Trick or treat: The psychology of Halloween and horror movies
Some derive enjoyment from negative emotional states, as when enjoying a "good cry", for instance.
A study found that people who liked sad films enjoyed a scene relative to how much sadness it elicited. The stronger the sadness, the higher the enjoyment.
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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. Their personalities lean towards risk-taking, antagonism, imagination, and tough-mindedness.
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 likely to take extra candies. In adults, costumed Halloween celebrators tend to have higher blood alcohol readings than people in plain clothes.
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Horror is a genre that has a reputation of being a low, somewhat trashy, titillating genre that appeals to our basest instincts.
"Its also a wonderful, popular art form through which...
... it has to have a monster, which has to be threatening in some way. The monster is often otherworldly or violates the laws of nature, as in Alien or Jaws—but some argue that a human character can be a monster, as in Psycho, Silence of the Lambs, and Halloween.
The monster generally is otherworldly or violates the laws of nature and is designed to elicit disgust as an emotion.
This is the most popular theory explaining the genre’s popularity and it argues that an unconscious, repressed part of every human is actually savage; that the veneer of civility is very thin, and beneath that is essentially a monster.
Although we consciously disapprove of what the monster is doing, deep down part of us enjoys seeing the murder and mayhem the monster unleashes—because if we could, we would do that.
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