In modern circumstances, horror can be downright enjoyable | Science News

ADVERTISEMENT

MISSION CRITICAL

Support credible science journalism.

Subscribe to Science News today.


Culture Beaker

In modern circumstances, horror can be downright enjoyable

By
10:48am, October 24, 2011

Most horror movie fans recall unforgettable scenes of spine-chilling thrill with glee. Whether it’s the creepy twins beckoning Danny in The Shining or the dark shadow approaching the shower curtain in Psycho, everyone has a favorite, most terrifying cinematic moment. Which if you think about it, is kind of odd. Favorite and terrifying should not go together. Yet from children possessed by the devil to deranged writers to chainsaw-wielding killers, our appetite for horror seems endless. Clearly, many people love being scared.

Scientists have spent a lot of time figuring  out why. Some propose that horror films allow enjoyment of the illicit and taboo, dark feelings that society shuns. Researchers who focus on the body’s circuitry submit that it’s the thrill of a visceral rush. Now experiments from various fields offer a more complete picture of why some delight in being scared silly. 

Our brains actually have to decide

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content