The Benefits of Being a Horror Movie Fan

Happy Spooky Season!

This time of year has us thinking about Halloween and horror films. Why DO we love horror films?

Where is the pleasure in frightening entertainment?

Horror experts like Mathias Clasen think that horror provides an imaginative context in which people can play with fear. He notes that it’s not that different from children finding great pleasure in chase play, which is basically a ritualized enactment of predator-prey interactions (Steen & Owens, 2001). 

Clasen and his colleagues identified three types of horror fans: adrenaline junkies, white knucklers, and dark copers. It’s a combination of an adrenaline rush and an opportunity to learn in a safe environment. According to behavioral scientist Coltan Scrivner, the knuckles and copers are able to challenge themselves to face their fears.

Recreational fear even provides an opportunity to hone fear-regulation strategies. Scrivner found that horror movie fans were more psychologically resilient during the Covid lockdowns!

Their research at haunted houses found there is a sweet spot though: too little fear and it’s boring; too much and it’s anxiety-inducing.

So find your sweet spot, and have fun 🙂