By: Lindsey McCready, Johnny Ackley, and Sam Wendler

Welcome to our website on the history of fear and scare tactics in cinema! Our goal is to educate you in how the history of psychology can be seen within this topic.  We will look at the relationship between psychological principles and films, as well as to identify psychological information explicitly relayed in certain horror films. We will go through three main periods of horror cinema and look at how the psychological phenomena we observe in each period changes with the times. We will show you how the psychological content in horror film has evolved through history.

In the 1920’s – the 1960’s, we see a predominance of Freudian psychology in film, and from the 1970’s – the 1990’s we see a predominance of cognitive and forensic psychology latent in horror cinema. We will lay out the psychology developing in each of these respective time periods and demonstrate that the psychology seen in film has very much to do with the psychological theories of their respective times. In this way, by going through all pages of our site, you will see the evolution of psychological principles through the films that reflect these principles. Behold how psychology progresses from psychoanalysis to an eventual shift to cognitive and forensic psychology!

But wait…let’s not forget about FEARS! Fears are another important aspect of our site. We will touch on how fear works, and will ultimately show you the psychology behind fear, and how film-makers take psychological data and knowledge into account to produce fearful reactions in their audience.

  1. Early Horror (20’s)
  2. Hitchcock era of the 30s through the 60s
  3. The Psycho Killers of the 70s through the 90s.

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