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Title: The veneer of fear : understanding movie horror
Author: Hitchcock, Stuart John
ISNI:       0000 0004 5990 8814
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2016
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Over the past half century, theorists have grappled with the issue that spectators engage with, and are emotionally affected by, fiction. In particular, film fiction has aroused interest because of the strength of emotional response. Traditional thinking about film accepted that illusion was a component of a spectator’s experience of film. However, contemporary theory has veered significantly from this and assumed that the spectator is always aware of the fictional nature of the content. In this thesis I argue that certain horror movies do, in fact, lead to an experience that is best characterized and understood in terms of illusion. Analysing key theories that attempt to explain an audience’s emotional responses to fiction, I aim to demonstrate that popular non-illusionistic theories fail to acknowledge both sides of the filmatic relationship (the spectator and the film) and have mistakenly attempted to provide an explanation for all emotional responses across media. A more refined approach is needed, both to emotion and the medium through which it is evoked. Thus, I incorporate an empirical analytical method in my philosophical project, analysing a number of paradigm horror movies and drivers of film spectatorship, to demonstrate how conditions for illusion are present. I also place emphasis on the phenomenological account of the spectator. My thesis offers an account of a type of horror movie experience that considers both the causal and conceptual issues of emotionally responding to film fiction. This explanation also offers a solution to the paradox of fiction but one that is not required to accord with those that attempt to explain other emotions evoked by works of art.
Supervisor: Neill, Alexander Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available