Students discuss the psychological impact of horror movies


Max Bickley – General Assignment Reporter

Fright and horror can have many different meanings for many different people. One person may be scared by a simple jumps care in a movie, while many people might be more scared by a monster of the presence of the supernatural.

After the credits end, people also react differently and may feel the psychological ramifications of the “horror” and scares they witnessed. Similar to how a child bitten by a dog may have a fear of them in the remainder of their upbringing, horror movies can sometimes affect our own psyche.

However, this is a contested idea on whether or not the movie can actually cause an impact outside of temporary shock and fear. Freshman Tristan DesRosiers believes that there is no correlation between how someone acts and things, and the scary movie they catch on late night T.V.

“I don’t think there is any relation at all,” DesRosiers said. “I mean, I’ve never heard of anyone becoming extremely paranoid and shutting themselves away because they are afraid of killer clowns coming after them.”

According to DesRosiers, there would be a lot more factors and incidents if there really was such a connection between psychological impacts of horror movies.

“I mean look, ‘Courage the Cowardly Dog’ was an absolutely terrifying show, a majority of the shows we watched growing up had some pretty shocking and creepy stuff,” said DesRosiers. “I wouldn’t doubt that some people do have trauma linked to horror movies in certain situations, but as a general whole I don’t think there is much of a connection.”

There was a similar line of thought presented by another freshman, Alexander Govus, who was not so sure about his position.

“Horror movies as a general whole are, well, pretty scary and are supposed to leave you a bit scared afterwards,” said Govus. “But whether or not they affect your psyche? I feel like it could go either way.”

In elaboration, the differential between whether or not a horror movie takes that extra step into permanent scarring comes in the person watching it. How far one person takes their involvement and subjection to the “horror” of the film.

“What I think the thing is, is how far you let the movie take you,” said Govus. “If you just see the movie as a movie then I don’t think you will have any problems. But, if you take it as face value and real then maybe it might be a different story.”

In conjunction with this, there is also the aspect of the age of the viewer which might have an impact on how they react, according to Govus. There is a certain limit to how much someone can handle when they are younger as compared to older.

“If you are seven and watching a movie like ‘Hellraiser’ or ‘Paranormal Activity,’ there is probably going  to be some issues afterwards, and lots of nightmares,” said Govus. “But, given we are all well over 18 we have a bit tougher skin when it comes to those sorts of things.”

Whether or not there is any direct link between psychological damage and horror movies seems to be a debated topic, but one which seems to be in the background of students’ minds.

Photo Credit: Adam Polselli

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