The appeal of horror and suspense

Mary Beth Oliver, Meghan Sanders

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

27 Scopus citations


The idea that people would expose themselves to entertainment that is designed to evoke feelings of horror, dread, and often disgust is a seemingly puzzling phenomenon. After all, entertainment and entertaining diversions are presumably supposed to be enjoyable, uplifting, or pleasurable. Given the popularity of frightening films as a form of entertainment, however, the experience of cinematic horror obviously delights many moviegoers, with the variety of pleasures derived from viewing this type of entertainment generating considerable attention from media researchers, psychologists, and scholars in related disciplines. This chapter examines social and psychological approaches that have been employed to examine both viewers' enjoyment and fright responses to horror, including individual differences, social aspects of the horror film experience, and content-related characteristics of horror films.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Horror Film
PublisherRutgers University Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780813542577
ISBN (Print)0813533627, 9780813533629
StatePublished - 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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