Horror Film Research

Topics: Horror film, Film, Qualitative research Pages: 26 (7352 words) Published: December 11, 2012


This chapter embodies the introduction of the case study of Blooming of Horror Films in Malaysia: Effects towards Students of Faculty of Communication and Media Studies (FCMS). The researchers aimed to analyse the ability of horror films in affecting the audiences’ mind set, how it affected their lives and behaviours, aside of studying the appeals of horror genre itself. The research was conducted in Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Shah Alam, while the respondents were among FCMS students of Journalism, Advertising, Broadcasting, Public Relations, Publishing, Communication Management and Policy, Interpersonal Communication, and Instructional and Training.


Cambridge Dictionaries Online defines horror as an extremely strong feeling of fear and shock, or the frightening and shocking character of something. In spite of that, the dictionary also defined the term as things that are very shocking or frightening. Horror is then, to sum up, relevant to frightening matters (Cambridge Dictionaries Online, 2011).

Whereas according to Dictionary.com, horror is an overwhelming and painful feeling caused by something frightfully shocking, terrifying, or revolting; a shuddering fear. The term is defined as a strong feeling caused by something frightful or dreadful, where it is also connected to repugnance, terror, and disgusting (Dictionary.com, 2011).

If we accept this definition, then horror can deal with the mundane or the supernatural, with the fantastic or the normal. It doesn't have to be full of ghosts, ghouls, and things to go bump in the night. Its only true requirement is that it elicits an emotional reaction that includes some aspect of fear or dread (Horror Writer Association, 2009).

Through the definition, the researchers came out with an idea where horror is a distress, disgusting, terror or horrible feeling caused by the reflex of shocking or terrifying moments faced by the public. It is also defined as a matter that frightened people’s lives. Horror itself serves lots of other meanings, depending on the way it is used. Nevertheless, the core idea of horror is attached to the feeling of repugnance.

In addition, horror genre or film is defined as unsettling film designed to frighten and panic, that caused dread and alarm, and to invoke our hidden worst fears, often in a terrifying, shocking finale, while captivating and entertaining us at the same time in a cathartic experience. Horror films effectively centres on the dark side of life, the forbidden, and strange and alarming events. They deal with our most primal nature and its fears: our nightmares, our vulnerability, our alienation, our revulsions, our terror of the unknown, our fear of death and dismemberment, or loss of identity (Filmsite.org, 2011).

Whatever dark, primitive, and revolting traits that simultaneously attract and repel us are featured in the horror genre. Horror films are often combined with science fiction when the menace or monster is related to a corruption of technology, or when Earth is threatened by aliens. The fantasy and supernatural film genres are not synonymous with the horror genre, although thriller films may have some relation when they focus on the revolting and horrible acts of the killer. Horror films are also known as chillers, scary movies, and the macabre (Filmsite.org, 2011).

Malaysians film industry is also experiencing gradual growth nowadays. There is no exception for the growth of horror films making, where among the earliest horror films made includes Mistik, Fantasi, Di Ambang Misteri, and the well known Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam sequels. Upon the production of Shuhaimi Baba’s Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam, other producers and film makers raced on making same genre movies. This might occur resulting from the supports shown by the audiences, towards present horror films. Among the newest horror movies are Hantu Bonceng,...
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