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A Very Nervous Person's Guide to Horror Movies

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Why your worst nightmares about watching horror movies are unfounded Films about chainsaw killers, demonic possession, and ghostly intruders make some of us scream with joy. But while horror fans are attracted to movies designed to scare us, others shudder already at the thought of the sweat-drenched nightmares that terrifying movies often trigger. The fear of sleepless nig Why your worst nightmares about watching horror movies are unfounded Films about chainsaw killers, demonic possession, and ghostly intruders make some of us scream with joy. But while horror fans are attracted to movies designed to scare us, 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. But should we be concerned? In this book, horror-expert Mathias Clasen delves into the psychological science of horror cinema to bust some of the worst myths and correct the biggest misunderstandings surrounding the genre. In short and highly readable chapters peppered with vivid anecdotes and examples, he addresses the nervous person's most pressing questions: 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.


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Why your worst nightmares about watching horror movies are unfounded Films about chainsaw killers, demonic possession, and ghostly intruders make some of us scream with joy. But while horror fans are attracted to movies designed to scare us, others shudder already at the thought of the sweat-drenched nightmares that terrifying movies often trigger. The fear of sleepless nig Why your worst nightmares about watching horror movies are unfounded Films about chainsaw killers, demonic possession, and ghostly intruders make some of us scream with joy. But while horror fans are attracted to movies designed to scare us, 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. But should we be concerned? In this book, horror-expert Mathias Clasen delves into the psychological science of horror cinema to bust some of the worst myths and correct the biggest misunderstandings surrounding the genre. In short and highly readable chapters peppered with vivid anecdotes and examples, he addresses the nervous person's most pressing questions: 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.

52 review for A Very Nervous Person's Guide to Horror Movies

  1. 4 out of 5

    Steve Wiggins

    Mathias Clasen has an enviable position where he gets to study horror movies and get paid for it. He’s written on horror films before, as I mention in my blog post on this book (Sects and Violence in the Ancient World) but this one is part of a series of “Very Nervous Person’s” guides. In keeping with the series remit, Clasen provides instructions and information on handling horror films for those who are nervous about doing so. In the process the book outlines current research about horror movie Mathias Clasen has an enviable position where he gets to study horror movies and get paid for it. He’s written on horror films before, as I mention in my blog post on this book (Sects and Violence in the Ancient World) but this one is part of a series of “Very Nervous Person’s” guides. In keeping with the series remit, Clasen provides instructions and information on handling horror films for those who are nervous about doing so. In the process the book outlines current research about horror movies—who watches them and why, asking whether they are bad for children or just plain immoral, and even addressing the question of whether they are good for you. There’s nothing really scary in this book, but it does have some good suggestions if that is the direction you’d like to go. The book is non-technical and reader-friendly. Even those of us who openly enjoy horror and really aren’t nervous about it, can enjoy reading it. It would be especially helpful if you have friends who want you to watch horror with them, but you have no coping techniques to do so. This book may help in that regard. Otherwise it is an insightful and fun read.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Chris Boutté

    The only thing that bothers me about this book is that it wasn’t released through a mainstream publisher. This book is absolutely amazing, and every horror fan or person (like me) who was/is afraid of horror movies will love this book. I’ve read a few books on the psychology of horror because I only recently got into horror movies in the last few years because of my girlfriend, and it’s just super interesting to me. Mathias Clasen has written one of the best books I’ve read on the topic and dive The only thing that bothers me about this book is that it wasn’t released through a mainstream publisher. This book is absolutely amazing, and every horror fan or person (like me) who was/is afraid of horror movies will love this book. I’ve read a few books on the psychology of horror because I only recently got into horror movies in the last few years because of my girlfriend, and it’s just super interesting to me. Mathias Clasen has written one of the best books I’ve read on the topic and dives into so much fascinating research about why we love or hate horror, what makes good horror, why horror movies don’t get enough respect, and even introducing kids to horror to increase their resilience. Top-to-bottom, this book is fantastic, and it should be on some big best seller lists because I know a ton of people would appreciate it in the horror communities.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jake Bos

    Mathias Clasen offers up a seriously non-serious psychosocial examination of the horror genre in his new book, A Very Nervous Person’s Guide to Horror Movies. Clasen - who is the Director of the Recreational Fear Lab at Aarhus University - is most effective when he keeps his analysis within the domain of experimental psychology. Once he ventures out into more speculative and philosophical territory, I found that his arguments were significantly weaker. This book will appeal to a broad range of r Mathias Clasen offers up a seriously non-serious psychosocial examination of the horror genre in his new book, A Very Nervous Person’s Guide to Horror Movies. Clasen - who is the Director of the Recreational Fear Lab at Aarhus University - is most effective when he keeps his analysis within the domain of experimental psychology. Once he ventures out into more speculative and philosophical territory, I found that his arguments were significantly weaker. This book will appeal to a broad range of readers with a general interest in the cross-cultural significance of horror films, as well as those who wish to sift through a little evidence-based research with everyday relevance. Sections discussing topics like “the uncanny valley phenomenon” were highly captivating.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Aries Polaris

    I only read the sections that interested me, so I'm leaving this unrated. However, I did enjoy a good chunk of this novel and can tell it was well researched and funny. It brought up many interesting points and gives me an interest in horror literature, since movies aren't my style. I only read the sections that interested me, so I'm leaving this unrated. However, I did enjoy a good chunk of this novel and can tell it was well researched and funny. It brought up many interesting points and gives me an interest in horror literature, since movies aren't my style.

  5. 5 out of 5

    J.J.

    Fun read. Horror fans will appreciate the many films discussed but as a nervous person, I learned a lot because I hadn't seem most of them. Maybe I'll get brave and try to enjoy a Stephen King film. Who knows?? Fun read. Horror fans will appreciate the many films discussed but as a nervous person, I learned a lot because I hadn't seem most of them. Maybe I'll get brave and try to enjoy a Stephen King film. Who knows??

  6. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    A little more academic than I was expecting, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Brian

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    Maggie Davis

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    Menni

  10. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Mckee

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    Argun Akcakanat

  12. 5 out of 5

    Anne

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    Nate

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    Doug

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    Rebekah

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    Rachael

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    Jamie

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    Thomas Terkildsen

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    Matt Lohr

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    Solarisa

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    Jancee Tabacnic

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    Shanon

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    Cosmic Butterfly

  51. 4 out of 5

    Brenda Maki

  52. 5 out of 5

    John

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