Samples Movies Evolution Of Movies

Evolution Of Movies

1014 words 4 page(s)

The evolution and survival of man has been accomplished through a variety of factors especially engagement in varied occupations devoted to the continuous exploitation of resources and development of utility for man’s betterment. However, with time and in between work, man has also recognized the need for relaxation especially through varied forms of entertainment, from active forms like wrestling or jogging to passive ones like meditation and watching movies. Many genres of films are watched today ranging from westerns to science fiction movies, but the attraction to, and effects of horror films on, some people, considering their ability to stimulate strong negative emotions like fear, has been quite controversial. Some people are of the opinion that there are innate factors influencing people to watch horror films while others show that these films affect others negatively, such as having nightmares. This essay discusses what causes many people to get attracted to watching horror movies, despite the depiction of gruesome scenes that are fearful, as well as the potential effects that these films have on people who watch them.

Horror Movies
Generally, horror films belong to a film genre that feature scenes meant to arouse strong negative emotions in the audience, whose basest instincts and fears are targeted, through horrific scenes of gore, blood and supernatural creatures especially monsters. Plots, elements and themes of these films include genres of fantasy, macabre and insanity flicks, thriller and the supernatural featuring demons, zombies, aliens, serial killers, vampires, cannibals and vicious animals that invoke terror, nightmares and the fear of the unknown. Such films include The Exorcist, The Fourth Kind, Final Destination, Wrong Turn, Paranormal Activity, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Children of the Corn and The Return of the Living Dead, among many others. With the genre of horror movies providing a very different form of entertainment, one of the causes that drive some people to like these films is the need for variety where the genre provides an escape to other recreational forms. As such, they provide a highly charged, emotional and thrilling experience tied to fictional danger without the real danger, and hence may provide an escape from other apathy-oriented emotions. Relatedly, Amadeo, dela Cruz and Guadiz (238) aver that the shockful, terrific and captivating entertainment provided by horror films can be watched by an audience due to the film’s cathartic experience, which may provide an emotional release for some socially-unacceptable emotions.

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Walters provides a list of explanatory theories on the causes influencing individuals in watching horror films including “psychodynamic, curiosity/fascination, excitation transfer, dispositional alignment, sensation seeking, societal concerns including gender role socialization” (par.1). Considering that entertainment is engaged in voluntarily most of the times due to its allure, which holds the audience’s interest and attention, people watching horror films are said to be influenced by a sense of fascination and curiosity while others seek heightened sensations. The nature over nurture hypothesis advanced by Walter’s (par.11) as dispositional alignment theory for why people watch horror movies, indicate the primacy of inborn characteristics such as one’s personality, as the reason why some people watch terror-filled horror movies. Gender role socialization and other sociological-oriented theories also provide good explanations of why people watch horror films with the argument that they are a reflection of varied societal concerns. On a positive note, Walters (par.28) asserts that watching horror films enables individuals to deal with fear especially in relation to death, evil and danger, where the film’s cinematic content desensitizes individuals in face of fearful things and situations. Relatedly, this also coincides with people’s need to stay in control of their lives where horror films provide a sense of courage and control that reduces fear through knowledge and perceived predictability of fearful things, which may explain why many rebellious teens like horror films.

However, the graphic depictions of horror films have, for a long time, raised concerns of negative effects on children as well as for adults considering that horror films depict a high degree of violence. Even though children are exposed to horror films involuntarily, studies cited by Amadeo, dela Cruz and Guadiz (238) indicate the negative effects of horror films on children leading to relatively negative behavioral disturbances like insomnia and nightmares with effects lasting for weeks and even months. With effects such as “anxiety, sleeplessness and fear” being more prominent as effects of watching horror movies in relation to children, the authors affirm that the worst effect is that they may acquire a phobia (239). Caution is advocated with regards to children’s watching of horror films as it is believed that it can interfere with their psychological development especially when they resort to varied coping mechanisms that may complicate or destroy their lives. For people who have had traumatic experiences, watching horror movies may trigger excessive fear or terror, leading to anxiety and even panic attacks which may irreversibly affect those individuals. Worse still, is that watching these movies may change what Walters (par.31-3) calls one’s “self- view, world- view, past- view, present- view and even future-view”, that may invoke one’s fears in everything they do and hence disrupting their lives.

Summarily, horror movies, as a form of entertainment, are depicted as invoking strong emotional sensations, not necessarily negative considering that they leave one in a heightened state of arousal and excitation, even though the cinematic depictions affect children negatively. Positively, the films are credited with ability to provide cathartic experiences, reclamation of perceived control over oneself and even the ability to deal with fearful things, among other factors. The negative effects experienced however, include sleeplessness especially due to nightmares, being easily startled, fear, phobia and even traumas, which explains why personally, I do not like horror movies and I would recommend that children be shielded against these films.

  • Amadeo, Jocelyn S., Dela Cruz, Roman J.M. and Guadiz, Mia Angeli R. “Psychological
    Conditions of Children Highly Exposed to Horror Films.” SLU Research Journal 40.2 (2009): 237-248. Print.
  • Walters, Glenn D. “Understanding the Popular Appeal of Horror Cinema: An Integrated-
    Interactive Model.” Journal of Media Psychology 9.2 (2004). Web. 9 July 2013.