Horror movies are one of the most popular genres in the world. These films use different techniques to scare audiences. Some of these methods include shock, startle, and emotional arousal. These techniques are effective in creating a fearful experience. Horror movies can also be useful in educating people about various psychological disorders.
Impact Of Emotional Arousal
The psychological arousal is one factor that determines whether people prefer to watch horror movies or not. Although the literature on this topic is limited, the need for affect theory holds that people are motivated to avoid unpleasant or negative experiences. A study of moviegoers found that they experienced higher levels of physiological arousal while watching scary films than when watching happy films.
When people see scary movies, their physical arousal remains even after they leave the cinema. As a result, they experience more positive emotions, enhancing their memories of the movie. This arousal effect is not a universal phenomenon, though it may exist in some people. Emotional arousal is also related to the way people feel about horror films. One way to measure this is through skin conductance. Studies have shown that people who experience fear react more visibly than empathic people. In the case of horror films, this effect is powerful.
Influence Of Startle Response
The startle response is a common element and shows the best of horror films. This response is triggered by unexpected events, such as sudden changes in light or sound. However, it is not solely triggered by these changes. Emotional or cognitive states also influence the startle response. Although sensation-seeking strongly predicts horror enjoyment, it is not the most important factor. In Tamborini and Stiff’s study of 155 adults in a US midwestern city, men were likelier to enjoy frightening films than women. However, they found that men did not always attend horror films due to their high levels of startle-seeking, as women did.
Influence Of Empathetic Concern
A recent study examined the role of empathetic concern in the popularity of horror films and how it affects people’s experiences with them. The researchers found that those with high levels of empathetic concern enjoyed horror films less than those with low levels of empathy. They also found that people with higher levels of empathy had lower enjoyment of suffering and danger but higher enjoyment of happy endings.
The researchers studied horror movie fans and found that horror fans were less empathetic than drama and comedy movie fans. The results indicated that the latter had greater empathy and a more sympathetic outlook toward other genres. This suggests that empathetic concern for horror movies may be a biological response that helps people understand and empathize with others.
Effect Of Retribution
Horror movies are often based on urban legends or folklore, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. One example of an urban legend is the Hook-handed Killer, based on a real story. Tony Todd, an African-American man who was killed by a white gang, later fathered a child with a white woman. Hook-handed Killer’s writer/director Bernard Rose draws on this story for the film’s theme of revenge. The movie is set when white society has been slaughtering African-Americans for years.