Who likes horror films

Why do we watch horror movies?

Status: 01/15/2021 11:32 a.m.

Horror films like "Es", "Saw" and Co. have a very special fascination and captivate many viewers in front of the screens. But why do we like to be scared so much?

Ominous music, the shadow of a knife is visible on the shower curtain, a screaming woman, then the blood splatters - so the famous shower scene from Alfred Hitchcock's classic "Psycho", which probably all horror film lovers have in mind.

"Scream", "Saw", "Hostel" or the horror clown from "Es": numerous horror films and their sequels attract millions of people to the cinemas - and in front of the television sets - every year. But what is the thrill? Why do many of us enjoy watching horror films so much?

Horror films put the bodies of many viewers in a state of arousal - researchers largely agree on this. The released messenger substance dopamine creates a state between fear and pleasure in the brain. Especially when the brain classifies what is shown as realistic, parts of the brain are activated that are actually connected to pain or flight reflexes, for example.

Horror movies in emoji code

If you like to be scared, this quiz is the right one: We have presented the story of well-known horror films in emojis. Can you decipher the classic films? Try it out! more

Training for the soul

When looking at it, certain questions are often the focus: How much horror can I take? What would I do if I were the protagonists? (No, we would NOT hide in the basement on the run from a killer!) The cultural scientist Dr. Mark Schmitt from the Technical University of Dortmund explains in an N-JOY interview:

Horror director Wes Craven has said that horror films are something of a boot camp for the soul. That means: You can emotionally train your soul for 90 minutes in a fictional setting for the horrors of this world. Dr. Mark Schmitt

Screen separates reality from bloody events

Resurrected dead, cursed houses or serial killers, who prefer to do their mischief in US suburbs and often target teenagers: We are emotionally close to the action without being at the mercy of the slaughter in reality - and train ourselves mentally, if so the real zombie apocalypse is breaking over us.

That could be one reason why horror film fans apparently get through the corona pandemic better mentally. A Danish-American study recently found that out. Accordingly, people who like to watch horror films should be less stressed by the corona crisis and deal more relaxed with the current situation. In the study, people who like apocalyptic or zombie films saw themselves best armed against the pandemic.

Horror film at its peak - and suddenly someone laughs

Psychological terror, bloodshed and supernatural forces of horror - we knowingly look at the misfortune that the group of young people gets into and then - at the worst - we suddenly laugh. Inappropriate?

Laughter is a defensive reaction against the terrible we are seeing. That's why you often hear so many people laughing at the most terrible scenes of violence in the cinema. This is a strategy to keep what is being shown at an emotional distance. Dr. Mark Schmitt

Coping strategy: Have a laugh!

So if you're sitting on the couch watching a horror movie and you've already checked out all the escape routes - just laugh. But then there is another danger lurking: to get terrifying glances from the sofa next to you.


This topic in the program:

N-JOY | N-JOY with Susan Hammann | 01/18/2021 | 09:50 am