Scary motion pictures actually get below our pores and skin, however why is that this the case and the way do film-makers know what is going to scare us? A brand new guide has some fascinating solutions


three August 2022

Woman hiding behind sofa against white wall.

Tuan Tran/getty pictures

Nightmare Gas

Nina Nesseth

Tor Nightfire

I HAVE associates who’re so afraid of sharks that they gained’t swim within the sea – regardless of how enclosed the harbour, or full the seashore. After I went cage diving with nice whites final 12 months, they had been appalled. But on the similar time, I observed, they couldn’t wait to see the footage.

This illustrates the idiosyncratic and inexplicable nature of concern. Whereas our needs are likely to run alongside constant strains – love, happiness, well being and wealth – what frightens us is commonly intensely private and even perverse.

So how do film-makers petrify their audiences? And …

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