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Trick or treat: The psychology of Halloween and horror movies

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https://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-31/trick-or-treat-the-psychology-of-halloween-and-horror-movies/6901832

abc.net.au

Trick or treat: The psychology of Halloween and horror movies
Updated October 31, 2015 15:41:34 Halloween is upon us. The spirits of the departed return to haunt the living and demons roam the land. Predictably, scary movies flood television screens and packs of costumed, sugar-crazed children wander the streets. In many ways, trick or treating and watching horror movies can be puzzling activities.

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The 'dark factor'

A love of horror movies is associated with an underlying dimension of entertainment preferences, dubbed "the dark factor".

Those with dark tastes value intensity, edginess and rebellion. Thei...

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The pleasure paradox

Some derive enjoyment from negative emotional states, as when enjoying a "good cry", for instance.

A stu...

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Trick or treat

Halloween seems to bring out excesses in costumed children and adults.

Several studies revealed that costumed children who were anonymous — by wearing masks for instance — were more like...

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Primary factors that make horror films alluring

  • Tension - Generated by suspense, mystery, terror, shock and gore.
  • Relevance - The horror film may relate to personal relevance, cultural meaningfulness, the fea...

Viewing motivators for horror movies

  • Gore watchers typically have low empathy, high sensation seeking, and a strong identification with the killer.
  • Thrill watchers typically have both high empathy and sensation seeking;they identify themselves more with the victims and like the suspense of the film.
  • Independent watchers typically have a high empathy for the victim along with a high positive effect for overcoming fear.
  • Problem watchers typically have high empathy for the victim but are characterized by negative effect (particularly a sense of helplessness).

Theories on why we love to watch horror films

  • Dr. Carl Jung believed horror films “tapped into primordial archetypes buried deep in our collective subconscious – images like shadow and mother play important role in the horror genre”.
  • Horror films are watched as a way of purging negative emotions and/or as a way to relieve pent-up aggression.
  • Horror movies are enjoyed because the people on screen getting killed deserve it.
  • Cultural historian David Skal has argued that horror films simply reflect our societal fears.

Why some people savor scary movies, and others hate them

Why some people savor scary movies, and others hate them
  • The Excitation Transfer Process. How you feel AFTER the movie.  When watching frightening films, the heart rate, blood pressure and respiration increases. After the film, the ...

Reasons for enjoying or hating scary movies

  • Sensation seeking individuals may enjoy scary movies because it will elevate the heart rate and make the body feel as though it needs to expend energy.
  • Highly sensitive peopl...