October 17, 2019

Expert: Halloween films can be horrifying long after final credits roll

Glenn Sparks Glenn Sparks
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WHAT: Films about a disenfranchised villain, a crazed clown and a sequel to the classic horror movie, “The Shining,” are rounding out Hollywood’s lineup of scary movies leading up to Halloween. Viewers of these films, particularly 6- to 10-year-olds, could experience fright long after the final credits – a phenomenon known by communication scholars as “lingering fears.”

EXPERT: Glenn Sparks, a professor in the Brian Lamb School of Communication in the College Liberal Arts at Purdue University, is an expert and author on media effects research. Sparks specializes in studying the effects of frightening and violent media, like horror movies and video games.

QUOTE: “With Hollywood releasing films like ‘Joker,’ ‘IT Chapter Two,’ and the upcoming ‘Doctor Sleep,’ viewers may want to count the potential costs of exposure — costs that the film industry does not go out of the way to warn us about. But the research is clear: Many viewers will experience regret after watching these movies because of the lingering fears that they are capable of inducing.”

MORE INFORMATION: Sparks also researches paranormal depictions in media. He is author of “Media Effects Research: A Basic Overview” and co-author of “A First Look at Communication Theory” and “Refrigerator Rights: Our Crucial Need for Close Connection.” More information about Sparks’ research on lingering fears can be found here.

Writer: Joseph Paul, 765-494-9541, paul102@purdue.edu

Source: Glenn Sparks, 765-494-0419, gsparks@purdue.edu

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