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Horror Films: Current Research on Audience Preferences and Reactions

By James B. Weaver III; Ron Tamborini | Go to book overview

audience involvement motives for film consumption in general. By identifying with film characters and their problems and using the reactions of other audience members to enhance their own enjoyment of films, horror film fans can easily gratify their needs to experience intense and strange feelings, avoid or alleviate boredom, and engage in uninhibited, socially stimulated behaviors.

That the measures of arousal needs, gratifications sought, and avoidance motives did not account for a greater amount of variance in the preference measure may be traced to the fact that their original referent was general movie consumption, not horror films per se. As hinted at by some studies, reviewed previously, motives for seeking and avoiding horror films could be expected to relate in a stronger fashion to measures of horror consumption.

One question remaining for future uses and gratifications investigations is how specific motives for seeking or avoiding horror films are related to the kinds of arousal needs that were explored here, and how such needs and motives jointly may help to explain horror film consumption. Other studies might probe the relationship between gratifications sought from horror films in general, gratifications obtained from specific horror films, and how the relationship between the two may help explain satisfaction with the horror film experience. Still others, which follow the expectancy-value approach to uses and gratifications ( Palmgreen & Rayburn, 1985), might explore how audience expectations of horror films change over time and influence horror audience members' motives and satisfaction levels. These kinds of investigations may help illuminate not only the horror film audience members' needs, motives, and expectations but also the industry's trend toward a continuing escalation in the graphic intensity of horror film content.


REFERENCES

Austin B. A. ( 1983). "Researching the film audience: Purposes, procedures, and problems". Journal of the University Film and Video Association 35( 3), 34-43.

Austin B. ( 1986). "Motivations for movie attendance". Communication Quarterly, 34( 2), 115-126.

Austin B. ( 1989). Immediate seating: A look at movie audiences. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Blumler J., Gurevitch M., & Katz E. ( 1985). "Reaching out: A future for gratifications research". In K. E. Rosengren, L. A. Wenner, & P. Palmgreen (Eds.), Media gratifications research: Current perspectives (pp. 255-273). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.

Blumler J., & Katz E. ( 1974). The uses of mass communications: Current perspectives on gratifications research. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.

Donohew L. ( 1981). "Arousal and affoctive responses to writing styles". Journal of Applied Communication Research, 9( 2), 109-119.

Donohew L., Helm D., Lawrence P., & Schatzer M. ( 1990). "Sensation-seeking, marijuana use, and responses to prevention messages". In R. R. Watson (Ed.), Prevention and treatment of drug and alcohol abuse (pp. 73-93). Clifton, NJ: Humana Press.

Donohew L., Palmgreen P., & Duncan J. ( 1980). "An activation model of information exposure". Communication Monographs, 47,295-303.

Donohew L., Palmgreen P., & Rayburn J. ( 1987). Social and psychological origins of media use: A lifestyle analysis

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