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Psychological horror: Wikis


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Psychological horror is a subgenre of horror fiction that relies on character fears, guilt, beliefs, eerie sound effects, relevant music and emotional instability to build tension and further the plot.[1] Psychological horror is different from the type of horror found in "splatter films," which derive their effects from gore and violence, and from the sub-genre of horror-of-personality, in which the object of horror does not look like a monstrous other, but rather a normal human being, whose horrific identity is often not revealed until well into the work, or even at the very end.



Psychological horror tends to be subtle compared to traditional horror and typically contains less physical harm, as it works mainly on the factors of mentally affecting the audience rather than the display of graphic imagery seen in the slasher and splatter sub-genres. It typically plays on archetypal shadow characteristics embodied by the threat.[2] It creates discomfort in the viewer by exposing common or universal psychological vulnerabilities and fears, most notably the shadowy parts of ourselves in which most people repress or deny.

The menace in horror comes from within. It exposes the evil that hides behind normality, while splatter fiction focuses on bizarre, alien evil to which the average viewer cannot easily relate.[3] Carl Jung has argued that attraction to the uneasiness caused by the Other is an attempt to integrate the "otherness" of the shadow while others believe horror serves only to repress it. You could ultimately argue that Psychological Horror isn't in fact of the horror genre, with it having a greater resemblance to the thriller genre, but it does have references to horror, in which its sole purpose to do, is frighten the audience mentally where as this is not the case in thrillers. There is also a sub-genre known as the psychological thriller, which can be similar to this, but relies on leaving a different impact on the viewer than that of psychological horror. [3]

Notable examples

Well-known examples of psychological horror films include:

See also


  1. ^ Will You Step into My Parlor? A Guide for Horror Lovers
  2. ^ The Other in Fiction - Archetype Writing
  3. ^ a b Journal of Analytical Psychology, 48 (4), p. 407 September 2003 Psychoanalytic theory in times of terror


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