Scary movies manipulate activity in the brain to boost excitement, according to a new study. Finnish scientists mapped neural activity in participants as they watched two horror films – Insidious and The Conjuring 2. Participants in the study, conducted at the Human Emotion Systems Laboratory in Turku, showed the brain continuously anticipates action in response to threats in two different ways. Regions of the brain that are involved in visual and auditory perception are triggered during sudden jumpy moments – enabling a rapid evolutionary response to mitigate danger. Certain regions were also found to be increasingly active during scenes of impending dread as anxiety slowly increased, providing the brain with'sustained alertness'. The largest fear response came from the unseen or implied, rather than what they actually saw on the screen.
The arrival of Alien Covenant in theaters today is the perfect time to celebrate the various forms of nightmarish gifts Ridley Scott's seminal horror franchise has bestowed upon us. SEE ALSO: Review: 'Prey' is a tough game that asks tough questions So join us on our express elevator to hell, for a list of the best Alien-inspired games of all time. Rankings, it should be noted, are based on a combination of the game's greatness and success in capturing the spirit of the franchise (an Alien vs. Greatness ranking, if you will). We'll start with the very best and work our way down. Some critics have gone as far as to call Alien: Isolation their favorite "Alien movie" after the original.
Anyone reading this newsletter is likely already well-informed of the allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault surrounding disgraced producer and former studio chief Harvey Weinstein. My colleagues Josh Rottenberg and Amy Kaufman wrote a stellar pair of articles this week about the scandal, which captured the dilemma for Hollywood of what to do next and how to move into a future where such people and actions no longer are accepted or enabled. When the world feels out of control, with one day of anxiety-inducing news after the next, it may seem like horror movies are the last thing one might need. In fact, as our Sunday Calendar package on the state of modern horror puts forward, anxious times call for anxious movies. Justin Chang takes a look at how the success of movies like "Get Out" and "It" signal how horror has been revitalized in the era of Donald Trump.
After hours of scrolling through endless TikToks of teens dancing, couples pranking each other, and dogs being cute -- something on your For You Page stops you dead in your tracks. Someone is walking around a dark, empty house, as text explains that their mom hasn't come home. As they take us through their neighborhood, they realize it's not just her -- everyone has vanished overnight. "Hey kinda serious here like my entire town is missing I'm not really sure what to do is this happening elsewhere?" the caption reads. Each video shows more of this empty world, where people have been replaced by shadowy ghost figures.
The most effective monsters of horror fiction mirror ancestral dangers to exploit evolved human fears. Some fears are universal, some are near-universal, and some are local. The local fears--the idiosyncratic phobias such as the phobia of moths, say--tend to be avoided by horror writers, directors, and programmers. Horror artists typically want to target the greatest possible audience and that means targeting the most common fears. As the writer Thomas F. Monteleone has observed, "a horror writer has to have an unconscious sense or knowledge of what's going to be a universal'trigger.'