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Science And Nature

Nightmare Fuel review: The psychology that underpins horror films

Scary movies really get under the skin we have, but how come this the case and just how do film-makers know very well what will scare us? A fresh book has some interesting answers

Humans 3 August 2022

By Elle Hunt

Woman hiding behind sofa against white wall.

Tuan Tran/getty images

Nightmare Fuel

Nina Nesseth

Tor Nightfire

I’VE friends that are so afraid of sharks they wont swim in the ocean regardless of how enclosed the harbour, or full the beach. When I went cage diving with great whites this past year, these were appalled. Yet simultaneously, I noticed, they couldnt wait to start to see the footage.

This illustrates the idiosyncratic and inexplicable nature of fear. While our desires have a tendency to run along consistent lines love, happiness, health insurance and wealth what frightens us is frequently intensely personal and also perverse.

Just how do film-makers petrify their audiences? And

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