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Horror Movies
Undergraduate 1

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Film Preferences Following a Murder                                                  3
  • Murder: On May 26, 1968 a freshman at the University of Wisconsin was found stabbed in the middle of campus. The search for the murder weapon and suspect was "extensive and well publicized" (35) but neither were found. This resulted in a state of tension and fear.
  • ExperimentGirls in the same dormitory as the murder victim and girls from a different but similar dormitory were offered free tickets to a film of their choice (out of two choices): "In Cold Blood" which was about two psychopathic murders and "The Fox" which was about a lesbian relationship
  • Hypothesis: The amount of viewers for "In Cold Blood" would increase while viewers for "The Fox" would slightly increase or decrease.
  • Results: While their hypothesis was correct, there was no preference in viewership right after the murder. Preference towards a movie showed up a week later The parallels in the movie and in real life didn't appeal to viewers. Viewers didn't feel the need to watch the movie as a coping mechanism nor did they feel the need to avoid the movie.

Aesthetic Emotions (420)                                                                               4

  • Tamborini references McCauley as he discusses the potential differences between emtios experienced while watching movies and emotions experiences in every day life.
  • While watching a film viewers are percieving events as if they are real events happening in a fantasy world, "unless film cues force the viewer[s] to think about its fictional nature" (421). 
  • "Pleasure experienced from viewing horrifying images comes only when the violence is framed as fiction" (421). During movies viewers are the third party. This means viewers are free to identify with characters as much or as little as they want. People can foreshadow the characters' fates and judge them. However viewers can relax because there are no consequences from judging. They are not performing any actions.

Humanity/ Outsider Effect                                                                       4 

McCauley asserts movies must maintain an emotional distance by providing cues that reassure the viewers that the movie is fictional.

  • Cues provide a "protective frame" around the viewers. Frame smust allow the viewers to experience te fake, dramatic emtions rather than every day emotions that come from violent stimuli. ( ex. The difference between seeing someone being killed in a movie and someone being killed in front of you)
  • Fictional tragedy triggers grief that goes "beyond the viewers' individual problems, making [them] seem less significant".
  • Horror films can be experienced in an enjoyable way because it is all fiction, taking people away from their problems. There are no consequences and it makes people feel graateful for their humanity. 
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