Presentation Title

Virtual Reality and the Future of Horror

Faculty Mentor

Joan Wines

Start Date

23-11-2019 12:30 PM

End Date

23-11-2019 12:45 PM

Location

Markstein 107

Session

oral 3

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

creative_arts_design

Abstract

Differences in human psychology determine that some people are more likely than others to seek out stressful situations for the purpose of experiencing fear and its accompanying dose of adrenaline. Others choose to avoid such situations at all costs. Fear and adrenaline are natural to humanity and fundamental in individual development, and the Horror genre has developed subgenres that can accommodate a broad spectrum of tolerance. The intended intensity of content varies significantly. The metaphoric term fourth wall describes an audience’s realization that the elements in a story are not real. This mindset functions as a safety net that protects Horror audiences from “real” fear. The relative importance of the fourth wall depends on what kind of horror a given person wants to or is willing to tolerate. There are four main Horror subgenres: Comedic, Action, Romance, and Psychological. In Comedic Horror models, which only parody the horror genre itself, audiences are barely aware of the fourth wall, since they are protected from fear with laughter. Action Horror may elicit some audience trepidation but not as much as is typical of the Romance Subgenre, the conventions of which keep audiences intensely apprehensive. The Psychological Subgenre, the purest horror form, augments the fear factor by immersing its audiences in extremely stressful situations. Its goal is to cause as much fear as possible in the audience. Its fans are those who like the experience of an adrenaline rush produced by intense fear. The fourth wall is only as important in this subgenre as an audience member wills it to be. But that will is weakened, if not destroyed, when horror in any of its forms is experienced in virtual reality--where the audience becomes part of the story. My research explores the implications of this relatively new phenomenon for the future of Horror.

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Nov 23rd, 12:30 PM Nov 23rd, 12:45 PM

Virtual Reality and the Future of Horror

Markstein 107

Differences in human psychology determine that some people are more likely than others to seek out stressful situations for the purpose of experiencing fear and its accompanying dose of adrenaline. Others choose to avoid such situations at all costs. Fear and adrenaline are natural to humanity and fundamental in individual development, and the Horror genre has developed subgenres that can accommodate a broad spectrum of tolerance. The intended intensity of content varies significantly. The metaphoric term fourth wall describes an audience’s realization that the elements in a story are not real. This mindset functions as a safety net that protects Horror audiences from “real” fear. The relative importance of the fourth wall depends on what kind of horror a given person wants to or is willing to tolerate. There are four main Horror subgenres: Comedic, Action, Romance, and Psychological. In Comedic Horror models, which only parody the horror genre itself, audiences are barely aware of the fourth wall, since they are protected from fear with laughter. Action Horror may elicit some audience trepidation but not as much as is typical of the Romance Subgenre, the conventions of which keep audiences intensely apprehensive. The Psychological Subgenre, the purest horror form, augments the fear factor by immersing its audiences in extremely stressful situations. Its goal is to cause as much fear as possible in the audience. Its fans are those who like the experience of an adrenaline rush produced by intense fear. The fourth wall is only as important in this subgenre as an audience member wills it to be. But that will is weakened, if not destroyed, when horror in any of its forms is experienced in virtual reality--where the audience becomes part of the story. My research explores the implications of this relatively new phenomenon for the future of Horror.