The Horror! The Horror!

haunted house

The horror flick. Meant to terrify, torture, disgust, and delight. Love them or hate them they are difficult to escape this time of year. In the coming weekend there are at least four horror/thrill movies to be released including the latest in the Saw series (Saw VI, if you’re keeping track), Antichrist, The Stepfather, and The House of the Devil. While some people are always up for a good scare, others are adamant about avoiding anything even remotely gory. But why? Johnston (2006) has highlighted four possible motivations for viewing graphic horror (gore watching, thrill watching, independent watching, and problem watching). Her study found these distinct motivations to be associated with fearfulness, empathy, and sensation seeking as well as the viewer’s level of identification with the killers vs. the victims of the films.


Adolescents’ Motivations for Viewing Graphic Horror (Johnston, 2006)

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One response to “The Horror! The Horror!

  1. It is a little unfashionable to talk Freud in real-world Psychology these days, but I think there is some stock in his idea that witnessing the death of another is, on some level, pleasurable because we survive.

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