She'll never forgive you...
It's a perfectly gloomy day in Athens. A perfectly English day and excellent conditions in which to cuddle up in front of a seriously scary movie. And I've done just that - more than once in the past week. After watching The Woman in Black in London I returned home to watch it again the next day in Athens with my mom and sis. I enjoyed it it so much I couldn't wait to have my socks knocked off a second time in the space of 48 hours.
Daniel Radcliffe in his first leading role after Harry Potter
I'm not sure 'enjoy' is the right word, but something about it made me go in for a second helping. Which got me thinking: why is it that so many of us willingly subject ourselves to horror films time and time again?
There's nothing I love more than a bit of research. After reading about the neurological perspective in which the argument is that fear and pleasure stimulate the same part of the brain, without knowing too much about either I am more inclined to go with the more psychological argument.
"Watching scary movies is a way of testing and overcoming our limitations, similar to bungee jumping and other extreme sports."
"Some studies suggest that the real draw to scary movies is the feeling of relief when they are over. Other research, especially a 2007 study conducted by Eduardo Andrade and Joel B. Cohen, argues that the reason people like watching scary movies is that they are a way to experience both positive and negative emotions simultaneously. At the same time negative and sometimes absolutely horrific images play across the screen, the person watching the film is also experiencing positive emotions. This dual emotional state may reinforce the need to continue to watch horror films since it is an instance where it is acceptable to feel in two contrary states. Such an explanation might also account for why some people may enjoy films that are very sad. You may enjoy such a film at the same time you’re crying your eyes out."
"For adults, morbid curiosity may be at play -- the same kind that causes us to stare at crashes on the highway, suggests Joanne Cantor, PhD, director of the Center for Communication Research at University of Wisconsin. Humans may have an innate need to stay aware of dangers in our environment, especially the kind that could do us bodily harm, she says."
Extra creepy alternative poster artwork
For me, the reason why horror is one of my favourite film genres is the gratification of real fear without the real danger. The feeling of being whisked out of my comfort zone and truly submerging myself in escapism. I agree, also, that there's the appeal of coming to terms with my own limitations. I find my jumping at loud noises utterly silly and I enjoy laughing at myself - not to mention at others!
The Woman in Black is a perfectly cliched Victorian gothic horror movie which is what makes it so enjoyable. You know exactly what you're getting and where it'll jump out at you from. It has to be said that most of it's scariness comes from talented sound engineers who know how to construct a good "jump". With a 12A certificate (probably an attempt to cash in on the young Daniel Radcliffe fanbase) surely it can't be THAT scary? Or can it....
In other news, stay tuned for a very exciting blog series starting this coming Wednesday featuring some of my favourite bloggers!