Monday, 11 November 2013

The psychology of horror movies.

Recently I've been watching a lot of horror films since Halloween, and it's come to my attention that I've not always been so fond of them as I am now. Only a couple of years I did my best to avoid any horror movie that came across my way and I'm puzzled how I changed my opinion of them so swiftly.

But I've realized that the reason I'm so into horrors is not because of the thrills and drama of it all. It is a mechanism for getting over my childhood fears and these films comment largely on the state of the humanity of today and the past. I've been able to overcome my fear of clowns and dolls through films like Child's Play (1988), It (1990) and Dead Silence (2007). 

Horror films are not only a comment on the dark side of human psychology but a representation of the horrors we face in real life whether it may be war, poverty or crime. Though most can't relate to the violence and sadism of a horror movie villain we can relate that each of us has a dark side to us, what Carl Jung termed as the shadow self. This refers to "an unconscious aspect of the personality which the conscious ego does not identify in itself. Because one tends to reject or remain ignorant of the least desirable aspects of one's personality, the shadow is largely negative."  (wiki). Horrors engage us with the shadow self therefore it is a theory that the aspects in a horror movie represents our shadow in a more extreme way.

The 3 main proven theories relating to why we watch horror films as listed here, are tension - based on suspense and shock frequently used in these type of films. Another as I previously mentioned is relevance, which takes form in universal fears and current world events that we see in the daily news. Lastly is the factor of unrealism, we watch these films in the comfort of our homes knowing that they are not real, everything you see in the movies is done with special fx, makeup and camera angles and we all know it is extremely unlikely we could find ourselves up against a Freddy Krueger like character that murders his victims in their dreams.

No comments:

Post a Comment