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Why Do We Like Watching Scary Films?

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 fear of death, etc. 
  • Unrealism -The fictional nature of horror films affords viewers a sense of control by placing psychological distance between them and the violent acts they have witnessed.

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Why Do We Like Watching Scary Films?

Why Do We Like Watching Scary Films?

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-excess/201510/why-do-we-watching-scary-films

psychologytoday.com

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Key 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 fear of death, etc. 
  • Unrealism -The fictional nature of horror films affords viewers a sense of control by placing psychological distance between them and the violent acts they have witnessed.

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.

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Reasons we like watching horror films

  • Horror films entertain us. They act as a means to fend off boredom.
  • The horror film is a way of unravelling evil. Ideas and myths like Frankenstein provide us w...

Why we feel intimidated with abnormal things

1. Thoughts like "what if there actually are ghosts" create excitement.  Seeking this kind of experiences may be a kind of logical reality-check.

2. Such experiences may evoke different types of repressed complexes or ideas that we may wish to process.

3. Freud claims that most people are never completely freed from the fear of darkness, loneliness and silence. 

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 ...

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...

The pleasure paradox

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.

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 likely to take extra candies. In adults, costumed Halloween celebrators tend to have higher blood alcohol readings than people in plain clothes.