Monday 24 October 2016

Enjoy a good scare? Blame evolution and a thirst for exhilaration

Jane O'Faherty

Published 31/10/2015 | 02:30

Darren Shan
Darren Shan
TCD lecturer Dr Bernice Murray, who specialises in horror

Evolution, adrenaline and an appetite for anxiety. They all go some way to explaining our fascination with being frightened.

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Dr Brendan Rooney of UCD School of Psychology says there are several reasons for the deep-rooted relish we have for being terrified.

"There is a claim or theory that there's an evolutionary advantage to experiencing fear," he said.

"What we have learned is that by experiencing things like fear, we are learning in a protected environment how to deal with real situations.

"Even though we never may have a zombie crashing through the house, we are learning what to do when we are met with fear," he explained.

Irish author Darren Shan has sold more than 20 million copies of his horror novels for young readers and says he always tries to "push the boundaries" .

"A really good horror scene can draw the reader in very quickly," he said. "Some people like bungee jumping or going skydiving.

"Horror is a really safe way of experiencing the same feeling."

A recent study showed that the 10 most profitable films released between 2010 and 2015 were horror films.

Kevin Coyne, Cinema Programmer at the Irish Film Institute (IFI), recently put on the yearly Horrorthon.

"It's one of the most popular events in our own annual calendar," he said.

Irish Independent

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