"The beast within"

"The beast within"

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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The Horror Movie

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 very complex ideas and creative techniques can manifest themselves—and if you can get past that very cliched view, you realize there’s an embarrassment of riches in the genre.” Malcolm Turney

For a work to be classified as horror...

... 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.

  • We consciously disapprove of what the monster is doing, but deep down part of us enjoys seeing the mayhem the monster unleashes.
  • We enjoy rooting for the protagonists as they battle the monster.
  • We might not endorse the monster’s actions, but we may find it captivating. 
  • Findind the nature of the monster - its powers, its weaknesses, where it came from  - is a process of discovery that we enjoy.
  • The thrill that fear offers, particularly for “sensation seekers" - especially in a context where there’s no real threat to us.
  • It contains symbolic representations of real fears. 

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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 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. 

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 people can be easily overstimulated by their environment and also tend to be more empathetic. This results in a more intense physiological reaction to violent or scary movies.
  • Childhood experiences affect how someone feels about being scared. People who had positive experiences when they were young already have an internal concept that frames certain scary activities in an exciting way.
  • Horror movies are enjoyable for some people when they’re shared with loved ones. It can create a social bonding experience.

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