Do scary movies make people happy?


A natural part of human behavior is people's motivation to pursue pleasure and avoid pain. How can this be reconciled with the decision to engage in watching terrifying horror films? Personally, I dislike watching horror movies because I get sick over the blood and gore and I am often awake for days afterward. Because we like to avoid pain, it seems strange that so many people would voluntarily indulge in almost two hours of fear and terror.

the-woman-in-black.jpg to the article "Why do people love horror movies?," scientists generally use one of two theories to explain why people like horror movies. The first is that the person is not actually afraid, but excited by the movie. The second explanation is that they are willing to endure the terror in order to enjoy a euphoric sense of relief at the end. But, a new study by Eduardo Andrade (University of California, Berkeley) and Joel B. Cohen (University of Florida) appearing in the August issue of the Journal of Consumer Research argues that neither of these theories is correct. They argue that horror movie viewers are happy to be unhappy. This approach to emotion reveals that people experience both negative and positive emotions simultaneously. People may actually enjoy being scared, not just relief when the threat is removed.

In the article "Horror films are more graphic than ever. Why do we watch, and what do scary movies do to us?," Joanne Cantor, PhD, director of the Center for Communication Research at University of Wisconsin, Madison, explains why this phenomena of loving horror films is true.

"No doubt, there's something really powerful that brings people to watch these things, because it's not logical," Cantor said. "Most people like to experience pleasant emotions."

Cantor said the impact of these films on the brain could be as powerful as the attraction people have to them. These impacts are felt by adults as well as children, by the well-adjusted as well as the disturbed. They may linger sometimes for years and they may be anything but pleasurable. Why do you think people engage in scary movies?

Photo courtesy of:


I love watching horror movies! I actually like the feeling of being scared and I get disappointed if a movie doesn't scare me. Maybe I like it because it is not an every day feeling.It is something out of the norm and that is why it is so exciting.

Your blog is interesting.. Though,I seldom watch the horror movies.. It will carry a nightmare to me... And..I cannot feel happy if I watch this kind of movies.. After watching scary movies, I will keep thinking of the horrible plot in the movies and cannot forget will last for several weeks...But maybe watching such kind of movie can make me relax from the pressure.. However, some scientists said that "Horror Movies Make Us Appreciate Abstract Art"." A new study suggests that people find more enjoyment from abstract concepts after being frightened. Better yet, the study specifically indicates that watching scary movies before looking at abstract art will make us enjoy it more."
more info

I've always been up in the air about scary movies. It's definitely a genre that you have to be in the mood for. When I watch scary movies though, I love the feeling of suspense. It keeps you on your toes and gives you an adrenaline rush! This may seem out there, but I've heard that your body can become addicted to ephinephrine and adrenaline (both are chemicals your body produces when you're scared or excited by something). Perhaps this could be why people keep watching scary movies?

Leave a comment

Subscribe to receive notifications of follow up comments via email.
We are processing your request. If you don't see any confirmation within 30 seconds, please reload your page.

Search This Blog

Full Text  Tag

Recent Entries

Alcohol and Energy Drinks
We've all heard of Four Lokos (or "blackout in a can") and the drama surrounding them when they first came…
It isn't up to the Keratin
Many girls who have naturally curly, wavy, or frizzy hair have started looking into getting keratin treatments at their local…
It isn't up to the Keratin
Many girls who have naturally curly, wavy, or frizzy hair have started looking into getting keratin treatments at their local…

Old Contributions