I was thinking about the selective attention videos Jonni was showing me earlier and that lead me on to thinking about some videos I saw many years ago that made me jump.

Such videos to something along similar lines of this: they present to you two identical pictures and ask you to “spot the difference.” Of course there isn’t any and as time goes on your eyes move closer and a closer to the screen as your concentration increases to try and spot the differences you are told are there to be spotted.

Suddenly a ghostly image appears and a scream comes hurtling through your speakers and the majority of people will jump. There is a crude example of such a video here.

This got me thinking, it’s actually quite easy to scare someone. How many times have you walked up behind someone concentrating on a computer screen for them to suddenly realise you are there, jump and claim you “scared the life out of them.” Probably many times.

And yet, horror films continually fail to scare us on a regular basis. When was the last time you watched a horror film that was actually scary? I found Silent Hill had a good attempt but that was a few years ago now and most people found that rather tame. Of course it varies from person to person but most people I talk to, at least among my male friends, claim they haven’t seen a scary movie in a long time. Of course they could just be embarrassed to admit they were scared but for the moment lets take them at their word and assume all recent horror films haven’t scared them.

Surely we must be able to put some science behind this?

Take roller coasters for example. There is a lot of research and engineering that goes into making roller coasters and exhilarating experience. The problem is now that they simply can’t make them go any faster, drop any steeper or throw people around any more than they already do without injuring people.

So, as a friend was explaining to me, they’re now working on techniques to make people feel disoriented. The current avenue of research is to attempt to recreate the feeling we all had when we were children and went rolling down hills (I say children, I would imagine in Michelle’s case, it was last week as I presume it still works 😉 ) and that sensation of tumbling over and over. They can do this already but not without people throwing up everywhere, so the research continues.

I would have thought, in the same way, we could apply new techniques to horror movies rather than just adding even more blood, gore and guts to each film. Maybe they already are of course, but I think so far, the general consensus is that it isn’t working.



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This entry was posted on Sunday, July 18th, 2010 at 2:16 pm and is filed under Distractions, Thoughts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.