like Frankenstein provide us with, for example, an explanation for human technological arrogance, where the man-made monster turns on its own creator.

Why Is Horror So Popular?

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde shows us the human divide of good and bad, while more or less Freud-inspired films and TV series such as "Psycho" and "Twin Peaks" revolve around our notions of dangerous sexuality. This occurs partly through the familiar frameworks that are found in every proper genre film — including the horror film — and partly through the rituals we build around the viewing experience.

  1. Individual differences in sensitivity to disgust. We simply do not believe in the demonic as a force in itself, perhaps with the exception of some extremely religious environments, Birkvad points out.
  2. The German silent film "The Cabinet of Dr. In this perspective, the horror film becomes a way to test our personal and collective limits in a safe environment.
  3. All have an enduring common thread of horror and sexuality. This demonstrates that by reading a horror story or watching a horror movie we can satisfy our demands privately and without having to fear sanctions.
  4. These four reasons were also discussed in relation to various dispositional characteristics such as fearfulness, empathy, and sensation seeking. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51 3 , 586-594.
  5. Have you ever ridden a roller coaster to impress your friends?

In this perspective, the horror film becomes a way to test our personal and collective limits in a safe environment. If it gets too scary, you can just cover your ears, put your hands in front of your eyes, ease the tension with an amusing quip, or turn to your popcorn bowl for comfort.

Watching a scary film may possibly also function as a distraction from other feelings. We nowadays live in an enlightened time, but thoughts like "what if there actually are ghosts" create excitement.

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As such, seeking this kind of experiences may be a kind of logical reality-check. Such experiences may evoke different types of repressed complexes or ideas that we may wish to process. Freud claims that most people are never completely freed from "infantile anxiety," that is, fear of darkness, loneliness and silence. He provides no direct explanation as to why we would wish to seek out something that reminds us of such infantile anxiety, but it could be related to curiosity.

Roots in mythical narratives "The horror film is one of three basic genres in film. These consist of comedy, melodrama, and thriller — or horror film," says film scholar Birkvad. All of the above appeal to basic feelings in us like humour, empathy, discomfort or excitement. In addition, there are porn films, which aim to evoke sexual arousal.

The Rise in Popularity of Horror Films

The term refers to how everyday situations, or objects, suddenly seem to be ruled by unknown forces. Scary measures The horror film is one of the oldest film genres.

Why do we like watching horror films?

Dating back to the silent film period of the previous turn of the century, we have been dreadfully delighted with this particular type of film. The German silent film "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" from 1920, is considered a milestone in cinematic history. The film utilized previously unknown visual techniques where shadows were highlighted to create an uncertain and disoriented atmosphere.

  1. We feel revulsion at the sight or description of the rotting zombie, and terror at the depiction of a tentacled Lovecraftian monster.
  2. Mathias Clasen 2009 , a Danish author and editor, agrees with these observations.
  3. You may also experience nightmares and other behavioural disturbances but, well, everything comes at a price.

Many of the shadows in the film were painted directly on the set, which helped highlight the unnatural and creepy mood.

Other effects that were used to reinforce evil, were strong and grotesque makeup and crooked camera angles. Among these were people from the film branch.

Why horror is so popular

With this, the development of cinema received a further boost, not least of which the horror film in Hollywood. All have an enduring common thread of horror and sexuality.

  • Journal of Media Psychology, 9 2;
  • They are clearly in a state of high arousal;
  • Such experiences may evoke different types of repressed complexes or ideas that we may wish to process;
  • Therefore, the psychological aspects of the genre amplify its popularity as well.