Why do some people love horror films?

The thrill of a Hollywood jump-scare could serve as a practice run for the real thing.

Asked by: William Bennett, Peterborough


Evolutionary psychologists say that horror films tap into our primal fears, such as fear of contamination and fear of being eaten, which explains the popularity of zombie movies and films featuring oversized carnivores. Horror films essentially provide a safe way for us to rehearse mentally how we would cope with age-old dangers. Curiously, the more negative emotions a person says they experience during a horror flick, the more likely they are to say they enjoy the genre. One theory is that this is because some people, especially sensation-seekers, find pleasure in the feelings of relief that follow after intense fear.


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