What Scares Us, and How Does this Manifest in Film? A Halloween Pretty Much Pop Culture Podcast (#66)

Why do peo­ple enjoy being scared by films? How does what counts as fright­en­ing in a film actu­al­ly con­nect with what scares us in real life, and how does this in turn relate to child­hood fears? What’s the deal with “hor­ror” movies that are good but not scary or that are ter­ri­ble yet still scary in some way? Your hosts Mark Lin­sen­may­er, Eri­ca Spyres, and Bri­an Hirt are joined by actor/special effects-guy Nathan Shel­ton (who runs the Fright­mare The­atre Pod­cast) for a Hal­loween con­ver­sa­tion where no one gets a rock.

We present our picks for what scared us as kids: Tril­o­gy of Ter­ror, Inva­sion of the Body Snatch­ers (1978), Dark Night of the Scare­crow, and Copy­cat, and go on about Arachno­pho­bia, The Blair Witch Project, Hal­loween, Fri­day the 13th, The Thing, and Night­mare on Elm Street. We also dis­cus­sion hor­ror aimed at women, body hor­ror, tropopho­bia, hor­ror movie music, and Stephen King. Final­ly, we con­sid­er the revival in art hor­ror by the likes of Mike Flana­gan (Dr. Sleep, Haunt­ing of Bly Manor), Ari Aster (Mid­som­mar, Hered­i­tary), and Robert Eggers (The Witch).

We drew on a break-down on the var­i­ous ele­ments that make up the hor­ror genre from Matt Glas­by, in an arti­cle called “The Scari­est Films Ever Made and How They Fright­en Us.”

For a lengthy aca­d­e­m­ic look at the top­ic, try “(Why) Do You Like Scary Movies? A Review of the Empir­i­cal Research on Psy­cho­log­i­cal Respons­es to Hor­ror Films” (2019) by G. Neil Mar­tin.

If you don’t mind a key scene from The Thing (1982) being spoiled, check out this land­mark grody spe­cial effect scene.

Learn more at prettymuchpop.com. This episode includes bonus dis­cus­sion that you can only hear by sup­port­ing the pod­cast at patreon.com/prettymuchpop. This pod­cast is part of the Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life pod­cast net­work.

Pret­ty Much Pop: A Cul­ture Pod­cast is the first pod­cast curat­ed by Open Cul­ture. Browse all Pret­ty Much Pop posts.

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