Mathias ClasenSep 20, 2021
A Very Nervous Person's Guide to Horror Movies
Oxford University Press 2021
Horror fans are attracted to movies designed to scare us, but others shudder already at the thought of the sweat-drenched nightmares that terrifying movies often trigger. The fear of sleepless nights and the widespread beliefs that horror movies can have negative psychological effects and display immorality make some of us very, very nervous about them. In A Very Nervous Person's Guide To Horror Movies (Oxford University Press, 2021) horror expert Mathias Clasen examines the psychological science of horror to address myths and correct misunderstandings surrounding the genre. Clasen addresses questions such as What are the effects of horror films on our mental and physical health? Why do they often cause nightmares? Aren't horror movies immoral and a bad influence on children and adolescents? Shouldn't we be concerned about what the current popularity of horror movies says about society and its values? While media psychologists have demonstrated that horror films indeed have the potential to harm us, Clasen reveals that the scientific evidence also contains a second story that is often overlooked: horror movies can also help us confront and manage fear and often foster prosocial values.
Rebekah Buchanan is an Associate Professor of English and Director of English Education at Western Illinois University. Her research focuses on feminism, activism, and literacy practices in youth culture, specifically through zines and music.